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La Moderna, The Legend, Part 1

La Moderna, The Legend, Part 1

Many years ago, in the 1840’s, many small ships came to Aruba to dock and fix their sails or to do repairs on their hulls or masts. Some ships came carrying goods from India and England and other far of lands. On these ships would come the people that manufactured and sold their goods. Those were interesting times.

One such man was a young short Jewish man named Benjamin Pick who bought fine silk cloth from China and made the most beautiful silk Modern designed men’s neck- ties (Corbatas’ Estilo modern hecho de seda) . His market destinations were Venezuela and Colombia because he heard the gentlemen of these countries dressed in fine garments and boots from Spain and wore fine neck-ties as well as always having silken handkerchiefs. So it became the goal of Benjamin Pick to come to these far off lands and make a fortune selling men’s neck-ties.

Even though Benjamin came fine prepared for this voyage, the small vessel encountered bad weather and high seas. This caused delays and Benjamin found lodging in a small house along the seashore of Martinique. As nice as the island lady on Martinique was, the three month delay cost Benjamin Pick dearly in food supplies and an occasional bottle of wine for him to drink along with the land lady. Worse was that absolutely not one soul in Martinique wore neck-ties so he wasn’t able to make any money only spend it.

After several months, the ship set sail with destination. Aruba and then on to Venezuela and Colombia. When they arrived at the small docks of Aruba, the small ship had to be once again repaired and poor Benjamin had no choice but to take his cargo and see what he could sell on this small little island. And so, he sat on his box of ties on the docks and waited for someone to come to him to buy his ties. No one did.

For several days, there had been a rotund man named Conks that came to the docks to pick up cargo and he would always nod at Benjamin. Finally one day, Benjamin waved at Conks and the two shook hands and started to talk. Benjamin told him the story of his adventure on the high seas and the many delays. He explained that his money was almost finished and he needed to sell his modern silk neck-ties to get cash. Conks asked where his ties were and Benjamin told him they were in the wooden box he was sitting on.

The two men continued talking and Conks finally asked Benjamin to call him Conks. Benjamin said to call him Benchi. The two men shook hands and walked into town. They arrived at an old house in which lived a man named MIX. They asked him to please check in his trash to see if he had an old bicycle in his back yard. Mix left and came back a few minutes late carrying an old bicycle. Conks looked at the wreck and asked him to take off the two wheels and fix to tires.
A while later Mix returned and the three went back to the dock to look at the wooden box. Conks talked to Mix and after some fixing and hammering, the wooden crate full of modern silk ties was converted into a street vendor’s cart. The cart had a small roof to prevent the sun from damaging the silk-ties. Mix painted the cart white.

And so, Benjamin walked around yelling KASHARIM MODERNIDAE. In Hebrew this meant modern ties. Benjamin only sold a few ties and went to Conks with this problem. Conks smiled and told Benjamin the following:
I will ask Mix to paint two signs for your cart, and I suggest that you walk down main street and yell out the following: CORBATA MODERNA PRIJS TA CHEEP. Benjamin wrote this down and One side of the cart had a sign that was finished while the other was to complicated for Mix to write. Mix also took the liberty to translate MODERNIDAE to La Moderna.

And so Benjamin went out on the streets and started to bark out his product.
CORBATA MODERNA PRIJS TA CHEEP. This turned out to be too long and people laughed at him, so he changed it to:
MODERNA PRIJS TA CHEEP. His business started to pick up. Then came the next change.

MODERNA TA CHEEP. Sales were booming and Benjamin hardly had time to speak so he just said, CHEEP - CHEEP!!

Eventually, everyone came to know Pick, however they all called him Chipi-Chipi. A few years later, Benjamin opened a small store and then one slightly bigger. Finally, he had to name his store. It was easy. He called it La Moderna and sold neckties and clothes to everyone I town. Some years later, his son Benchi took over La Moderna and became a famous man.

NOTE: Conks always wore silk ties which he got at a Chipi-Chipi price.

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