Mr. and Mrs. Enrique de la Casa claimed to be Spanish personas non grata who had been exiled from Spain. Further, they claimed to be lesser Spanish nobility. Enrique who in his 70s was considerably older than his bride; herself no spring chicken. He was tall, thin, and gaunt with a fast receding hairline and thick wire-rim glasses. His English was very poor as were his teeth and he had a habit of shelling and eating heavily salted peanuts while talking. Thus, his most notable characteristic was spitting on his audience as he spoke and chewed his peanuts. He was a most obnoxious man. Didi’s brother, Clarence, who had both money and political connections, was able to help Enrique get a teaching position in the Spanish Department at the University of Utah.
Maria de la Casa, Enrique’s wife, was younger, perhaps in her mid 40s, and attractive in a European sort of way, but had zero personality and was one of the most aloof persons in the group, especially at social gatherings. She rarely had anything of consequence to say and certainly did not contribute to any intellectual conversations. But intellectual stimulation was not the purpose she served in the Green Acres menagerie. Maria was a constant companion to Didi, and served as her personal toady.
Col. Sweeney, considered nearly everybody a fool, with the possible exception of his benefactor, Didi. He had particular disdain for the de la Casas. He considered Enrique not only a fool but a buffoon without common graces. He considered Maria a whining dolt and little more than a handmaiden to her benefactor. The de la Casas, of course, considered the Colonel a freeloading arrogant pompous ass whom they despised and made no secret of their feelings toward him.
Other characters that drifted in and out of Didi’s life during our college years were Maria Noble and husband Blaine, a postman. Maria Noble, like Didi, was also an advocate of the humane society and Blaine was just happy to be in the glorious surroundings that were Green Acres.
Al Buranic was another occasional drop-in. Of his connection with Didi I am not certain, aside from the fact that his wife’s mission in life seemed to be to entertain Didi by taking her money in frequent card games. Didi’s two constants were smoking and playing cards. The latter provided income to anybody who she could convince to join her in a card game for money. I often wondered if Didi was that bad a card player, or was so starved for company and attention that she lost on purpose.
Didi’s cast of characters included the intellectuals from Spain, an artist from France, gypsies, tramps and thieves, but nearly all purported to be very upper class, you know. Her life seemed to be the exact setting for an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.