Monday, November 30, 2009

Hay un circulo alrededor de la luna



Estaba dormida y mi esposo susurrandome al oido me dice: "tienes que ver algo muy especial" y no se si todo el planeta puede ver lo mismo que yo, pero esta noche de luna llena hay un circulo perfecto alrededor de una luna maravillosa. Dicen que es un reflejo pero les invito a que averiguen al respecto.

Feliz con mis nietos






Sunday, November 29, 2009

Finalizando Noviembre


Es domingo, mi madre vino de visita a la mitad de la semana y tuve que dedicarme a cuidarla, cocinarle, atenderla. El dia de Thanksgiving (jueves pasado) empezamos visitando la casa de mi hijo menor en donde me senti en la gloria con mis dos nietos que eran todo alegria y energia, despues a las 5:30 PM partimos rumbo a casa del hijo menor de mi esposo que tiene la misma fecha de nacimiento que mi hijo (hay tantas casualidades en nuestras vidas) alli pasamos unas horas con la familia de Felix Mauricio que son de Colombia, el novio de la abuela de los nietos de mi marido (Patricia una linda mujer) de nombre Frank y americano-puerto ricense dijo unas palabras muy sentidas, empezo dando las gracias por los alimentos que teniamos en nuestra mesa, por las personas en nuestras vidas, por los soldados que no podian estar con sus familias en este dia pero que tan valientemente servian a este pais, despues mi esposo dio las gracias por todas las personas en nuestras vidas, por el techo, por nuestros trabajos, y tambien por todas las cosas malas que nos habian pasado en nuestras vidas y que nos hacian comprender y recapitar, todos tomados de la mano emanabamos una energia de luz y amor muy linda y todos teniamos lagrimas en los ojos. Despues comimos en abundancia porque todos habian traido una fuente con alimentos preparados con mucho amor. Musica, alboroto de los pequenos, la nieta de mi esposo, Emmily, que tiene casi seis meses y es una delicia de criatura, cachetitos rojos, ojitos verdes y era pura risas, la cara de felicidad del abuelo cargando a su ultima nieta (tiene cinco nietos y se le ve tan tierno cuando los tiene en sus brazos) y el comentario de mi madre diciendome "hacia tiempo que no veia a tu esposo tan feliz", y es que es tan bonito cuando uno se reune con los hijos, los nietos, la familia y los amigos.

Despues, cuando se hizo tarde, nos regresamos por la I75, porque aqui todos vivimos muy alejados y las distancias son largas... habia un trafico muy grande porque es el dia en que todos festejan y la mayor parte se movilizan en autos, ya se ven las casas iluminadas por las luces de las fiestas de Navidad, y yo que quiero encontrar las energias para adornar mi arbolito de Navidad. Y hoy domingo terminando de limpiar la casa, el patio, cortar la grama, y empezar a decorar el exterior de la casa. Y manana lunes empieza mi rutina laboral, que rapido se van los dias, y ya manana 30 de Noviembre finalizamos este onceavo mes... Parece mentira pero solo faltan 31 dias para que llegue el 2010.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Navidad y origines del Nacimiento y el Arbol de Navidad


















Nacimiento:

Origen

Se atribuye a San Francisco de Asís, quien, en 1223 en vísperas de la Navidad, montó en el bosque de Greccio, el primer nacimiento de que se tenga noticia, con hombres y animales vivos. Su deseo era celebrar una hermosa nochebuena de Navidad, para vivir el recuerdo del Niño Jesús que nació en Belén en un establo. Una vez montada la escena, reunidos los habitantes de la aldea, se celebró la Eucaristía con algunos cánticos de la Natividad del Señor. Los asistentes llevaban antorchas y velas a fin de "iluminar aquella noche que debería de alumbrar a los siglos como una estrella refulgente".

Al año siguiente repitió la representación con éxito y desde entonces la costumbre se extendió a todos los pueblos cercanos. Con el paso del tiempo la falta de espacio obligó a sustituir a las personas y animales por figuras de madera o de barro.

En México, los nacimientos hicieron su aparición en Acolman, en el siglo XVI, como producto de las representaciones que se hacían de la Navidad, hasta la fecha, en la mayoría de los hogares católicos mexicanos, hay un nacimiento durante el tiempo de Adviento y las fiestas de Navidad.

Significado

Colocar un nacimiento en la casa es para recordar el escenario en el que Dios se hizo hombre en Belén. En los hogares en donde se acostumbra poner adornos navideños, éste debe ser el más importante, el que está al centro de todo, pues lo que celebramos en Navidad es precisamente el Nacimiento de Jesús. Es una forma muy atractiva para hablar a los niños de la Historia de la Salvación. Es un medio didáctico visual que difícilmente pasará desapercibido. En la celebración familiar de la Nochebuena, la reunión es en torno al Nacimiento de Jesús y si éste puede ser representado de algún modo, la celebración será más emotiva, disponiendo a los asistentes a recibir en su interior a Jesús que nos trae la Salvación.

Árbol de Navidad:

Origen

La costumbre de adornar árboles o ramas en los últimos días de diciembre tuvo su origen en el norte de Europa, muchos siglos antes de Cristo. El follaje verde y las luces que los adornaban estaban asociados con el solsticio de invierno, cuando la naturaleza parece muerta. Se pedía entonces al dios-sol que volviera revistiendo de luz y color los campos. Los escandinavos consideraban al árbol como símbolo de duración y renovación de vida. Los Egipcios usaban hojas de palma con 12 brotes como expresión sagrada de la terminación del año y del triunfo sobre la muerte. Los romanos celebraban sus fiestas decorando las casas con follaje verde, signo de fertilidad. Los judíos celebraban en invierno la Fiesta de las Luces, encendiendo durante 8 días velas que ardían constantemente. El cristianismo conocía todas estas tradiciones, pues muchos cristianos eran paganos convertidos. Comprendieron que era imposible arrancar las tradiciones y prefirieron darles un sentido cristiano. Así el árbol y las luces se utilizaron para evocar a Jesús, Árbol de la Vida, Luz del Mundo. Se cree que las primeras veces que se utilizó el árbol adornado con luces para celebrar la Navidad fue al norte de Europa, quizá en Alemania. A cada elemento se le dio un significado cristiano que hasta la fecha conservamos.

Significado

El árbol con sus ramas verdes, simboliza la vida eterna que trajo Cristo al mundo, la perpetua primavera de esperanza. Las velas encendidas –ahora focos de colores- y los objetos brillantes colgados, simbolizan el advenimiento de la luz y la gloria de Dios que se refleja a todas partes. La estrella que se pone en la cúspide, es recuerdo de la Estrella de Belén que atrajo a los hombres desde lejos. Los regalos que se colocan debajo de él, simbolizan la cantidad de dones que Dios nos trae con su Encarnación y que hemos de compartir unos con otros.

Happy Thanksgiving



¿Por qué celebramos el día de acción de gracias?

Muchas personas piensan del día de acción de gracias como una maravillosa celebración, que les permite tener un largo fin de semana disfrutando de una suculenta cena con la familia. O tal vez, piensan que el día de acción de gracias es simplemente el principio de las celebraciones navideñas. ¿Cuál es el verdadero significado del día de acción de gracias? Catherine Millard escribe:

Podemos rastrear ésta histórica tradición cristiana de Los Estados Unidos, remontandonos al año 1623. En noviembre de 1623, después de recolectar la cosecha, el gobernador de la colonia de peregrinos "Plymonth Plantation" en Plymonth, Massachusetts, declaró:

"Todos ustedes, peregrinos, con sus esposas e hijos, congréguense en la casa comunal, en la colina... para escuchar al pastor, y dar gracias a Dios Todo Poderoso por todas sus bendiciones."

Este es pues el origen de nuestra celebración anual del día de acción de gracias. En los años siguientes, el congreso de los Estados Unidos proclamó en varias ocasiones el día de acción de gracias al Todo Poderoso. Finalmente, el 1° de noviembre de 1777 fue oficialmente declarado como día feriado:

"Para solemne acción de gracias y adoración que con un corazón y en unidad de voz, las buenas personas expresen sus sentimientos de agradecimiento, y se consagren al servicio del su divino benefactor,...y que sus humildes súplicas plazcan a Dios, por medio de los méritos de Jesucristo, quien es misericordioso para perdonar, borrando y olvidando sus pecados. Que plazca a Dios que las escuelas y seminarios de educación, tan necesarios para cultivar principios de verdadera libertad, virtud bajo su mano protectora, y prosperar la religión para la promoción y engrandecimiento de ese reino el cual consiste de paz, justicia y gozo en el Espíritu Santo..."

De nuevo, el 1º de enero de 1795, el primer presidente, George Washington, escribió su famosa proclamación de acción de gracias, en la cual él dice que es…
"Nuestro deber como personas con reverente devoción y agradecimiento, reconocer nuestras obligaciones al Dios todopoderoso, e implorarle que nos siga prosperando y confirmado las muchas bendiciones que de El experimentamos..."

El jueves, 19 de febrero de 1795, George Washington apartó así ése día como el día nacional de acción de gracias.

Muchos años después, el 3 de octubre de 1863, Abraham Lincoln, proclamó por carta del congreso, un día nacional de acción de gracias. “El último jueves de noviembre, como un día de acción de gracias y adoración a nuestro padre benefactor, quien mora en los cielos” en esta proclamación de acción de gracias, el 16º presidente dice que es…

“Anunciado en las Sagradas Escrituras y confirmado a través de la historia, que aquellas naciones que tiene al Señor como su Dios, son bendecidas. Pero nosotros nos hemos olvidado de Dios. Nos hemos olvidado de la mano que nos preserva en paz, nos multiplica, enriquece y fortalece. Vanamente nos hemos imaginado, por medio del engaño de nuestros corazones, que todas éstas bendiciones fueron producidas por alguna sabiduría superior y por nuestra virtuosidad. Me ha parecido, apropiado que Dios sea solemne, reverente y agradecidamente reconocido como en un corazón y una voz, por todos los americanos…”

Por eso es que cada año en el día de acción de gracias, los americanos dan acción de gracias a Dios todopoderoso por todas sus bendiciones y misericordias durante el año.

Compartiendo un poema de un amigo literario


Te has visto el rostro al espejo
cuando el corazón sacude tu pecho
tu mirada ilumina la estancia y
una sonrisa sin fin brota desde tus entrañas... Enamorada?

Lo recuerdas?
Quizás lo sientes ahora mismo vibrando en tu vida... Enamorada...

Ven, llenate de "Amòris" entre mis letras,
un poema en el que quizás te encuentres, algo más que dibujada,
en tu faceta más hermosa... Enamorada?

Uhm... -Suspiroooo-


CArlesGova

Conozca en persona a la autora en BORDERS





Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Los tacones altos


En un pueblito escondido del Sur, en un país imaginario, entre dormida y despierta, en una mañana fría, un par de tacones altos dieron comienzo a esta historia.

Por la ventana penetraba el frío alumbrado por el sol que no calentaba, esa fría y tormentosa mañana de invierno, bailaban los relámpagos con los truenos y fue cuando un rayo iluminoso cayó sobre un par de tacones altos viejos, solitarios y abandonados. Sin quemarlos, de repente ya sea por magia, fantasía o encantamiento los tacones cobraron vida...

Ellos no podían andar por si solos, y si querían andar por las calles del pueblito tendrían que ser calzados en un par de pies no muy grandes pero si jóvenes y sobre todo muy ágiles. De pronto ceso la lluvia por un momento...y se hizo un silencio largo.

Pasando por la calle iba solitaria una jovencita bella que la pobreza la había despojado de sus ropas y calzado, tenía hambre, tenia frío, tenia anhelos, tenia ganas de vivir. Vio los tacones altos, le parecieron hermosos, fabulosos, no tenían dueño, miro al Sur, miro al Norte, miro al Este, miro al Oeste, no vio a nadie, decidió probarse los tacones, se subió en ellos, se hizo alta, le quedaron un poco ajustados porque tenia los pies hinchados, pero se los pudo acomodar.

_ ¡Que suerte tengo de encontrarme estos tacones, me ajustan pero me sirven y se fue caminando erguida, espigada, alta como una cumbre, feliz, alegre porque se había encontrado un par de tacones altos y casi nuevos!

La jovencita empezó a caminar paso a paso para amoldarse a sus nuevos tacones y descubrió que eran muy confortables, de una tela suave, pero sobre todo que la hacían sentirse feliz. En minutos se acostumbra rápidamente a ellos y sigue caminando olvidándose del frío y del hambre que sentía.

Empieza a caminar cada vez más rápido y sin proponérselo, camina muchos kilómetros, con esos tacones altos con los que podía saltar, bailar, hasta correr. Llega a una casa que tenia una puerta abierta y se encuentra con una mesa llena de manjares y delicias, sopas calientes, guisos, y pan humeante recién salido del horno. La jovencita come hasta sentirse satisfecha y después cae rendida y se queda profundamente dormida.

Fue cuando se despierta y se da cuenta que se había quedado dormida con los tacones altos que le había regalado su abuelita.

La estrella de mi nieto


Noche de verano, calor.... Una abuela y su nieto de 6 años juegan fuera de la casa cazando estrellas fugaces.

El nieto adorado atrapa una y la lleva encendida en la palma de su mano, entra a la cocina y la deposita dentro de un pomo de vidrio invertido y se va a dormir para soñar con la última imagen de su farol encendido por una estrella.

Por la mañana al levantarse y al llegar a la mesa se escucha su grito con estupor, entonces dice entre lagrimas y decepcionado: ¡NO! Alguna mosca se comió mi estrella!!! Entonces lleno de esa furia infantil la aplastó contra la mesa con la palmita de su mano usando toda su fuerza. Del interior del insecto surgió un líquido viscoso fluorescente..

_ ¡Viste abuelita! exclamó el niño, se la comió y la tenía adentro...

_ Hijito de mi alma si era una luciérnaga..

_ ¡No abuelita, era mi estrella!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lunes con dolor y sin dormir


Hoy he despertado tempranísimo, he dormido entrecortado, me ha despertado el dolor que tengo en la cintura (ciatica) desde el miercoles pasado, estoy a punto de MOTRIN pero sigo con mucho malestar, ahora siento que el dolor ha subido de la cintura a mi hombro derecho, cada vez que despertaba volvia a soñar, que me quedaba dormida y llegaba tarde al aeropuerto, lo que me parecía incomprensible porque siempre llego una hora antes de que empiece mi jornada laboral. Estoy trabajando las revisiones de las traducciones a mi libro y se me complica mucho, imprimo varias páginas para decorarlas con la pluma roja, me preparo a tomar mi primer cafe con mucha azucar (muy mal de mi parte) y pienso en todo lo que la gente me reprocha, en lo que intuyo desconfianza, cierta envidia y mucha antipatía. Tengo mucha gente que me quiere pero muchos que no me pueden ver ni en pintura. Tengo ganas de leer una cantidad de libros que acaban de salir al mercado y no encuentro el momento, me quiero hacer la seria pero no puedo aunque muchas veces no me queda mas remedio, me gusta tanto ser alegre, que mi buen humor sea contagioso y que provoque las ganas de reír. Yo sé que yo río con mucha facilidad... La mayor parte del tiempo "mi gente" me encuentra muy graciosa y ocurrente. Son las 4 PM y la verdad me muero de sueño y estoy que casi no me puedo ni mover del dolor que tengo, parezco un robot gigantesco. Hoy es lunes y esta es una semana corta, el jueves y viernes es THANKSGIVING voy a tener unas horas "libres" para poder trabajar en "Light of Old Souls" y leer, leer y dormir, dormir.

New Moon (Luna Nueva)



Las filas en el Centro Comercial de Kendall para ver la pelicula NEW MOON llegaban hasta la otra esquina. Imposible ir al cine un domingo de fin de semana de nuevo estreno.

Cientos de adolescentes (todas ellas oscilando entre los 13 y los 18 años) exclaman "¡Ahhh!" cada vez que aparece el nombre de los protagonistas en los créditos del inicio del nuevo estreno (con el elenco de Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner), o levantando las manos y gritando a todo pulmón cuando aparezca el título de la segunda parte de la saga "Twilight: New Moon" (Chris Weitz, 2009).

Lo cierto es que la escritora americana, oriunda de Connecticut, de la misma edad que mi hijo mayor, apenas 35 años, y de nombre Stephenie Meyer, nunca pensó que sus novelas sobre vampiros adolescentes iban a tener tanto éxito, y menos que su obra iba a desbancar a J. K. Rowling como la escritora más exitosa de la actualidad. No hay duda que es la "audiencia" o los "fans" los que te coronan.

Sin embargo, es un hecho innegable que este chick flick literario con ingredientes de drama escolar y elementos sobrenaturales ha marcado a toda una generación de jóvenes a través del mundo, y ha conquistado asiduos lectores en jóvenes que jamás habían tomado un libro en sus manos. Y me pregunto si acaso hay que escribir sobre vampiros o brujos para convertirse en una escritora de fama mundial!!! para que los libros terminen en las pantallas grandes.

Esta saga de lobos y vampiros, cuyo fervor por su aparición en el cine provocó el atraso del estreno de la sexta cinta de la otra saga "Harry Potter", pudo, a pesar de presentar una adaptación insulsa y llena de efectos especiales de pobre calidad (para mi gusto), convencer y gustar a los fieles seguidores de los libros, los cuales provocaron con creces su regreso a la pantalla grande, con un nuevo capítulo que en papel ha roto todo tipo de récords: "New Moon". (Luna Nueva)

La historia tiene un inicio más que melodramático: Bella (Stewart) tiene una pesadilla: se ve a sí misma a años de distancia y con la piel arrugada por por el paso del tiempo, se ve viejita, a su lado está Edward, buenmozo, bello, guapo, joven, sexy, tierno, bueno, con su característica perfección y sus eternos 17 años, lo cual la asusta mucho. Cuando despierta se da cuenta de que es su cumpleaños, en donde se vuelve, en edad física, mayor que Edward. A pesar de que ella no desea celebrarlo, Edward y Alice logran convencerla de que vaya a casa de ellos a una pequeña celebración, en la cual accidentalmente se hace un corte en un dedo cuando abre un regalo. Su sangre descontrola a Jasper, quien intenta atacarla, siendo detenido por Edward quien, luego de pensarlo un poco, decide que Bella estaría mejor y más segura sin él, por lo que, para alejarla, le hace creer que ya no siente nada por ella.

Entonces... Bella cae en una terrible depresión. Pierde contacto con todo el mundo: amigos, profesores y su padre, aunque pronto aparece en escena Jacob Black, con el que comienza a experimentar un poco de consuelo. En medio de todo esto Bella se encuentra con Laurent, un vampiro que está de caza y que la hubiera hecho su víctima si no surgen lobos defensores que la salvan. Jacob la visita luego y le confiesa finalmente de que él es un licántropo, hecho que ella acepta y vuelven a ser amigos, incluso la presenta ante la manada, con la cual se lleva muy bien, aunque en el fondo nunca olvide a su amado Edward.

La historia, además de la hiper dramática y no bien justificada (hasta ridícula con un argumento tan pobre) separación de los enamorados Bella/Edward, incluye confusiones que agregan aún más el peligro para ambos, por ejemplo, que Edward crea que Bella ha muerto y por tal razón se dirija a Italia para que un clan enemigo de vampiros lo asesinen. (Romeo y Julieta, amores imposibles, es el mismo temita de siempre con distintos actores).

Oh y no faltan las villanas, el problema que representa la malvada Victoria quien, al perder a su amado, prometió no descansar hasta terminar con la vida de la joven protagonista y la de su novio, ya que éstos fueron los causantes de la muerte de su pareja.

Aunque a decir verdad, el dilema que se puede ser más atractivo o interesante, consiste en la amenaza que representa el clan de vampiros Vulturis, quienes, al darse cuenta de que Bella conoce el secreto de su identidad, le ofrece dos opciones a Edward: o transforma a su amada en vampiro o ellos terminarán con su vida.

Estos y muchos otros dramas juveniles satisfarán indudablemente el apetito de los jóvenes lectores de la saga, mientras que yo, por mi parte, me conformaré con tratar de comprender el por qué del fenómeno y quien sabe me anime a escribir sobre vampiros, lobos, Viagra, brujeria, sexo, fantasmas, o 99 formas de hacer feliz a tu pareja en la cama.

Si alguno de ustedes tiene una explicación que me convenza, escríbanme y cuéntenmela.

Seguimos...

Friday, November 20, 2009

La historia de mis primeros libros


BORDERS - Miami, 20 de Noviembre del 2009
Miami International Airport - Central Terminal - Miami, Florida
Presentación de “Luz de Almas Viejas” - Libros firmados por la autora de 12:00 a 2:00 P.M. -

Una linda muchachita que se llama Gabriella fue la primera en comprar el libro para su abuelita que se llama BLANCA y a quien le encanta leer. Eso fue a las 12:20 del mediodía, después pasaron muchísimas personas que me sonreían pero ninguna paraba a preguntar, pasajeros apurados, otros pasaban y se hacían los ciegos o simplemente no miraban. A nadie de mi oficina se le ocurrió ir con una cámara, pero como hoy mis Ángeles estaban trabajando over-time (tiempo doble) la misma Gabriella empezo a tomarme fotos y me ha dicho que después me las manda a mi email. Los minutos pasaban…. Yo sentadita, sonriente, tranquila, con una paz que me llegaba desde muy arriba. A mi lado estaban mi abuelita, mi mama Julia y mi tía Antonieta (desde arriba).

De repente un hombre que no hablaba castellano se acerco a preguntarme en Portañol (medio portugués y medio español) que de que se trataba mi libro porque la carátula lo había dejado fascinado, le explique que el libro era un homenaje a las mujeres de mis vidas, y todo lo que tu ya sabes… el pasajero de nombre Luis me pidió que le dedicara el libro a su prima de nombre MARIA SOLEDAD (si, fue la primera "casualidad o coincidencia" asi empezaron las coincidencias con los nombres) ese fue el segundo libro que se vendió, iba con destino final a Río de Janeiro, otras personas de distintas nacionalidades se interesaron pero no podían leerlo y van a esperar que el libro sea traducido a otros idiomas, dos mujeres Australianas me contaron sus experiencias angelicales y me prometieron comprar el libro cuando sea publicado en Ingles, un par de empleados (una mujer y un hombre) que trabajan para el Departamento de Aviación me reconocieron y sorprendidos de que yo fuera a autora del libro con mucho respeto me pidieron que les dedicara el libro a unas amigas, entonces el tercer libro fue dedicado a "CARIDAD", si, Caridad, nada menos y nada mas que el nombre de mi abuela en el libro, y el cuarto libro fue dedicado a "ROBERTO" quien es un lector de fin de semana en su tiempo libre y el segundo esposo de mi protagonista, ya para eso eran las 13:34 horas y solamente se habían vendido cuatro libros, me quedaban tan solo 27 minutos y en mi cabecita repetía que tenia que vender 7 (siete) libros antes de las 14 horas, (estaría firmando de 12 a 14horas nada mas porque tenia que regresar a trabajar, ustedes saben que ser escritora no es lo que me paga la comida ni el techo o el seguro medico) 2 PM que era cuando tenia que regresar a la oficina. Un par de lindas muchachas, y digo lindas porque eran de una belleza angelical me estaban observando desde hacia rato, entonces una de ellas (que resulto ser doctora en Guatemala) me pidió que le dedicara el libro a su hermana de nombre Ashley, después de dedicárselo conversamos un ratito y fue cuando intercambiamos tarjetas que repare que su nombre era (otra casualidad????) MARY ELIZABETH, no he conocido a nadie con ese nombre, ni ella tampoco, fue cuando nos dimos un abrazo muy emocionadas, me dijo que tenia muchas amistades en Guatemala y que estaba segura que mi libro iba a gustar mucho en el lugar en donde atiende a sus enfermos, mis angelitos de Guatemala se fueron y entonces a las 2:00 P.M. cuando estaba levantándome de mi asiento una mujer a la que encontré mucho parecido con mi amiga Sixtina me dijo que no sabia porque estaba en BORDERS pero que había sentido un impulso y una sensación especial y tomando un libro me pidió que se lo dedicara, nos tomo cinco segundos reconocernos, fue instantáneo, nos hicimos grandes amigas, se iba de viaje a Puerto Rico pero vivía en Miami y se llama Vimarie (Victoria Marie Ortiz) un ángel humano, linda mujer, con una dulzura y al mismo tiempo una elegancia y la gracia de mi abuela, su esposo no decía nada pero era todo sonrisas y se que serán desde hoy mis amigos, también intercambiamos tarjetas y quedamos en comunicarnos por Internet, en el instante que se fue llego apurada una Colombiana que venia en busca de una revista pero que cuando le pregunto a la cajera sobre el libro se intereso mucho pero para ella era muy importante que se lo dedicara a una de sus amigas que estaba muy malita con Cáncer y que sabia que Luz de Almas la podría ayudar, la amiga se llamaba "MARIA ANGELES", ya te imaginaras como me puse, parecía una hoja temblando, tuve que darme la media vuelta y esconderme detrás de unos libros porque la emoción que sentía era demasiado abrumadora y a donde se ha visto a una autora firmando libros en donde la tinta esta corrida por sus lagrimas. Me calme, fui al lado a Dunkin Donuts y pedí un chocolate caliente. Termine mi séptima dedicatoria del día. Suspire aliviada y me sentí inmensamente feliz y agradecida. Había vendido 7 libros en dos horas... Siete como siete son mis Arcángeles, siete que es el número de Dios. Siete los días de la semana, siete la suma o combinación de 16 que es la fecha de mi nacimiento.

Después se vendieron otros libros mas, solo que ya no estaba la autora firmándolos…


Ahora me dice la jefa que el martes 24 de Noviembre voy a volver a firmar mas libros… que esta vez van a mandar un flyer y van a avisar a mas personas que no saben que la escritora es la misma señora que trabaja en el Aeropuerto para la Concesionaria Westfield.

Hoy temprano me llamaron Marilyn de Vive21, Luis Cuadros escritor peruano muy amigo y muy querido, mi hermana Rose Marie amorosa como siempre, me llegaron varios mensajes lindos y alentadores de Fernando Lopez Peralta- Daniel Lara y por supuesto el tuyo mi queridísima Mozzy.

La muchacha Gabrielle me dijo que quería que su madre me conociera y que a mi lado sentía una energía maravillosa, el vendedor de BORDERS tenia el entusiasmo de tu hijita Mozzita y me hacia mucha propaganda, recibí muchos abrazos, cuando caminaba rumbo a mi oficina sentí que me elevaba, que no pesaba nada, me sentí ligera. Me volví a repetir lo que me repito todos los días: “’Poco a poco, paso a paso, día a día”…

Tengo que empezar a promover mas el libro, se que pronto podré reunir el dinero para traer los que se quedaron en Lima para poderlos distribuir en muchos locales mas. Que te puedo decir mi amiga del alma, nada mas que darte las gracias por tu apoyo, por tu fe en mí, por todo lo que haces todos los días, porque eres uno de mis Ángeles humanos, porque tu presencia en mi vida es tan importante para mí como el aire y como la sonrisa de mis nietos.

Hoy vuelvo a sentirme como me sentía en el mes de Enero. Anoche me llamo mi nieto – SI – mi nieto adorado, mi Darío a quien tanto tiempo no veo, me llamo para invitarme el día de Acción de Gracias, el próximo jueves 26 de Noviembre, que ganas de verlos, de abrazarlos, de perderme en la inocencia de esa corta infancia.

El próximo fin de semana largo de cuatro días, entonces podré terminar con las revisiones de la traducción y estaré lista para mandarte la traducción del libro, “Light of Old Souls”

Seguimos…

Hoy fue un día muy especial! Gracias por que se que todos ustedes estuvieron pensando y rezando por mi. Gracias a todos porque ustedes son “mi gente”


Mabi – Marisabel – Mariangeles – Mary Elizabeth


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Gloria Morales [mailto:mozzy_christina@yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, November 20, 2009 1:06 PM
To: Mary Fernandez; Marisabel
Subject: Feliz por tí y tus logros !


Querida Marisabel,

Demás está decirte que nos sentimos tremendamente orgullosos de tí y tu obra, esperamos desde el fondo de nuestros corazones que te vaya lindo y maravilloso, te lo mereces y aunque este día haya tardado un poquito hoy es una realidad, cómo me gustaría verte allí sentadita firmando tus libros y dedicándolos con esas palabras tan acertadas y pensadas para el que lo recibe, quisiera darte un abrazo muy fuerte y decirte que eres una persona muy especial, que eres una mujer emprendedora y fuerte, sí eres muy muy fuerte Marisabel, enfrentas la vida y sus problemas de una forma que ya muchos quisiéramos conocer, desde aquí te acompañamos con el corazón, el alma y el espíritu, qué orgullosa debe estar tu abuelita, es más sientela por que seguro ella está a tu lado susurrándote que te quiere, que te admira y que eres su orgullo, Felicitaciones mi extrañada Mabel, felicitaciones y para adelante, siempre mirando al frente !


Un abrazo muy fuerte para mi amiga la Escritora !


Mozzy

Nervios de primeriza


Estoy tan nerviosa que parezco novia en espera... hoy a las 12 del mediodia estare vendiendo mis primeros libros en BORDERS del aeropuerto, estoy vestida de morado porque mi aura es morada y porque es mi color favorito. Estoy feliz porque he visto que tengo un nuevo lector...
Despues regreso y les cuento como me fue...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

El retorno




Hace diez días que regrese de mi último viaje a Lima. Han quedado grabados en mi memoria mis largos paseos por el malecón de Miraflores en donde orgullosa miraba a mi hermano Michael llevando valientes pasajeros en su parapente. En esos días la isla San Lorenzo se veía cerca y mas nítida que nunca, era como si pudiera empezar a nadar y llegar con pocas brazadas, se veía cerca pero se que en realidad esta lejos en el Callao. Que lujo y que privilegio tener el enorme mar peruano tan cerca y de gratis. Estuve varias veces en San Bartolo en donde hay un club de ultraligeros que mi padre visita muy a menudo, visite a mi hermano a quien siempre he querido tanto como a mis hijos porque emocionalmente fue mi primer bebe y porque siempre he tenido una relación muy especial con el, como si fuéramos almas viejas, se me encogía el alma cada vez que tenia que despedirme y al menos me consolaba pensando que cuando camina por la playa goza de una vista preciosa y empecé a recordar los veranos de 1970 cuando adolescente veraneaba entre Santa Maria y San Bartolo en las playas del Sur de mi adorada Lima, por aquel entonces estaban de moda los carritos areneros que por poco le cobran la vida a mi padre.

Cuando regresaba de las visitas a mi hermano en la peligrosa carretera con una tristeza tan larga como la canción de Piero, despidiendo el atardecer pasando por Villa y por otras partes del Sur en donde se ve el otro lado de la moneda, la pobreza, el hambre, la miseria, pero así y todo Lima con todos sus defectos me sigue hechizando, es tan diferente el ritmo de los tambores, tan distinta a mi rutina diaria en Miami. Regreso de almorzar una ensalada de frutas y tuve que arreglarlas con azúcar porque aquí la fruta no sabe a nada. Me muero por comerme unos mangos, añoro un pedazo de papaya en las mañanas y que antojos los que siento por devorarme una chirimoya y los que me conocen saben bien que nadie disfruta la comida tanto como esta servidora. Alcachofas, alfajores de miel, camotillos, me comí unos chifles en Puro Perú que me supieron a gloria, unos ceviches del paraíso náutico, unos chicharrones de calamares fresquitos y crocantes… mejor me callo porque si sigo así voy a entrar en una depresión culinaria.

Ahora se porque me siento cara-caída, creo que hasta mis Ángeles tienen sus alitas gachas porque les encanta viajar conmigo a Lima. Hoy me digo y reafirmo que cada viaje a Lima me deja mas enamorada. Ciudad que me ha visto crecer, enamorarme, decepcionarme, reír, bailar, comer, madurar, llorar, envejecer, vivir, sobrevivir, irme para siempre retornar. Esta ultima visita a Lima fue muy especial, conocí a personas maravillosas, recibí abrazos, muchos abrazos que me elevaron muy alto.


Hay que ganas de comerme una empanada especial de carne en la San Antonio, atendida por mi mozo favorito que siempre me engríe y me hace sentir tan querida.

Se va terminando el año 2009, empecé a escribir en este BLOG un 31 de Diciembre del 2008 despidiéndolo. Tengo que preparar mi despedida al 2009, mi hoja de balances, ensanchando la visión del mundo, si hemos podido transformar algunas experiencias dolorosas en bienes espirituales... si hemos ganado en el plano íntimo, si hemos comprendido que poseer bienes materiales es simplemente una forma de subsistencia pero que no nos recupera de nada ni nos protege de nada, sobre todo de la miseria interior. A mi esposo no le gusta Diciembre, no quiere poner adornos de Navidad porque su hermana Marcia se murió en estas fechas, en cambio a mi Diciembre me atrae, me da calor, a pesar que fue en Diciembre cuando perdí a mi abuela, pero son mas fuertes los recuerdos felices que los días grises.


Cada día que paso me voy alejando del mundo material, ya no me interesan las mismas cosas que antes, no comparto los mismos valores, sueño con una sociedad distinta, una que tenga conciencia, que sepa rezar, que tenga verdaderos valores, que sueñe con poseer menos en el plano material, que ayude a los pobres, que de de comer al hambriento, y que conste que no soy una persona religiosa y que tampoco soy comunista, que no soy ni demócrata ni republicana, y que trato de oír y aprender sobre política pero todavía me siento incomoda ante este tipo de personas.

No se porque me siento con esa sensación de monólogo constante, no se quien me lee, me paso buscando comentarios, y gracias a Dios que de vez en cuando Fernando López Peralta me escribe alguno y el Gran Lobo Gris desde Europa y Gloria Angélica (Mozzy mi amiga adorada), no se quien me lee pero se que necesito llegar.

Puliendo y purificando


Puliendo y purificando la traducción

He vuelto a leer mi libro por segunda vez, he tenido que hacerlo, he vuelto a sonreír muchas veces y otras veces he terminado llorando a mares, y mientras hago las correcciones a la traducción al Ingles vuelvo a releer varias veces lo que escribí hace ya varios meses, tengo que parar y respirar profundamente porque mucho de lo que voy leyendo es muy intenso y me parece mentira que sea yo la autora, la escritora, y me voy preguntando si acaso he vivido todo lo que he escrito directa o indirectamente, si fueron otras almas viejas que visitaron los caminos de mi mente y revivieron todos esos recuerdos para reprenderme una vez mas por esta clara contradicción, escribo en primera y en segunda persona soy la autora y soy uno de mis personajes, la nieta, la madre, la hermana, la prima, sobre todo soy la abuela, me reprendo por esta visible contradicción: ¿no digo acaso todo el tiempo que una primera persona es ya una segunda o una tercera? Me parece que sucede todo el tiempo, la evocación, la imaginación, la creación, aunque uno lo desee, nunca es fiel a los hechos, no es posible porque somos humanos. Y mientras escribo en el presente mis personajes vienen borrosos de un pasado, y uno va acomodando los recuerdos a su modo, a su conveniencia, como todo. Entonces voy leyendo y tratando de capturar la esencia de mis palabras y poder hacer sentir lo mismo en otro idioma, ¿pero es que acaso para sentir el dolor, el amor, la felicidad, el miedo hay que saber hablar o escribir o leer? Entonces me doy cuenta de que hay partes que parecen mas poemas que historias, poemas que en pocas silabas van contando más que los capítulos de mis historias, ¿soy acaso más poeta que escritora? Leo detenidamente el poema dedicado a mi abuela que lo dice todo, aquel otro de resiste, aguanta, tu puedes, tu eres fuerte, inspirado en los días dolorosos de mi terrible enfermedad, otros llenos de nostalgia y pasión dedicados a los grandes amores de mi vida, aquellos inspirados por mis hijos, por mi abuela adorada, los que dedico sin nombre al amor de mis amores, al amor imposible, al amor.

Cuando uno va escribiendo queremos que una escena sea de una forma pero surge el trabajo poético con el idioma, la sintaxis, la gramática, la bendita ortografía, las dudas de no saber si usar una palabra u otra, de no ser vulgar o grosera, o de no llegar a la extrema exageración y convertirlo todo en un drama, tropezarse con una frase que explicaría mejor el momento o el evento, entonces tenemos que jugar con la invención, coquetear con la imaginación, buscar el principio del arte de la escritura, porque escritores hay muchos pero buenos de verdad muy pocos, y escribir es como hablar, puede ser muy fácil si eres hablador pero eso no quiere decir que uno no hable tonterías, como decía Atahualpa Yupanqui “muchas veces el silencio dice mas que las palabras” solo que no podría escribir un libro lleno de silencios y paginas blancas, pero ese libro de paginas en blanco es el futuro de nuestras historias, ese libro de silencios que aprenderán ha hablar en donde podemos escribir palabras maravillosas, contar historias que dejen una marca, hacer que las personas rían, lloren, se emocionen, vivan, amen, perdonen, reflexionen y mejoren al comprender y sentir todo aquello que los libros bien escritos nos pueden regalar.

Y mientras sigo con este proyecto de pulir la traducción de Luz de Almas Viejas les pido a mis Ángeles que me susurren al oído, que me ayuden que me inspiren, que me soplen, y que sigan guiando mi mente, mis manos, en este teclado que mis dedos recorren sin que mis ojos vean.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BORDERS BOOKS


Tengo que conseguir una camara para tomar fotos. Hoy Luz de Almas Viejas estaba a la venta en el BORDERS del Aeropuerto Internacional de Miami, colocaron este primer libro de esta humilde desconocida al lado de "La Isla bajo el mar" de Isabel Allende, y del ultimo libro de Paulo Coelho "El vencedor esta solo" debajo estaban los libros de Juanita Castro y otros de los best sellers en "spanish". Tuve que esconderme porque me senti muy emocionada y me puse a llorar, llanto mezcla de tantos eventos y momentos. Y alli estaba Luz de Almas cerquita de mis dos grandes maestros, Isabel y Paulo.

El viernes estare firmando los libros para los pasajeros y empleados que quieran comprar el libro.

Two scoops of chocolate ice cream please

























One day I had a date with friends for lunch. Mae, a little old "blue hair" about 80 years old, came along with them---all in all, a pleasant bunch.

When the menus were presented, we ordered salads, sandwiches, and soups, except for Mae who said, "Ice Cream, please. Two scoops, chocolate."

I wasn't sure my ears heard right, and the others were aghast. "Along with heated apple pie," Mae added, completely unabashed.

We tried to act quite nonchalant, as if people did this all the time. But when our orders were brought out, I didn't enjoy mine.

I couldn't take my eyes off Mae as her pie a-la-mode went down. The other ladies showed dismay. They ate their lunches silently and frowned.

The next time I went out to eat, I called and invited Mae. I lunched on white meat tuna. She ordered a parfait.
I smiled. She asked if she amused me.
I answered, "Yes, you do, but also you confuse me.

How come you order rich desserts, while I feel I must be sensible? She laughed and said, with wanton mirth, "I'm tasting all that is Possible.

I try to eat the food I need, and do the things I should. But life's so short, my friend, I hate missing out on something good.

This year I realized how old I was. (She grinned) I haven't been this old before."
"So, before I die, I've got to try those things that for years I had ignored.
I haven't smelled all the flowers yet. There are too many books I haven't read. There's more fudge sundaes to wolf down and kites to be flown overhead.

There are many malls I haven't shopped. I've not laughed at all the jokes. I've missed a lot of Broadway hits and potato chips and cokes.

I want to wade again in water and feel ocean spray on my face. I want to sit in a country church once more and thank God for His grace.

I want peanut butter every day spread on my morning toast. I want un-timed long distance calls to the folks I love the most.

I haven't cried at all the movies yet, or walked in the morning rain. I need to feel wind in my hair. I want to fall in love again.

So, if I choose to have dessert, instead of having dinner, then should I die before night fall, I'd say I died a winner, because I missed out on nothing. I filled my heart's desire. I had that final chocolate mousse before my life expired."

With that, I called the waitress over.. "I've changed my mind, " I said. "I want what she is having, only add some more whipped cream!"

This is my gift to you - We need an annual Friends Day! If you get this twice, then you have more than one friend. Live well, love much & laugh often - Be happy.


Be mindful that happiness isn't based on possessions, power, or prestige, but on relationships with people we love and respect. Remember that while money talks, CHOCOLATE SINGS!

Monday, November 16, 2009

El amor prohibido





Hoy ella recuerda ese día como si hubiera sido hace una semana y no hace tanto, pero tanto tiempo atrás. Es mas, es la primera vez que se atreve valientemente a recordarlo. Fue un verano de 1970, tenía solo 18 abriles, se había convertido en una mujer hermosa de cuerpo llamativo porque Dios y la naturaleza se lo habían dado todo, porte, proporción, feminidad, pasión, alegría y encima era una romántica amante del arte, del mar y de la luna. Deduzco ahora que nunca como en aquel entonces tuvo conciencia de que esos fueron días felices.

Era su primer trabajo en una gran oficina de capital extranjero, una empresa minera, muchos ingenieros guapos y muchas mujeres mayormente feas. En su primer día como la recepcionista bilingüe que siempre contestaba alegre y atenta fue que conocería al que seria su primera aventura amorosa, su primera vez y que hoy se da cuenta también el amor de sus amores, pero claro a los 18 uno no sabe ni comprende esas cosas, sabes lo que sientes y de cómo te late el corazón de emoción cuando te conviertes en el amor imposible de un hombre maravilloso pero que tiene ataduras y compromisos. El corazón late fuerte, la adrenalina y las hormonas viajan a alta velocidad en esa carrera monumental del amor imposible.

Sus primeras palabras fueron ¿“Capricornio”? y ella que siempre había sido una fanática admiradora de los signos del horóscopo y de lo que dicen las estrellas se quedo muy impresionada de cómo aquel hombre tan mayor y varonil podía adivinar que era capricorniana. Su voz la dejo para siempre hipnotizada, su mirada se quedo para siempre en sus pupilas, se acuerda de como la miraron esos ojos y sabe con certeza que nunca mas volvió a sentir que una mirada la traspasara y penetrara así, toda, en cuerpo y alma. Se hicieron íntimos amigos, desde el primer día, tomarían juntos el café antes de que todos los demás compañeros llegaran a la oficina, llegarían al trabajo una hora antes de sus labores para poder conversar todos las mañanas de 7 AM a 8 AM de lunes a viernes, para mirarse, para contarse de sus vidas, y muchas veces decirse mucho sin hablar palabra alguna, el le llevaba muchos anos de diferencia, casi 15, era su niña de cabellos dorados y piernas bien torneadas, ella se sentía feliz, completa, comprendida, protegida, amparada, fascinada, hipnotizada con la presencia de ese hombre en su vida. Nunca había sentido una sensación tan completa. Era el amor, se amaban con ese amor que solo se alcanza cuando dos almas viejas se encuentran y se reconocen, porque vienen buscándose desde hace miles y miles de lunas.

Almorzarían juntos y caminarían siempre varias cuadras al mismo lugar todos los días, la gente los miraría mal, ella jovencita y hermosa, el un hombre casado y bastante mayor que ella, pero a ella nada le importaba. Ella lo sentía tan bueno, tan tierno y dulce, suave, respetuoso, considerado y así fueron amigos por mucho tiempo. Después de varios meses un día paso lo que tenia que pasar, lo que pasa entre un hombre y una mujer tarde o temprano, fue un lunes después de un fin de semana que se les hizo a ambos largo y eterno, fue en el elevador, estaban los dos solos, en un momento paro el elevador y el le dio un beso, fue un beso robado, no era el primer beso de Mabi pero si era el beso mas maravilloso que había recibido, sintió que se le salía el corazón, que los latidos eran como potros salvajes que se liberaban, que sonaron miles de campanas y que su espíritu se elevaba. Fue un beso largo, apasionado, tierno, cargado de un amor de esos que solo se siente una vez en la vida, de ese amor que nunca te abandona, de ese sentimiento que te deja marcada para siempre. Después del beso robado vino la excusa, el temor, la reacción ¡no puedo! le dijo, no puedo ni debo amarte, pero te amo, no puedo no debo volver ha hacerlo, lo que nunca quiero es hacerte daño porque tu ya tienes un novio y yo tengo una esposa, pero el sentimiento era mas fuerte que ambos, que todo. Y se dejaron llevar por la corriente de ese gran amor.


Una semana después del beso en el elevador, quedaron en verse un día sábado y ella lo espero en un parque cerca de su casa. Se fueron lejos de la ciudad a contemplar la naturaleza. Llegaron a un lugar precioso en donde había un río de aguas claras tibias y cristalinas, no habían llevado trajes de baño pero con toda la naturalidad del mundo se quitaron la ropa y se quedaron en ropa interior y se metieron al río, allí fue la primera vez que el le vio los pechos blancos y erguidos de frío y de temor pero que ella le entregaría con toda la inocencia y el amor que sentía y que no podía seguir reprimiendo mas. Se hizo mujer en sus brazos mojados y le entrego su virtud, aquella que había guardado con tanto cuidado, aquella virtud que habían querido robarle varios pero que ella no había permitido que nadie le quitara. Esa tarde de romance y amor prohibido ella no pudo contenerse mas, quiso entregarle su alma, su cuerpo, su ser, su mente, su sentir. Su todo. Y fue suya, totalmente, y el fue de ella, y los dos se amaron con furia, fuerza y ternura, fue tan maravilloso que nunca ninguno de los dos pudo olvidarlo. El recuerdo de esa tarde de amor quedaría grabado en sus almas para siempre, el tiempo nunca podría borrar esos momentos mágicos e inigualables.

Después fueron amantes secretos por mucho tiempo. Siempre escondidos. Ella se caso con quien no tenía que haberse casado para ser una mujer terriblemente infeliz, y empezó a vivir una mentira y una doble vida. La infidelidad duro lo mismo que duro su matrimonio. Un día quedo embarazada y se dio cuenta quien era el padre. Tuvo el embarazo más infeliz y vivió los días mas largos de su existencia, fueron también los días más duros y tristes de su vida. Cuando nació la criatura tuvo la bendición de que era igual a ella y que no se parecía al padre. Su secreto la acompañaría para siempre y la presencia de su amante y mucho de el en ese hijo de ese amor prohibido. Y ese hijo de ese amor prohibido se convirtió en toda su vida, cuando lo veía le parecía estar viendo a quien tanto había amado y amaría por el resto de su vida.

Ella se divorcio pero el no pudo dejar a su esposa, el era un hombre de palabra y compromiso y el matrimonio era para toda la vida. Ella un día no pudo más y se fue de la ciudad, no quería ser la amante secreta ni convertirse en la querida, se fue pensando que la distancia lo haría recapacitar, pero el tiempo paso y miles de lunas tristes hicieron que todo se convirtiera en espejismos de un pasado. Los amantes nunca más se vieron. El hijo de ambos creció pensando que era el hijo del esposo de su madre, un hombre tan distinto a el en todo y en cambio tan igual a sus otros hermanos.

Pasaron muchas décadas y un día miles de lunas tristes después ya abuela y con nietos ella regresa al lugar en donde había dejado su corazón. Aquel lugar, el único del que se había sentido parte. Añoraba el color de la hierba, la luz filtrada por las nubes de un gris majestuoso, el brillo de sus luciérnagas, el croar de los sapos envidiosos y también el silencio infinito que parecía transportarla a otro planeta. Su amado y ella vivieron allí los días más bellos de sus recuerdos. Ella riendo al verlo nadar, tan atlético, tan fuerte. Era el único hombre con barba y bigotes por el cual se había sentido atraída. Siempre añorando su humanidad, su risa, su modo de acariciarla y de mirarla, que falta le había hecho sus palabras, sus silencios. Su presencia. Ya no puedo más, se dijo, tengo que volver a verlo, aunque sea una vez más. Volver a abrazarlo, sentir sus manos, su piel, aunque hoy este cubierto de canas y sus ojos casi ciegos. Lo he sonado miles de veces, me he visto atravesando el mar infinito y las mareas a su lado, nos hemos vuelto a amar como la primera vez. Porque a pesar del tiempo y las distancias ella sabia que siempre se habían amado. Lo sentía. Lo sabía. Lo supo desde la primera vez cuando mirándola con esos ojos tan especiales le pregunto ¿capricornio? Y ella sintió que se le subía la sangre hasta la cabeza.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Best poem by Maya Angelous


A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...
enough money within her control to move out
and rent a place of her own,
even if she never wants to or needs to...
something perfect to wear if the employer,
or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour....


A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...
a youth she's content to leave behind....
a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to
retelling it in her old age....
a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...
o One friend who always makes her laugh... and one who lets her cry...


A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .
a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family....
eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems,
and a recipe for a meal,
that will make her guests feel honored...


A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ..
a feeling of control over her destiny...
how to fall in love without losing herself..


EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
how to quit a job,
break up with a lover,
and confront a friend without;
ruining the friendship....


EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW......
when to try harder... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...


EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
that she can't change the length of her calves,
the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents..
that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...


EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...
how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...


EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.. .
whom she can trust,
whom she can't,
and why she shouldn't take it personally...


EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
where to go...
be it to her best friend's kitchen table...
or a charming Inn in the woods...
when her soul needs soothing...


EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...
What she can and can't accomplish in a day...
a month...and a year...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

De regreso y cansada


Tengo que cargar conmigo una libreta para apuntar mis pensamientos e ideas porque muchas veces se me presentan las imágenes en la mitad de la noche o cuando estoy manejando o hasta comprando la comida. Es entonces que me doy cuenta de que, durante el día, como en un televisor pasan películas por mi mente de todo lo que algún día voy a escribir. Es tanto lo que llevo por dentro. Estoy repleta de ideas como roperos llenos cerrados por puertas, listas para que alguien abra esas puertas y todas puedan salir apuradas buscando como colocarse en alguna de las páginas de los libros que contienen los pedacitos de mi vida. Cuando tengo tiempo, últimamente carezco de ese lujo, es cuando me lleno de energía y paz y podría decir que llego a conquistar un estado casi de felicidad paradisíaca, es cuando me siento como una de las hijas predilectas de mi Padre Celestial y agradezco haber sido creada a su imagen y semejanza. Entonces me siento delante de este monitor y empiezo a escribir sin descanso.

Hoy amanecí agotada para darme cuenta de que llevo días y noches siempre ocupada, estirando cada minuto, exprimiendo hasta la última gota de cada segundo de esta lucha que estoy llevando contra el tiempo. Mi lista de pendientes es larga, mis proyectos, mis obligaciones, mis sueños, mis metas, mi misión. Es 12 de Noviembre del 2009 y estamos casi en las puertas de las celebraciones de fin de ano, el día de acción de gracias, fiesta tan grande en los Estados Unidos, la Navidad con todo su colorido y alboroto. Tengo que ponerme a revisar la traducción de mi libro y hacerle los cambios y correcciones, tengo que concentrarme en ese proyecto y terminarlo para que Luz de Almas Viejas pueda ser leída en Ingles.

De regreso de mi ultimo viaje a Lima en donde me sentí por momentos como si estuviera trabajando para el Servicio Secreto o como si por momentos fuera protagonista de una película de acción, no me puedo quejar mi vida es siempre muy interesante, muchas veces siento que demasiado. La visita a Lima esta vez fue muy fuerte, intensa, emotiva, llena de acontecimientos y sorpresas, reencuentros y despedidas. Llore a mares, llore a cada rato, me entro lo que llamo “la llorona” pero no fueron lagrimas amargas ni lagrimas de rabia y dolor, fueron lagrimas tristes y de frustración cada vez que pasaba por las barriadas de mi adorada Lima, cada vez que veía a mis peruanos pobres con sus casitas de techos de cartón y pisos de tierra, la otra cara de Lima, la que se ve cuando sales de sus distritos de lujo.


Conocí a muchas personas encantadoras de las cuales recibí mucha energía blanca. Estuve muchas veces en lo que yo llamo el espacio ideal, ese lugar sin nombre pero que tu alma identifica y tu ser reconoce, puede ser en plena montaña, cerca del rió, en las orillas de una playa. Hoy, que hace un día luminoso y claro, haré una caminata imaginaria por la montaña.

Tuve el privilegio y el honor de conocer al padre de una gran amiga, Maria Cristina, el Dr. German una excelente persona fue un regalo enviado desde el cielo, un psiquiatra inteligente, experto y gran conocedor de las enfermedades de la mente y del alma que con su dulzura, humanidad y sentido del humor supo sacar respuestas y aclararme muchas cosas con respecto al estado actual de mi hermano que se esta recuperando en un centro para adicciones. El Dr. German me sorprendió por la fuerza de su lenguaje y sus conocimientos, entre otras cosas, le estoy muy agradecida.

Mi cuerpo hoy me pide descanso pero mi mente exige a mis diez dedos que se pongan a tocar su sinfonía en el teclado, me doy cuenta que hace mucho tiempo no se lo que es pasarme un día entero en casa, sin salir a la calle, mi rutina es siempre la de trabajar todos los días, salir de mi casa a las 6:00 A.M. todavía no ha salido el sol y cuando regreso en la noche ya se ha escondido, de lunes a viernes mi vida es dentro de este aeropuerto que tiene treinta mil empleados y ver cientos de personas casi todas apuradas o agotadas dependiendo de si están saliendo de viaje o regresando de uno. Mis momentos de ocio o tranquilidad son fugaces, posiblemente y sin querer los evito, quien sabe si siempre me mantengo tan ocupada para no pensar demasiado, para no analizar, para no deprimirme? Empiezo el día buscando mi lado luminoso.

Por allí encontré una frase de un libro de Pierre Michon (que cita a Flaubert) y lo explica así, data del 1852 y dice:

He aquí una de las razones por las que amo el arte, padecemos de todo, hacemos de todo, somos a la vez el rey y el pueblo, activo y pasivo, víctima y sacerdote...

Somos la prosa de Dios y su destrucción la perfección y su derrumbamiento....

Seguiré en mi oficina trabajando en mis proyectos y auditorias, me gano la vida haciendo reportes de contabilidad y administrando mucho dinero de otras personas o corporaciones, pero a la hora de mi refrigerio, generalmente de 1:00 PM a 2:00 PM alguna de mis amigas me viene a recoger a la Terminal y salimos a dar un paseo corto mirando los colores espectaculares del otoño en Miami que siempre son los colores del Verano. Aquí no hay cerros ni grupos de flores amarillas o naranjas, ni explosiones de rojo y dorado, ni las montañas como en Denver, ni la nieve, ni el frió de New York, pero me imagino una luz suave, vertical sobre la cima de los cerros, tan diferente de mis cerros pelados y rocosos de Chosica y Chaclacayo por donde me paseaba cuando era chica en busca de mis luciérnagas y jugando en las faldas de los cerros con mi perrito Toffee, mi espíritu de conquistadora y mi animo de aventurera, trepando por los cerros como una cabrita salvaje, cubriendo mi pantalón color caqui de tierra, una mochila en los hombros, imaginando que era una Indiana Jones y que iba a encontrar tesoros, o que quizás detrás de esa montana encontraría un pueblo perdido, una aldea con gente feliz.

Al abrir los ojos esta mañana me levanto de la cama y pienso: tengo que dar las gracias a Dios por todas las mañanas y amaneceres de mi vida, porque tengo trabajo, salud, mi familia, mis amigos, tantas bendiciones, tengo que empezar el día llenándome de energía blanca y salir a la calle con una sonrisa que ilumine a todas las personas oscuras, esperar menos de los demás y dar más de mí misma. Es una rutina que me he impuesto.

Es muy temprano, cerca de las 5:00 A.M., mi esposo todavía duerme. Estoy cansada pero es un cansancio bueno y se que pronto voy a recuperar ese estado en que me siento que nada me duele y que anoche dormí ocho horas. Tengo que hacer una lista e ir borrando uno a uno mis pendientes. Es la lista de un día. Hoy es el primer dia del resto de mi vida. Hoy será un día maravilloso. Hace un poco de frío, pero yo estoy feliz porque estoy viva.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grandmother's Poems

Mi vida


Mi vida es una continua oración,
es una súplica,
un rezo constante;
es un enjambre de amor y compasión,
la caridad misma,
de gozo palpitante,
y un calvario eterno de penas sin razón.

Es una zozobra,
en un martirio incesante
por los que vuelan alto,
por los que habitan lejos;
quienes mendigan suplicantes,
los que al carecer de pan se debilitan
y por los que viven sin Dios,
ignorantes.



¿Qué quisiera?

Tantos sueños,
tantas quimeras
maquina mi mente alucinada
¡Si muy fácil enumerarlas me fuera
y realizarles de amor arrobada!

¿Qué quisiera?
Que no lo oigan los celosos,
sentirme joven; mientras mis fuerzas puedan
verme activa, arreglando primorosos
los hogares de los hijos que me quedan

Saboreando los ajuares de los nietos por venir
y soñándome arrullada con los besos,
las quejas y los gritos;
los llantos y las risas
¡Enajenada!
¡Feliz!

¡Quisiera ver un coro aun más grande!
Escucharlos que me llaman abuelita.
Treinta nietos de que pueda yo ufanarme
¡Y que jamás me dejen solita!
Te perdono

Estas lágrimas que vierto por tu culpa,
que no caigan como fuego derretido sobre ti;
te perdono,
y aquí oculta
escondo el desamor percibido.

Eres siempre mi amor
yo te perdono de todo corazón,
te bendigo
y no creas jamás que te guarde enojo,
lo sabe Dios que es mi mejor testigo.

Es la acción más noble de la vida
para la madre de ternura encendida,
la que goza brindando su ser sin medida,
conceder el perdón al arrepentido.

Refrena tu carácter
y no hagas sufrir a los demás
como un verdugo cruel,
no tengas que pagar
y tal vez sentir remordimiento
por el comportamiento aquel.



Los ruegos de una madre

Señor:
Que todos sean buenos
Que no olviden la infancia
Que les inculqué tu amor

Que vivan en tu gracia
Que todos los actos de su vida
sean respaldados de santo temor

Que Tú seas el faro poderoso
que ilumine sus sanas intenciones,
que reciban tu luz ¡Misericordioso!

Que vuelvan sus ojos a Ti
Que dobleguen su querer
Que se humillen ante Ti

¡Que te amen y sean salvados!
Que de rodillas se postren
y perdones sus extravíos
Que Tú les digas:
¡Venid a Mí!



Duérmete

Cuando la “Parca” venga
le tendré que decir:
¡Detente!
Que un nieto sueña en mis brazos,
y otros aguardan que los haga dormir.

¡Espera!
No estorbes,
no me ciñas con tus lazos
de insólita aflicción,
permíteme aún decir:
Duérmete amor mío,
¡Duérmete en mis brazos!

¡A la rurrú… rurrú!
¡Duérmete por Dios!
Que tu abuela ríe,
plena de alegría,
porque ve en tu cara
reflejos de Dios.



Distintos Dolores

¡Murió el hijo!
y la madre adolorida
entre los pobres repartió un caudal de amor;
confortó a toda la que sentíase afligida,
que como a ella,
punzábale un gran dolor.

Todos los sufragios y limosnas
que por su alma mandaba distribuir
le parecían pequeños
y con ansias infinitas
deseaba por su palma
a los justos del cielo hacer dueños.

¡Murió la madre!
El primer día
el hijo parecía confundido,
se lamentaba sin cesar,
más ni de luto riguroso se vestía
ni a los que sufren acudía a consolar.

Sólo veía la hermosa herencia que tenía
y les dolía a los hermanos tener que dar;
avaro, atesoraba para él cuanto veía
¡Sin pensar en el alma de su madre!



Plegaria en el día de las Madres

Por las madres que lloran desoladas
a los hijos de su amor.

Por las madres que al campo de batalla
los despiden con pavor.

Por las madres que ausentes de los suyos
se oprimen de dolor.

Por las madres frívolas que olvidan
la senda del honor.

Por las madres egoístas que descuidan
la enseñanza mejor.

Por las madres impúdicas que llegan al escándalo
para después sufrir el error.

Por las madres que un hijo descarriado
aguardan con ardor.

Por todas las madres buenas
y las no tan buenas.






Mi súplica postrera

¡Qué no sea tan repentina mi partida!
que pueda unos consejos articular
y que al pie de mi lecho esté reunida
toda esa prole que tanto supe amar.

¡Te suplico que no falle ninguno!
has que reconozca los rostros queridos,
que pronuncie el nombre de cada uno
y los bendiga con mis cinco sentidos

Que me resigne a dejar los pedazos de mi vida
cuando un sacerdote se instale a la cabecera mía;
permítele a mi Oscar que distancias no mida,
que cierre los ojos, de la que fue su madre pía.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Directions to God's House


TO GOD’S HOUSE

Make a right onto “Believeth Blvd.”
Keep straight and go through the
Green Light, which is Jesus Christ.

From there…
You must turn onto the “Bridge of Faith,”
Which is over troubled water.
When you get off the bridge,
Make a right turn and Keep Straight.
You are on the “King’s Highway”…
Heaven-bound.

Keep going for three miles:
One for the Father, one for the Son,
And one for the Holy Ghost.
Then exit off onto “Grace Blvd.”

From there…
Make a Right turn on “Gospel Lane.”
Keep straight and then make
Another right on “Prayer Blvd.”

As you go on your way, Yield Not…
To the traffic on “Temptation Ave.”
Also, avoid “Sin Street”
Because it is a DEAD END.
Pass up “Envy Drive,” and “Have Avenue.”
Also, pass “Hypocrisy Street,”
“Gossiping Lane,” and “Backbiting Blvd.”

But you have to go down “Long-suffering Lane,”
“Persecution Blvd.,” and “Trials and Tribulations Ave.”
But that’s all right,
Because “VICTORY Blvd.” is straight ahead!

Let's make it a productive and healthy day.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Una semana en Lima


Hoy cumplo una semana de estar en Lima. Los dias volaron, hice muchas cosas pero la verdad que diez dias es muy poco para todo lo que tengo que completar. Manana me reuno con una distribuidora nacional de libros para empezar la distribucion de Luz de Almas Viejas en todas las librerias de Lima y sus alrededores. He tenido muchas reuniones con personas interesadas en loa ONG que estoy formando con el proposito de promover a nuevos escritores y que con el dinero de los libros podamos contribuir con los orfanatos y comedores para que no exista el hambre.

Hace calor y en San Bartolo sale el sol todos los dias, es fabuloso ver como cambia el clima. De noche camino por LarcoMar para llenarme de plenitud con esa vista maravillosa de la Costa de Miraflores y Barranco.

He disfrutado como siemore de los mejores mangos, unos choclos deliciosos, un ceviche mixto paradisiaco, todavia no he ido a comer al Chifa y solo he comido una butifarra, pero me quedan dos dias mas y ahora mismo hago una lista de todo lo que me falta hacer antes de volver a embarcarme y estar de regreso en Miami. Dejo Lima el domingo al mediodia para llegar a Miami en la noche y despertarme el lunes a las 5AM para volver a mi rutina diaria, a mi realidad, al mundo laboral.

Cuando llegue tengo que pulir la traduccion de mi libro al Ingles, tendre que darselo a leer a los Americanos para que me digan que les parece.

Todos estos dias sin tener acceso a la computadora y ahora escribiendo desde una laptop que me han prestado.

Adoro Miraflores, sus calles, el malecon, a todos mis amigos taxistas, al portero del edificio que me compra pan fresco por las mananas. Me acaban de invitar un pedacito de turron de dona Pepa y se me quedo en un diente, eso quiere decir que me hubiera podido comer un trozo mas, pero no quiero pecar de golosa.

Mi amiga y socia Mozzy ya se fue para su casa y son mas de las 10 de la noche, he visto a mis mejores amigas, me han abrazado con fuerza y energia buena cargada de amor y de comprension, he visto a mi hermano adorado varias veces y esta muy recuperado, he reido y he llorado emocionada, muy emocionada.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pieces of Light of Old Souls

My life has been neither easy nor simple. On the contrary, nobody else could ever imagine what I have had to live through until now, or how I have managed to survive until now and end up still able to laugh and love life with the passion, enthusiasm and intensity I do, day by day.

What do I want to be when I grow up? I wanted to be a lot of things, but reality was something else. Over time I realized that I had a lot of talents but, just as with many others, life has slid like water through my fingers, trying to survive and to comply with my obligations as a daughter, wife, mother, sister, friend, professional……..

As far back as I remember, I have been fascinated by pencils, books and note books. The most important and emotional day during my school years was always the first day of classes. I could never sleep the night before. Yes! School fascinated me, filled me with happiness and illusions. I was one of those rare girls to whom holidays and days off were nothing special at all, and I did not understand. why other girls became so happy when they did not have to go to school.

I have always loved to go shopping. I was enchanted by school implements in the Minerva Library, my fountain pen, my case for colored pencils with the unpronounceable German name, the protective transparent plastic cover to protect books, call “vinifan” in Lima.

Universal history and literature were my favorites subjects. Mathematics never interested me a lot, in high school I never understood what good geometry, algebra and fractions would do for me in later life. On the other hand I was enthralled by philosophy as well as by psychology and the fine arts When the time came to finish my high school studies, with the highest marks in first place, and to choose my university career, I decided that first I would study two years of literature, and during this time I would decide on what my professional path would be and what career I would choose to follow. My father was a commercial pilot and worked for Peruvian Airlines (APSA); during that time he was without work and spent difficult days when he, together with my mother, had to open a workshop, for making clothes and swimsuits for women. The truth is that they did so well that, without really knowing the business, they soon received purchase orders from other stores and began to produce the famous “hot pants” line and imitation leather jackets. I was only 17 years old and already knew that although my father had the best intentions, he was unable to pay for my studies, so he registered me in the Brown Academy of Languages and Secretariat Studies in 28 de Julio Street in Miraflores, where I studied for my Bilingual Executive Secretary diploma. The course took two years and included accounting, typing, shorthand, broadcasting and even legal studies. Simultaneously I worked in an office as a receptionist in a company called International Executives. I earned about $300 a month while searching for further income, selling cosmetics to my friends and neighbors in order to help at home with the little money which I earned with a lot of effort and pride.

I was sentimentally involved in a relationship since I was fifteen and ended up marrying before I was nineteen, I had my first child at 20 and the second at 22 years of age, only to find myself within the suffering of a dysfunctional marriage that would end, much to my sorrow, in a divorce when I was 23 years old. Then I changed my geographical address and left Lima, the city where I grew up, and moved to Miami where I have now been living for more than thirty years.

Since arriving in the City of the Sun, I have nearly always dedicated myself to working in large companies as a secretary or administrator, applying all I have learned during the course of my life.

What do I want to do with my life in the future? I was asking myself this very question just recently, when one night my angel of always, whispered gently in my ear: “Why don´t you write down all this that you feel inside” and I understood finally that I wanted to write books. Yes, I decided that I want to be a writer, and that is how I have been passing the time. Now I appear before you, having reached 55 years of age, to share with you my thought s and my writings. This is my first book.

Those who watch me going through life think “there goes a plump but happy woman”, and have often confirmed to me that I appear to be a happy plump woman. I confirm that I am very happy and especially enthusiastic and that I give the impression of not knowing what it is to have problems and even less to be a bearer of a past with sad or traumatic episodes. The procession is internal. Outside flowers and inside tremors. Few would put up with wearing my shoes. Or is it that they believe that I am fat because I want to be fat, and that fat people are happy people.. I became a “big woman” when I came to this country where the food is super charged with vitamins and where it is easy to get fat if one does not burn the calories one consumes. But I must say that have never felt bad about being overweight

Since I learned to write, I have written many letters and poems. Writing was always my way of giving vent to all m worries and problems; it has been a way of reflecting the therapeutic catharsis or exorcism as my dear Panamanian friend, the writer and the guru image, Ana Raquel Chanis, would say. I cannot complain, I have had a good life, rich in emotions and experience. I don´t know what it is to be bored. Boredom is a feeling unknown to me because I have always been active, some would even say hyperactive. I have known how to fill my life with multiple projects, events and activities. I am very communicative, one of those persons who talk and smile .at everybody, and that is how I have known and continue to know many interesting people which I do every day. I feel sure of my experiences. I am like thousands of other women who have had to emigrate from their homeland to seek the daily bread to feed their children, going out to fight the daily fight; at the same time I am unique and exclusive, like each and every one of us, because I feel we are all special beings.

I am a mixture of nationalities, ways of thinking and customs. I was born in the United States, in Texas, my mother´s land. My parents moved to Lima, Peru, the land of my father, while I was still in diapers- My ancestors were descendents of Spaniards – Basque and Andalucian - English and German.

I love living in Miami but I have never stopped missing Lima, my adored city, for which I feel a constant nostalgia composed greatly by my Internet communications and when I travel for a few days to renew everything.. Lima calls me, seduces me. When I am in Lima it is as though I had never left it, it is a part of my heart that remains there, in the streets of Miraflores. As I grew up and was formed in Lima, I feel very comfortable there, happy and complete, expressing myself in that rich and marvelous language and you will find that I write like a Peruvian. .

When I was a child I saw fireflies near my house, and now I live in he city I adore. In 1966, I filled my diary, in which I always wrote all kind of notes and stuck pieces of papers, figures invoices, photos, and mementoes, noting and editing all types of activities. The places we had visited, the climate, the names of people we met, what we ate, that is to say all treasures, that we left behind. It has been a long time since I got rid of all these treasures, one day when they appeared to be just another of my many collected trinkets, because I have always been a collector of memories. Books, poems, thoughts, letters. I do not regret it, the memories are still large and weigh more than an notebook.

Let yourself do what your heart tells you to do. Listen to inside voices that always speak to you. Feel and follow your impulses. Stop feeling afraid: Believe in God, believe in yourself. Let the angels accompany your dreams and your word. Let the fireflies illuminate each page of your book of life.

Mary Elizabeth Fernandez-Vasquez
WHY DO I WRITE?

Because I feel the need to write that is as strong as hunger, as thirst, as wanting to sleep, as desiring to be in the arms of my loved ones as the air I breathe, as living, as being happy.

Because I want to express all that I feel inside and share my thoughts, communicating with and meeting others, discovering new frequencies, finding twin souls, parallel, similar minds. Because I love to investigate, discover, learn, analyze and talk. Because I feel when I write it unites all my feelings and my soul is found with my conscience, mind, spirit, body and heart.

Because since a morning some months ago I discovered that my mission was to write. I write because I like it and because it gives me great pleasure happiness. peace and tranquility, because it does and it doesn´t, I write about things that I live through and other times those I have been told about or that I just imagine.

I write about my Celestial Father, about Angels, my grandmother, the women in my life, the men in my life, my children, grandchildren, experiences, my pain, about cats, flowers, fireflies and butterflies, pictures, photos and painters, poets and writers, artists and comedians, miracles, lesser and greater things. That poverty exists, wealth does, that there is a Christmas, that there is hate, there is sadness, depression, oppression and there is liberation, about laziness, about love and lack of love, about sex and pardon, about lechery, and forgetfulness, envy and gluttony and other worldly sins, against goodness and miracles. I write about Facundo Cabral, Mother Theresa, Cesar Vallejo, Audrey Hepburn, Chaplin and Cantinflas and about poverty and hunger. Injustice and inequality, for the motherland, the Mother country and the universe, for heaven and beyond because all of us have blood in our veins and we all want to win the lottery and continue to feel young and full of energy a

And good health and find a solution to all our problems. Because we all want to be happy and to pass through life seeking happiness. I write about the sun, the weather, the rain, the rainbow, the colors because I want to write hundreds of poems and lots of books, because I want to laugh and to make others laugh, and I want to cry make others cry because I want to feel and make others feel, because I want to love and be loved, because I want to need and be needed, because I want to live forever in this marvelous relationship with the ink color of my readers´ eyes.

I am writing for you.

La Belle Epoque


1

That dawn of insomnia, it occurred to me to open the box where all the old pictures of the family were kept. I found one of my great-grandfather, father of my grandmother Caridad, and thousands of words came to mind, as well as thoughts and memories, as though I was watching a movie in the cinema, all began flowing through the ways of my mind, all these personalities, painting images full of color. Suddenly the bedroom was full of old and magical odors. I could smell the fragrance of cinnamon and the cloves on rice pudding as delicious as that I ate as a child. I could feel the essence of the pieces of orange peel mixed milk (condensed and evaporated) and lots of sugar. It made my mouth water remembering that hot rice pudding during my far away childhood.

I would like to go back in time to eat again one of their delicious dishes. I close my eyes and can almost taste it. In my memory I am once again six years old, dressed in dress full of spots with a full skirt and I am running in the garden of the Chosica country house, 47 kilometers outside Lima I can smell the damp grass, the particular aroma of jasmine and that special and peculiar odor of the house of my grandparents. How lovely it is to have beautiful memories of your childhood. They are rare food for the soul.

There were a lot of pictures that I began to collect and set up on the floor while my beautiful cat, “Gordita” as usual scratched his head on my legs and stared at me fixedly, and then closed his eyes gently as though asking me what I was doing awake at 3.00 a.m. He look fixedly at the pictures while I just analyzed his looks. What clothes!…What times! How fast time passes….What memories! How fast time passes when one becomes involved body and soul in memory. They are nearly all dead today. In a transparent plastic bag I found some poems written by grandmother in her lovely handwriting. these being more than six decades old.

Suddenly I feel my guardian angel whispering fluently in my ear the words that my fingers are writing on the keyboard of my computer, at a speed that increases the faster my thoughts run through my head- I feel his presence behind my back. This is not the first time, but this time, now as a mature woman I can understand and have no further doubts that all my life my angels have tried to communicate with me in many ways. Also, far more times than I realize, I believe the spirit of my grandmother who cares for me up above, visits me when I am asleep, I feel her presence in my dreams often, and even felt her kiss on my forehead. Shortly afterwards I remember everything she told me as a child, what actually happened in real life. I have many still fresh memories and when they come to me I burst into tears because they invade me very deeply with emotion. So much so do I feel them inside me that sometimes I feel as though I will burst. Sometimes I feel such that I tremble from head to foot and close my eyes to find in the passages of my mind a child with golden hair and sweet but always sad eyes, that spill over with delight looking at the adored grandmother, a wonderful woman, so sweet, so gentle and at the same time so strong, human and generous. A human angel, a little bit of heaven, a touch of light

My grandmother did marvelous things for so many people without expecting any reward in exchange. To give and serve was what made her happy, I know that what she sought was Celestial Glory , Heaven for her children. She was a being of generosity and goodness such as I have not seen often n my life; for this reason I want to make sure that her essence reaches many people, so that they can reflect and begin to feel, think, learn and dream. She loved God, life, her country and the family, she loved friends and everyone else, but she especially loved work. I remember her, I see how we live life in these times and I cannot fail to ask how she lived with so many people. It is so difficult to live with the family, with the same blood, with beings you love.

With my grandmother I learned to have hope, to be valiant towards adversity, and to have strength of spirit, but the most important thing I learned was that success in life resides in adaptation . That we must learn to adapt. Yes, because one of the key words in the book of my life is going to be adaptation. I listened attentively to her counsel and learned her phrases: In bad times, a good face; if you are not with your loved one, then love the one you are with. From her I also learned that we are the architects of our lives, that each one of our decisions will define our destiny. How can we possibly, in ten minutes change our life completely, as well as our future and forthcoming problems at determined moments. Where will we work, who will we marry, where to live, how many children will we have, how much money will we spend or waste? If we have to leave the country, if we have to divorce, when to say yes, and when to say no. Is it worth breaking up a home for an adventure? For an infidelity? Try drugs, get drunk or eat too much. Decisions!, decisions! So many decisions that we make in daily life. Whether to resign oneself to living in depression due to oppression or to change our destinies. We must know how to select our friends, extremely important is the selection of our life partner; learning to love, forgive and accept from those of our blood although they have thousands of defects and problems, because they are “the family”, But I ask “ Do we have to honor our father and our mother when we are born and grow up in a dysfunctional home, when our parents abandon us emotionally or when, despite having parents they prove to be irresponsible, and we have to grow up without a good example, without help, but with bad treatment.

All these living experiences remain engraved in my mind and are sealed forever in the heart. Now, halfway through my life, I feel an imperious need to write down all these things that weigh so much, that I carry forever within me. I feel that I must venerate all these ancient and old people so marvelous during my infancy, my youth and my life as a mature woman, entering the third age at an incredible velocity. I must hurry because life passes in a sigh, we are here just passing through and when we realize it our heads are already covered with white hairs and we stoop when moving around.

Recently I realized that my angels had been sending me messages for a long time, but I did not know how to interpret them. Recently I took some photos within a church n Lima, with my sister´s cellular, and in one of the photos there appeared a figure apparently of smoke, that perfectly formed the figure of an Archangel with wings, the sword, the face, as though it were a ghost, a being from another dimension. It appeared to be Archangel Michael because he had a sword. Some people when seeing the photo immediately identified the Archangel and were astonished, astounded, while others said that it had a blot and that it was a trick of the camera or our imagination that made us see things that were not there. But, clearly seen is the face of Michael, wings and sword. It is Michael that has always been at my side protecting me. He who saved my and many other lives of mine several times. Now I understand many things.

Another time, on one of my trips to Lima, I met a young woman with a beautiful face and we became good friends after a few hours of conversation she commented that since childhood she has found white feathers. Sometimes she finds them in her clothes, other times when leaving the house, in bed, in her shoes, in her coat. She always keeps the feathers in a cloth bag. That day she showed me the feathers that are white, delicate, very light and do not look life feathers of our birds or other birds. She put them in my hand, I began to tremble with emotion, I felt an electricity cover my body and a celestial presence, and I stiffened all over. I looked at her and answered quite naturally: “These are the feathers of your guardian angel who is sending you a message. Then I asked for her name. She replied “My baptismal name is Gloria Angelica”.

Since that day we have been great friends. It was our angels that agreed together that we should meet, on one of my trips to Lima. It was not a casual meeting. Nothing is casual. All of life happens because we all have a mission that is written in the book of life. Between ourselves it is written that we should know each other, that we should be friends, that we should recognize each other immediately.

Time does not forgive and passes on wings; every day passes faster according to how we advance on our paths, on our way to growing old. Constantly I tell myself that we only have one life to live, and this is it and not a rehearsal ¬¬–it´s the real thing – and we must learn to live it, enjoy it and understand it. How difficult life is at times! Or perhaps it is not life that is difficult, but we ourselves that complicate everything. I feel anxious because I want to publish the poems of Grandmother Caridad, that are so pretty that each time I read them I feel a knot in my throat and I am filled with emotion that makes me cry. Grandmother Caridad was a deep and sensible soul; of great sympathy and appreciation of the simple things of life, happy with so little.

She became my first heroine and has been all my life. I have never met anyone like my granny Caridad. Now I can understand so many things: her poems, her silences, her tears, her dedication to children – hers and those of my widower grandfather, Jose Ernesto. Now I know why she was so busy. I realize now that she was a victim, as well as a saint; a being of light, an extraordinary woman in her time and in any other. She was fascinated by flowers, especially violets. She had a garden full of pots full of leafy violets flowering in the most varied colors. She loved olives, almonds, dried fruits, cheeses, jams, figs, mangoes, and ate an apple cut into eight pieces every morning for breakfast, granadillas (pomegranates) and above all she loved custard apples and island bananas. Oooh, I was forgetting, she was also crazy about lucuma (eggfruit), and taught me to make ice-cream with them and a delicious flan.

My grandmother was methodical, disciplined After her the second person most like her insofar as these virtues go was my Aunt Antonia. On the other hand my mother is a different woman, with a strong personality, exceptional and sharp intelligence, strongly marked by blows during her early infancy. A woman who cannot reach her dreams of becoming a famous actress in spite of the great musical talent that ran in her blood; from early childhood her life was full of obstacles and tragedies. Belinda never would accept that she herself had always been her own worst enemy; she would continue being, despite the blows a spoiled child always trying to be the center of attention, because she would never feel accepted by anybody than that of her understanding and human mother in law, Caridad, who died when she was only 29 years old. The death of Caridad left an enormous vacancy in Belinda´s life, since she would never again feel the emotional support nor the love of a mother that she was to know for only a short time.

Caridad and Belinda, women victims each one in their epoch of hypocritical society, of a two-faced culture, of an environment of vanity and classic materialism, very closed and superficial . Of generally male chauvinist, unfaithful, selfish, insensitive and mistaken men. I refer to those men who did not know the kitchen of their homes, nor how to boil water much less fry two eggs, not to mention changing diapers or getting up in the night to calm down a baby, crying 1because he is wet, has a tummy-ache or perhaps because it was the baby´s bottle time. We are talking of lack of commitment, of dualities and infidelity; of the non-existence of the spirit of sacrifice but of a tendency to abuse and lies, to hypocrisy, stealing and treason. Epochs in which women were just adornments – trophies - , others uniquely served to be impregnated and to bring children into the world, some were faithful breastfeeding maids


II

The Belle Epoque covered the years from 1915 to 1930. My grandmother Caridad’s father, my great grandfather, was called Joan Manuel Letellier. At that time he was an advanced personage, outside the series and undoubtedly very modern, unique. Handsome, tall and manly, with a noble bearing; he had a white skin and marvelous personality, with large, expressive eyes, greenish in color with full, curly eye-lashes. In those old yellowish photos, folded at the corners, one can admire the handsome young gentleman who was more like a movie artiste of those old times. Although of Andalusan and Basque origin, he appears to be more Danish or Dutch in the photograph. In that photo he looks more like a millionaire rancher because in the background of the photo there is shown the fabulous architectonic construction of a great house.

Joan Manuel Leteller, his parents and brethren had emigrated to Lima, as many Europeans had, coming to Peru and other countries to build America. Such people came poor, but with dreams and hopes of grandeur. The arrogance in my family is congenital, carried in the blood. My ancestors were curious, creative, artistic, ambitious, workers, avid readers, passionate conversationalists, but above all were “simpaticos”. A congeniality that left its seal on generation after generation.

Lima, at that time, was a captivating city, the most beautiful of ancient viceroy-ships, with that colonial style so characteristic of interesting architecture. Elegant, with fine people, cultured and very educated. Some well known, and friends of the family had progressed rapidly and were already a part of high Lima society, moving in the most exclusive circles. Joan Manuel had married a sweet young woman from the Basque country, very well brought up, with the same name as mine - in my family names are often repeated - Maria de los Angeles. My great grandparents had had eight children, three boys and five girls. Joan Manual earned a living as a dentist during the day, utilizing hypnosis and mental powers he had inherited and developed to extract molars without anesthetic. I had constantly heard my grandfather Caridad comment in family meetings that the patients affirmed that they felt no pain, that he was the best dentist of his time, the most prestigious, to whom went all the rich people of Lima who had money and also those of few resources, because great grandfather was a humanitarian and helped the poor. The dentist´s office was always full, located in a very well known street in Miraflores.

Grandmother Charity was good woman with the blood of good people in her veins. She was the daughter of a most unusual man. Great grandfather ended his university studies in the United States and spoke several languages besides English. In his youth he attended a military academy in Lima. Few finished but he left decorated by the Prestigious West Point, which the family showed off. Well deservedly he was called “The Magician”. Dentist by day, at night he converted to a Bohemian pianist. He played the piano for social events, for theatrical works and any other opportunity that presented itself. However, every Sunday he played the organ at his neighborhood church, for the noon mass. He did this all his life keeping a promise made to the Lord of the Miracles when same had saved his life as a very young man. He had counted on spending one day at the beach where, despite being a great swimmer, he was once upon a time on the point of drowning with nobody who could help him; so, closing his eyes he began to pray to the Lord of Miracles, and almost immediately there appeared a strong young man who pulled him out of the huge waves and carried him to the waters edge. The man who came to his rescue never said a word. When “The Magician” opened his eyes. he was lying on the sand out of danger on the solitary beach, and the man had disappeared. It must have been an angel, a guardian angel or maybe one of the angels of Archangel Uriel´s´ army, those charged with relieving us from accidents of nature, or hurricanes, floods or storms

Joan Manuel dominated the piano like a virtuoso, since nobody had ever taught him even a single note, he was born full of gifts and talents. People admired him and considered him not as an amateur but as a consecrated artiste. Truly , he was a being blessed by the Grace of God. In addition to this, he had an incredible tenor voice.

“Talent is like intelligence, it is in the genes and is inherited, carried in the blood, in the veins”, my grandmother used to say-.

“We carry art in our veins”, repeated grandfather “ We are a family of artistes. We are blessed by our Heavenly Father.”

. He said it, singing the words in a very flamenco tone of voice and moving his hands like a typical Andalusian. I must emphasize that in the family we all suffer from acute narcissism, during the last few generations.

Despite being so Catholic and religious, curiously, some in the family have certain powers or skills and some people have commented that they were “prophets” and others say that they were witches. magicians, seers and even spiritualists. They had a sixth sense. I, for example, from an early age, would be fascinated by signs of the horoscope, Chinese animals;. That people are born in the cycle of the Dragon, such as the Serpent, the Rat, the Rabbit, the Tiger and the Monkey…….. I also learned to interpret dreams, read palms of hands, play Tarot cards and the Spanish pack of cards. Undoubtedly, I inherited something from the Don. Since early childhood I began to listen to voices, to have presentiments. I would see auras and shadows , the future of other people, tragic accidents, or terrible sicknesses, at times death, on various occasions I would see angels who met together to make me understand what was going on,

Those on the other side of the family – the branch of Grandma Caridad- were famous for knowing everything, they walked erect, ate up the world with a sureness that some would be confounded by their arrogance, but It was just the contrary. You had to know them and, when you did know the people, you loved them. They were very anxious, creative. business minded , super-interesting.
Ancient Souls.

All were complete and great people, they were not an instrument but the whole orchestra. Yes, great-grandfather and his future generation were special persons, and I had the privilege of being born into this family..


I I I


Caridad was Joan Manuel´s first daughter, the oldest of five girls, since the boys came first. All of them were educated in Lima at a prestigious school of
French nuns. Caridad, like all the youngsters of the best families at the beginning of the epoch at the time of the First World War, knew how to embroider and knit, and was a great baker and avid reader of classic works. Crime and Punishment, Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, The Picture of Dorian Grey were all just some of her favorite books, as were also the works of Ricardo Palma, famous writer of Peruvian Traditions. My grandmother had the great honor of knowing him personally and was very friendly with him since his friend and school companion was one of the daughters of the famous Peruvian writer himself. Caridad also showed off with pride, as a treasure, the book that he dedicated to her so lovingly.

You could find Caridad every Sunday at the neighborhood church in Miraflores, praying at mass in Latin. Like a good Catholic her life was devoted to her neighbor, especially the poor and needy. “Love God, above all things and your neighbor like yourself” were the commandments of Jesus Christ that she repeated every day and that she and that we, her grand-daughters, would hear constantly from her lips that with devotion and sweetness pronounced words that contained great religious training.

The few times that she left the house at that time was on Sundays to go to church and when there were events such as a baptism, the first communion, weddings, wakes, burials; also, of course, the fiesta for presentation in society.
At that time “decent” women kept discretion and were señoritas who lived quietly in their homes, devoted to domestic tasks, always diligent, since “laziness is the mother of all vices”, another famous phrase that granddaughters heard every day of our childhood. Something typical of that epoch at the beginning of the twentieth century was that marriages were arranged by the parents from an early age. It might be said that Granny Caridad ended up marrying in what was an arranged marriage or probably a marriage of convenience since she would marry no-one less than the disconsolate and recent young widower of her first cousin Maria Teresa Letellier, another incredible woman of those times, women who had to accept submissively and religiously all the children that God sent her. Thus she vanished never to awaken, and died when she was 34 years old, at the moment of bringing into the world her premature fourteenth child. At that time women lasted little time and finished very rapidly. They looked old long before reaching 40 years of age. Looking at photos one cannot believe that this distinguished and brave women who looks so old was only thirty-four years of age. Pregnancies and births had aged her without giving he time to assimilate consciously that she had so many children and that her life on this planet would be so ephemeral..

Uncle Jose Augusto, brother of granddad Jose Ernesto, told me, when I was a child, that the panorama the night of Maite´s death was devastating and one of the strongest and saddest of the family. That dawn Death circled the house, carrying his sharpened mortal tool and just as always was covered with a black mantle seeking his next victim. All Jose Ernesto´s brothers were in the living room of the house, while the expert midwife was in a cold sweat and crying out desperately because the delivery had become terribly complicated and the young woman whom she had aided in so many previous births before was dying; this time the patient could not push because she was too weak, she had not strength enough even to breathe. The flowers in the garden of my grand-fathers house began to wither, trembling nervously and frightened by the passing of the Death. There was a noisy silence, a neighbors cat who wooed the cat in my grand-father´s house and visited her at night began to miaow to advise her, his hair standing on end , of the passing of Death, then ran out of the house like a scared rabbit. The large round moon did not want to be a part of the tragedy, nor of the sadness of the inevitable event and also scared, hid behind gray clouds in the Miraflores sky. The glow-worms would not glow, the few trees on the avenue opened their arms to confuse him but Death is no fool and would not be seduced. After breathing deeply, he followed on his way to comply with his terrible task. Silently, the phantasm began to appear at the window to look at the one who had only minutes to live. He saw in the bed Maria Teresa who, sweaty and complaining, is drenched working and sees from the crystals how the midwife is frightened, tightening her lips in desperation because she shows that her patient is very weak and losing a lot of blood, knows that she has but little time left. On her list are two victims: the mothers and the newborn. At this moment grandfather entered the room because he waned to see his wife and the newest child. He approaches the bed and when he touches his loved one he realizes that her body is inert, lifeless, that is when he embraces her and lays down by her side as though she were simply asleep, and he remains quietly while the tears pour down his cheeks It was a time without time, as time is when there is great pain.

Death makes him nervous…he must be on his guard! The midwife brings a wet cloth to clean the babe; she makes it comfortable, she coos to the babe , kisses it and dresses it in white and then she places it in the crib, covers it with immense love and tenderness. Then she begins to pray and to cry.

Death begins to get angry. She no longer has the time, as well as not being able to stand prayer. What a nuisance having to do things by halves. How much love in this room. Time is flying. She cannot stay but must go. It gives a large sigh that all present hear but do not understand. Daylight is breaking and she must say goodbye because, like the vampires, she cannot tolerate light. It is a new day and the birds are leaving their nests, the cocks are crowing, she hears the little gray doves, the seller of fresh fish and the milkman. The newborn sleeps quietly, outside its sad reality of being an orphan, without knowing that in its first hours it has conquered Death.
Sweet and submissive Maite has had a total of fourteen pregnancies of which two babes died, those born yesterday. When dying it left a newborn, the last boy, the twelfth live child of the marriage, this babe, who will be given the name of Jose Maria, who will grow up to become a dedicate priest in the Order of San Vicente de Paul. He will be the family priest and the most handsome of all. He will have the gift of the gab, as well as a great sense of humor, be good, animated and of brilliant witticisms. The uncle priest, in charge of administering sacraments to the Catholics and all their families. The uncle who will baptize us, hear our confessions, marry us and also give us the last rites before dying. In his position of priest he will help all marriages in the family with sage advice, serving towards equilibrium and emotional health. For the new born, on various occasions he has fought against Death victoriously, until the cheating the Fates in the form of tuberculosis began to take away the little ones.

The following day, when my grandfather left the bedroom he carried an expression on his face that staggered all who surrounded him and did not find a way to console his. To see him like this was very moving. Nobody knew what to say. Silence. A silence that said more than all the words in the world. Total infinite silence. Noisy silence. Everyone saw how the young widower took another room in the large house on Pardo Avenue - which was his office and library, which would be from this moment on his new room – and closed the door and those who remained outside heard cries that were blood-curdling and a cry that was blood-curdling. Those were the longest and saddest nights and days of those that would form the long life of our grandfather, because just like Maite had lived a short life, granddad Jose Ernesto would have to live a long time, reaching ninety, but for those days in 1914 he wanted to die. For the first time he renounced God. He could not imagine a life without his companion. He cried so much that hi eyelids were red and swollen and closed like two horizontal lines, so that the blue eyes could not be seen, eyes that had always had a special brilliance and that would lose this brilliance forever, eyes that would become sad and nostalgic, lost at a far point for the rest of his days. He carried this decomposed face for a long time, that showed the infinite sadness of losing a very dear loved one, the greatest paid that a human being can feel and not be able to explain. One must live it to understand it, one must feel it and he thought that he would never get over it. The death of Maite aged him at one blow. He was 39 years old, but from that night on he appeared to be sixty.

Thus, the things in life would never be the same. He had lost his heart, Maite had been taken from him, he had remained empty. He felt lost, so alone without his companion, the mother of his twelve children. The Andalusian who had always been a great speaker became silent. He stopped speaking, he stopped singing and dancing the flamenco; he also stopped writing and dedicated himself body and soul to work. He worked 18 hours a day for the rest of his life. The work would be an escape and his refuge. He passed three hard and difficult months since the saddest of vigils and the burial of the young wife. Time that for him was three centuries long.
Aside from being his first cousin, Maite was more than an older sister and his best friend, who was going to precede Caridad, who would end up marrying this widower in order to give him, on top of his twelve children of the first marriage, his nephews, ten more children, all that followed, all boys with the exception of one daughter who died before reaching her first birthday. He never complained of the months of terrible pregnancies and complicated births, all natural, none cesarean. That he would take charge of twelve adopted sons who were also his nephews, the sons of his first sister. He never thought that this was what life would give him now.



CHAPTER IV

One Sunday, after mass, Jose Ernesto Vallecillo approached Caridad´s parents, the first and favorite friend of his deceased wife; it was at just this moment that he decided his future in a practical way, he had to get out of the lethargy of infinite sadness that had possessed him, leave the past aside and begin again. Life would follow – he repeated in his mind – life would follow; I cannot let myself fall, my children need a mother and I will go mad if I do not meet someone soon who will help me to raise them. Yes, a good woman like Caridad. Maite will understand. Then, looking up at Heaven with tears in his eyes he said:

“Maite, mi darling, my life, you are and will always be the love of loves, the love of my life, my great love, you must send me sign from Heaven that you approve my marrying your cousin, give me a sign that you hear and understand. As though Maite was really able to hear and understand from above, as though Maite was listening from above, it began to rain at this moment, to rain torrentially in Lima, something very rare since it never rains in Lima, which only has an occasional fine drizzle. On this day the sky opened, watered the plants and then there appeared a splendid rainbow. Rainbows are never seen in Lima, it was a sign from Heaven that Maite approved. Jose Ernesto raised his eyes and saw drawn in the clouds the beautiful face of his beloved. It was the first time since his beloved had left him that he smiled.

Thus it was that the paternal grandfather of Maria Angeles, the young and good-looking widower with twelve children, Jose Ernesto Vallecillo asked for the hand in marriage of his cousin Caridad. Juan Manual Letellier agreed gladly to his daughter Caridad joining her life in Catholic matrimony to the widower and to help him raise his twelve children. They were both very nervous, it was a very abrupt request for the hand of the bride, practically a desperate and most unexpected one.

Jose Ernesto had never ever thought of Caridad. He did not love her, what is more he had not even felt attracted to her. Really he had felt attracted by Camila, who was younger and beautiful but who already had a boyfriend, so there was no other choice than to content himself with the cousin who was available. Caridad had already been left at the altar and was about 25 years old, which at that time meant that she belonged to the group of old maids. Women got married very young at that time, generally before they were 16 years old; grandfather Jose Ernesto was already 40 years old and was 15 years older than she was.

To the people of Lima this wedding appeared to the a scandal. Imagine, the grandfather deciding to marry and only three months and some days after the death of his first wife – exactly 114 days - and he was marrying nothing less than the first cousin of his dead wife. Malicious questions arose. All Miraflores and its surroundings did nothing more than gossip and open their eyes in shock, indignation and astonishment Scandalous! This man was shameless, he could not live without a woman, he could not respect the memory of his wife and now he was marrying nothing more nor less than to a first cousin of the dead wife. Malicious questions were made, there was no lack of low thoughts and accusations. At that time a rigorous mourning was kept, dressed in black for a long time, but here he was abandoning the mourning in the fourth month, he may keep it inside but for this he was strongly criticized. “He is committing a sacrilege! What did people know? You would have to be in his shoes as a widower with a lot of children to be able to understand it, but that is how it is and that is what people are like.

The much discussed wedding took place in April 1915. The bride wore a dress crocheted by one of her sisters; she had not wanted to wear the one she wore some months before, when she was left at the altar. Other sisters helped to finish the sheer brides dress that was simple but elegant. Caridad was of small stature, only 1.50 cms. tall, a miniature transparent white, slender figure, well distributed and weighing 90 Ibs. or 41 kilos. Her eyes were honey-colored, although at times they changed color, she had an extremely sweet and deep. She was shy, usually speaking in a hesitant voice, she never shouted, was always a lady. Quite contrary to the Vallecillo family who were shouters and bad speakers by nature. What a sweet expressive face Caridad always had! Her large Spanish eyes, the long cut of her face and her slightly large, colombine nose, that went well with the rest of her face, the pure transparent white skin, like snow, the light chestnut hair, so long it reached her ankles, and that she always combed in tied up tresses, very small, size 4, feet. On her wedding day she wore a necklace of cultivated pearls, a family inheritance and a pair of earrings that appeared to be three tears, also of pearls. She had class. Caridad was born with class, and with class and good taste, putting Caridad in a class and an elegance difficult to find. She grew up looking like her photographs. She was also present in the month of April 1965 when she celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary. I was there wearing my first high heels and my hairdresser done hair. I was only 11 years old but I remember each moment of the event: the mass, the reception, a very Lima event, especially a Miraflores one. The much talked about 50th wedding anniversary was majestic and appeared in all the newspapers and local magazines. A famous radio and television broadcaster in the country made them a program on a popular television channel called: “This is your life!”

All the children, her own and those of her dead cousin Maite, were raised by Caridad as brothers and sisters, who did not ever feel any difference. On the contrary! She would never be the stepmother. She proposed to dedicate herself entirely to the children of Jose Ernesto Vallecillo´s first marriage. She felt their need for a lot of love because they had no live mother and she had come to this world to inherit this mission, a matter that would keep her extremely busy for the rest of her life, days full of responsibilities, activity, happiness and also much pain, worry and sorrow.

God never gives one more than can be tolerated. To Caridad God gave Maria Isabel – Chabelita – a wonderful sister, generous and good who, from visit to visit, would end up falling in love with one of the youngest brothers of Jose Ernesto, Tomas. Then my grandfather’s brother married my grandmother´s sister.. Two Vallecillo brothers married to two Letellier sisters.

Chabelita and Tomas were madly in love and made a nice couple that would have produced very handsome children, which they tried to do for ages and ages, but the good Chabelita could never get pregnant as they say in Lima. But God always provides, as each time that her sister Caridad brought a new child into the world she gave it to Chabelita to help her care for it. And that went on for a long time. From there would come the name of Mama-Aunt. Chabelita was the second mother of all grandma Caridad,,s children loving and consenting.

The eldest of Caridad´s children, Uncle Carlos Juan, who adored the Mama-Tia and spent his first infancy complete with her in the Chosica country house, a zone where there is a warm climate and the sun shines all the time, just one hour from Lima. The first born was adored by Chabelita; Caridad, happy seeing her loved sister happy in her role of aunt, was always very grateful for all her love and great help. What a blessing it was to have Chabelita as a sister! God knows why one sister was so prolific and the other unable to have children.

Jose Ernesto´s grandfather and Uncle Tomas were the two most important business associates; they had other lesser associates, but the head was Jose Ernesto Vallecillo, brilliant businessman and very good with numbers. Tomas was talented as the star salesman

Grandfather Jose Ernesto and Uncle Tomas were the two most important partners in the business; they had other lesser partners, but the head was Jose Ernesto Vallecillo, brilliant business man and superbly good with numbers. Tomas had the talent of being the star salesman, it was always said Tomas could sell sand to the Arabs in the desert and ice to Eskimos in Alaska. The two brothers formed a fabulous team, and with both their spirits for struggling, their ambition, their common sense and love for work and money, in a little time they began to collect the fruits of their efforts and before reaching fifty years old both became millionaires respected and admired among the businessmen in the city. The Grand Lord is Don Money, because where there is money, there are a lot of people behind you and all of them are used to having very bad memories.

Tomas and Chabelita lived in the same house as the grandfather during weekdays, an the weekends they went to their country house in Chosica. The Miraflores house was enormous, covering four blocks, with dozens of rooms and in it lived all the children as well as many servants. It was surrounded by well tended gardens, full of fruit trees and a vegetable garden for other crops.

Caridad and Chabelita shared the obligations of running the house. Mama-tan was the right hand of Grandma Caridad. There were so many things to do in the residence full of children and adolescents: Preparing menus every day and helping the cooks with the recipes for pastries; identifying the shirts, trousers and underwear of each child. Each under garment was embroidered with the name of the owner. One should not forget to mention that they also had to check the school homework daily from the schools, checking, reading, painting, playing the piano, cooking and embroidering.

In the kitchen, that was as large as one in a hotel, a menu was prepared every day, a very strong one, to feed practically an army: soups, entrees, salads, casseroles, main dishes and desserts. Eggs in the snow, lady-fingers, rice pudding, cornflour blancmange, mazamorra morada . All the tables were laid fully three times a day: for breakfast at 6.30 AM, lunch at 1.30 PM and for dinner at 7.30 PM; these closed down at 9.00 PM until the next day and everyone went to their own room at 10.00 PM when all the lights in the house were turned off. Everything was in that order, no changes allowed.

After meals, the two sisters sat down to chat and comment in a low voice about what had happened during the day, while embroidering sheets and towels, knitting baby clothes and quilts, embroidered underwear and at times darned socks invisibly. Sometimes they spoke in perfect French so that no-one would understand them; sometimes they spoke in a little Latin and Italian.

I do not know much about Mama-aunt Chabelita, except that one day when she was 42 years old a strong smell came from her stomach and waist and the gall bladder exploded because it had a stone the size of an orange in it. La Chabelita died that night in the early morning, nothing could save her. We all cried and mourned her death for a long time. She left some oil paintings that seemed to be painted by Renoir, painted very well and these got exhibited in Europe and the money received helped the old parents and their family. It was always commented on how generous Chabelita was, She was very altruistic and said that she greatly enjoyed giving things away. She made a long list of material things that were needed by those around her. She was equally generous with her time, listening to the problems of those who surrounded her.

When she was younger, a family member told me that I bore a close physical resemblance to Chabelita and that, furthermore, I had a personality very like hers, and above all had inherited the quality of being generous. That day I felt very flattered and happy, I could not remember having received at any other time words that delighted me so much. I wished that I had inherited a little of my grand-aunt´s taken her physical and spiritual beauty, her infinite goodness or the patience and understanding of my grandma Caridad. These women were saints. Human angels. All the sisters were very special, but undoubtedly Caidad and Chabelita were the most brilliant.



V



Caridad had four sisters, Chabelita who was the second, Camila the third who was married to an Englishman, an architect and had only one child, then came Carolina who was also married to a foreigner, but this one was Irish and they had many children. The youngest sister was Josefa, the only one of them who remained single, the aunt that everyone called Bebita so as not to call her a spinster; she was not beautiful, but she did have a singular grace, she was very likable, witty and amusing, happy and excitable. Always telling jokes She was another great help in raising the nephews and nieces.

Bebita was the aunt who spent hours reading tales and fables to the little ones in the family, since we were so numerous. A bagful of cousins and second cousins. It was Aunt Bebita who told us stories, and about what grandma Caridad had done when she was young. She was so good narrating tales that she would end up working for the most important radio station in Peru, telling tales to all the children in the country. Her program was heard in three regions: the Coast, the Sierra and the Jungle. Everywhere she was known as La Patita (the little duck). During a family get-together, where a lot of wine was drunk as well as lots of Pisco, she did not stop talking and told all us cousins meeting together, how grandma had been left at the altar a few months before she married widower Jose Ernesto. She still had her wedding gown, a really splendid pure white dress: an elegant Panamanian had wooed her for several months, but at the last moment, at the nuptial event he got cold feet because he was already going out with a young lady in his own city. As it finally turned out, poor Caridad had been left at the altar with hundreds of guests and with the “crespos hechos” (left at the aisle) as they say in Lima. Logically, Caridad´s parents were very relieved when the widower of a cousin, sad and taciturn Jose Ernesto Vallecillo approached them at church, with the surprising, but very convenient, proposal of marriage, although he was nothing more than a recent widower with little economic resources and an enormous family of children. At that time the petition for the hand of a recently abandoned bride would save the elder daughter from the horrors of spinsterhood. She was being talked about by all the gossips in Miraflores, it was 1915 and Lima had its scandal.

Aunt Bebita, completely drunk, repeated that Caridad must have been crazy to have agreed to marry an Andalusian , whom she would never have accepted. That is why she remained alone. Bebita, a rebel was too liberal and modern for the times. That night she began to tell how once her sister Camila the most beautiful of all the sisters, danced with he who would one day be King of England, Edward VIII, the brother of Elizabeth, and had appeared in a photograph on the first page of the newspaper, becoming the first Peruvian woman who had danced with the famous Prince of Wales – nothing more nor less . He who would never get to be King because he fell in love with an American commoner, the famous Wallis Simpson, who when looked at. some time afterwards, was found to bear a great similarity to grandmother´s sister.

It turned out that Wallis Simpson, in 1935, accompanied by her second husband, Ernest Simpson, met the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, at a friends´ dinner and there began a relationship that became every day more special and this gave rise to Wallis¨ divorce from her husband, to be able to marry the king of the United Kingdom. It was the scandal of the time. It was only one year before the Prince of Wales was to mount the throne when he decided to present her as his partner, to his parents, King George V and Queen Mary, at a gala party for the 25th anniversary of this reign and this unexpected companion of Edward´s did not please the monarchs, especially the father of the prince heir, for different reasons, such as being already married to another, and on top of that, she was an American plebeian.

In ¬¬1936 King Edward VIII announced that he wished to marry Wallis Simpson, whose position as an American, plebeian and divorced, would give rise to a severe dynastic crisis and which met with the opposition of the King and royal family, the British parliament and the Anglican church. After not finding a solution to this crisis, Edward VIII abdicated the crown to marry her. A few months before this abdication, Simpson decided to leave England to move to France, because she could no longer support the criticisms made against her and to take the personal decision to get married but not to him. One day in December of that year, conscious of her bad reputation, mortified by the continuous attacks of the royal family, parliament and the British press she decided to call him telephonically to convince her lover that once and for all their loving relationship was terminated, so that he could forget her absolutely and follow his duty to reign over his country, but it was too late because Edward VIII had just signed the act of abdication and could no longer take a step backwards. It was too late. This news left him with a strong impression and nothing was able to prevent his making this abdication effective. On that night of the same day, Wallis heard on the radio the famous speech of the King who announced his abdication of the crown and then explained the reason for his abdication in these words:

“You all know the reasons that have induced me to renounce the throne.
I wish to help you understand that, when making this resolution, I have not forgotten in any way the country or the Empire, to which , first as Prince of Wales and later as King, I have dedicated twenty-four years of service. But you should also believe me when I tell you that it has proved impossible to stand the heavy weight of the responsibility and to carry out my functions as King, in the form in which I would wish to do so, without the help of the woman I love. I wish, moreover, that you know that the decision has been mine and mine alone. It was a question which I had to judge and decide uniquely by myself. The other person affected directly has tried until the last moment to persuade me to the contrary.”

When hearing these famous words, Wallis would burst into disconsolate tears.

Behind the scenes ran strong rumors that Wallis Simpson in turn had a relationship outside and these rumors reached the ears of the abdicated king, who gave no credit to such rumors The information had been obtained through the British secret service.

Against winds and tides on¬¬¬¬ 3 June 1937 Wallis Simpson contracted matrimony with the Duke of Windsor, at Candé castle, near Tours, France, in the presence of some close friends and an aunt who had come from Baltimore, USA. By this union she automatically became the Duchess of Windsor, although never with the treatment of Your Royal Highness, due to the non-acceptance of same by the royal family of England. The married couple lived nearly all the time in France. Edward visited his family with his wife, but Wallis was never treated as “Your Royal Highness”, which always left her really mortified and annoyed the Duke of Windsor. In 1972, the death of Edward Vlll left her with a strong depression, and she lived alone and almost forgotten in her mansion in Paris until her death on 24 April 1986. She had by then reached 91 years of age. Her mortal remains were repatriated to England where the present Queen Elizabeth II showed signs of respect at a simple funeral ceremony and on this occasion she wore black. In addition to the Queen were the Prince Consort, Philip of Edinburgh, the Princess of Wales; others present were members of the Royal family, except for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who never hid her enmity towards the duchess. There were no photographers or television cameras at this strictly “private” religious ceremony, celebrated at St. George Chapel in Windsor. The Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of the Church of England, Robert Runcie blessed the simple oak coffin containing the remains of the Duchess of Windsor before being transferred to the family Pantheon at Frogmore. Now she is buried with her loved one, King Edward VIII in the Frogmore Cemetery, Berkshire. With this there ends the romantic story of the Duke of Windsor, a story that has always caught my attention.

This was as far as the story went, when Aunt Bebita returned to
change the theme and continued talking about the matrimony of her adored
little sister.

The opinion of the people never was of much interest to Jose Ernesto, on the other hand Caridad always said “It is no good being Cesar´s wife without showing it.” Both lived a life so reservedly Catholic and so close to the letter of all the Commandments on the tablets delivered to Moses, that calumny, false testimony, envy, lust, vanity, hate, selfishness, and all the lower passions, negative sentiments, sins, did not fit in their clean pure and crystalline souls. Caridad took the mission of wife, mother and stepmother savior very much to the letter of the law and her only escape were the poems she wrote in an exercise book and the diary she kept every day of her life.

Caridad really was one in a million, and Joe Ernesto did not realize yet the blessing he was receiving from the heavens. Full of talent that had been inherited from her genial father Juan Manuel, she also played the piano, could paint and design furniture; she was a great hostess, prepared the best banquets and carried out marvels in pastry-making. There are not many women who have been able to have such a special life. I am sure that she never knew boredom; pain, yes, also sadness, responsibility and concern. She knew ingratitude and loneliness, but boredom – never.
What Jose Ernesto undoubtedly sensed was that he had made a good choice in Caridad, he knew her for a long time and had observed her good qualities. Undoubtedly, Caridad was a great selection; calculated and at the same time desperate, a matter of great common sense. He was not in love with her, that was clear, he never wanted to love anyone as he had loved his Maite, but he admired Caridad and liked her, love would come later. Yes, he repeated mentally, love would come afterwards and if it did not, custom is much stronger than love. And he would get accustomed to it. To love a woman like that is not so difficult. One of the most outstanding qualities of Jose Ernesto was being practical and adaptable. A quality that would be inherited by his grand-daughter Maria Angeles.


VI

Belinda came into the world one sad day, and remained an orphan a few seconds after crying for the first time. Her mother, Winnie, Maria Angeles, the material grandmother, had a very weak heart, as well as being diabetic. Thus, on Belinda´s birthday in the month of March she celebrated the death of her mother. Belinda was the fifth of three sisters and two brothers. Belinda – the gringa – is the mother of Maria Angeles and daughter-in-law of Granma Caridad. Born in Texas, United States, in the middle of 1930. At the beginning of the 1950s she would meet Florencio, the younger son of Caridad, when he left Peru to study in a prestigious Texas university.

It is said that people do not die of sadness, but that is not so, because Oliver, Belinda´s father, cried and suffered so much after the death of his beloved young wife that one night, a few weeks later he suffered a massive heart attack and died without reaching 30 years of age. So Belinda was adopted by her aunt Mindy, who was the twin sister of her mother Winnie. It turned out that Belinda´s maternal grandmother had had three births and six children, since each birth had been of twins. Mindy could have no children and it was the sad destiny of her twin sister which made her decide to adopt her youngest daughter. Belinda´s other brothers and sisters were shared around and adopted by other family members. Belinda had four brothers and sisters but never lived with them. The two older sisters were adopted by the maternal grand-parents, since the paternal grandparents took no more notice of them at all. Poor Belinda grew up far away from her sisters whom she could only visit a couple of times in her adolescent life; her two brothers went to live at the house of another blood uncle in a frontier town off Mexico and she only saw them a couple of times. Despite being of the same blood all of them were unknown. Maria Angeles´ always lived hoping her sisters loved her and would accept her, but it was not to be.

When Belinda was 2 years old her adoptive mother became pregnant and gave birth to her only, greatly desired son. Mindy had tried to have a family for more than ten years. From this moment on, Belinda passed on to second place. The new baby, a long-wished for son Robert James Lee, would be everything to Mindy. Belinda would be converted from that day into a Cinderella. When she reached 5 years old, a day when Mindy was going through one of her attacks of bad temper and no patience as well as little love, she said to her “Don´t call me Mummy. From now on you must call me Auntie Mindy always, because I am not your mother. I am the twin sister of your mother who died the day you came into the world. You should not have been born.” The poor thing would cry for the rest of her life, tormented with a heart and soul in ashes, Belinda would grow up with a complex, very strong feeling of guilt, feeling she was guilty for the death of her parents, Aunty Mindy suffered from attacks of asthma and was a very cold and strict woman. Her son was the only person she was not strict with. Belinda adored her brother, really her first cousin, but to her he would always be her little brother, her adored little brother, who was also destined to die young and tragically.

Mindy´s husband was a quiet, timid man dominated by his wife; he was a good worker, but a drinker of beer. Belinda grew up in a home with a stepmother with a military personality and an alcoholic stepfather, her childhood was not easy. She never got any love from the mother and always felt like she was picked upon. At home she had to cook and clean, practically the aunt´s domestic maid, every day called upon for thanks for not having to go to an orphanage.

Belinda began to smoke at fourteen years of age, and would smoke
for the rest of her life. She would be a cry-baby, emotionally unstable. Her heart would be empty with a large space that nobody would fill . The emptiness that – I imagine – are the feelings of all orphans.






VII

At the beginning of the ‘50s Florencio, Caridad´s youngest son is sent o the US to follow a career as Civil Engineer, much against his will, but obediently. It was while studying that he met Belinda, the beautiful American girl of just 17 years old, and thus began the romance between the young Latin American boy and the Anglo Saxon girl.

Florence was a boy of 19 when he discovered that Belinda was expecting a baby. He called his mother who immediately decided that her son had to marry her and she flew to the United States to meet her future daughter-in-law. Belinda is not Catholic, so the grandmother, Caridad, decided to convert her to Catholicism. Within a few weeks Belinda was baptized, took her first communion, is confirmed and married in a small ceremony.

Belinda who is barely 17 years old, appears, in her wedding photo more like a child taking first communion, is confirmed, takes confession and is then married in a small ceremony. Belinda scarcely seventeen years old in her wedding photo looks more like a girl at First Communion. Six months later, after a rushed ceremony, Maria Angeles is born in a hospital near the University, where the young father studies. Florencio is 20 years older, Belinda is still only 17 years older than her first born. The birth is very moving. During the final months of her pregnancy, Belinda felt no movement at all in her body, the babe did not kick, and did not move, and she had been told that she probably had a dead baby. When the child was born it was completely purple and tied up in the umbilical chord, but the doctor resuscitated the babe and a baby girl gave a cry that appeared to be an angelical call. It was a miraculous moment, and it is then that they decided to call her Maria Angeles, also because this had been the name of her great grandmother, the mother of grandmother Caridad. Florencio cried like an emotional child, it was the first time that Belinda saw Florencio cry like a crazy person , the naughtiest and happy child of the Vallecillo – he was always very virile and strong.

Belinda felt a happiness she had never experienced before; she also felt a great responsibility. Caridad could not be present at the birth of the child everyone thought was dead. She had been present when they got married and she took over everything to do with organizing the birth of her grand-daughter, the little American, for whom she would have a special favoritism and devotion from the first day she took her in her arms. The tiny creature must have felt the great love of the grandmother because it was a marvelous relationship that the two women had. Never was there a grandmother so proud of her grand-daughter nor a grand-daughter more fascinated by her grandmother. Caridad and Maria Angeles, from the beginning, would be a very special duet. Still today, Maria Angeles talks about her granny as though she were still alive, in her life, and says that she visits her in her dreams, that at times she wakes up and smells the perfume of her granny in the bedroom, other times she has even felt her kiss her on the cheek and touch her head as she used to do when she was a child. Maria Angeles has never stopped feeling the spiritual presence of Caridad: she feels that she is her Guardian Angel, her protector; she feels that all the blessings she has received in her life are because her grandmother did so much good, and was such a saintly woman that now she receives the fruits of her labor.

Her parents lived in the United State until the mid-50’s, when her father finished his university career and she was little more than 2 years old. They transferred to Lima and received the little sister 16 months younger than Maria Angeles; Maria Pia is precious with light eyes, a lot of hair and a snub nose. She is pure laughter and Uncle Mario became mad about her, since he never could have children of his own.

When Belinda arrived in Lima she was just over 20 years old, a very attractive young woman with a sculpted body – more like a Hollywood star. Her blond hair caused a riot; she did not speak a word of Spanish. Although over the years she learned to speak Spanish, she never lost her accent, which made her interesting and sensual. She was thought to look like Marilyn Monroe and Kim Novak. Belinda feels that she gets a lot of attention not only from those she knows, but from all the people who are curious and look at her a lot, to which she is unaccustomed. In Texas she was just one American more, but in Lima she is a new gringo with good legs. She began to be aware of the cultural and social differences in a country like Peru. Her fair skin and beauty called attention, everyone knew her as “la gringa” and, fondly, began to call her “gringuita” .

During her first 13 years of marriage to Florencio, Belinda had the emotional support and economic protection of her mother-in-law, whom she affectionately calls Mamacita, the first word she learned to say in Spanish. Belinda is Caridad´s favorite daughter-in-law, the daughter she never had, and a great communion has existed between them from the beginning. Caridad with her heart of gold adopted her emotionally and became her mother from the day she first knew her and rescued her, she became Belinda´s great protector during the happy years, the few that Belinda knew. When Caridad was still alive, Belinda gave her a total of 6 grandchildren. Children who grew up together, happy in an environment of health, money and love with lovely memories of a very special and privileged childhood, with many family meetings with cousins and uncles and aunts, unforgettable events because in this family there are a lot of nice people who are cultured, creative, especially artistic. When her mother-in-law passed away her world crumbled and her marriage was destroyed.

While grandmother Caridad lived she was the matriarch of the family, the pillar that all clung to. Belinda, the gringa, has played the piano since she was a small child and she does it delighting everyone equally, just as Caridad´s papa used to do. His mother gave her a grand piano when she reached 25 years of age, and also paid for piano lessons for all the grandchildren, so that they could meet with everyone and play lovely melodies; some learned to play the violin, others the flute and still others the guitar. It is a very musical family and at meetings there is always singing, dancing and reciting of poems. What Belinda does not yet know is that other members of the family feel that she and her children have taken over Caridad´s love and that they will take over all her things on the day she dies; there is a lot of jealousy of the love and the favoritism she has for the foreigner, who they really do not like and whom they are going to destroy with their calumny.

CHAPTER VIII


Maria Angeles had always heard that the family had a distant relation in the nobility, but that it was better not to make a fuss about it. Granny Caridad and her sisters were of noble birth; one of their ancestors of great grand-mother Caridad married a duke who was related to the royal family of Spain. They had documents, relics and antiques to prove such nobility. The did not have any money yet, but did have their titles to the nobility and the coat-of-arms that was over the door of the house, and even a very large picture painted by a famous painter that hung in the living room. They were what is called “ruined aristrocrats”, although they had not lost their class, fineness and education nor the name. The family was always very well Received by the aristocratic and refined side of 1915 Lima, as in Madrid, Cadiz and San Sebastian.

From this far off and very antique parenthood, Caridad had inherited an object very carefully passed on from generation to generation, a relic; a necklace of diamonds, rubies and emeralds that was several centuries old when it reached her elegant neck in 1915 when she married Jose Ernesto. It was their wedding present from her parents for being the first born daughter. The fabulous necklace had passed from various great great great grand-mothers to great grandmothers to grandmother, mothers and grandchildren in Caridad´s family. Before dying Caridad took the hands of her favorite daughter-in-law, Belinda who was the last person to see her alive- and said to her: “My dear daughter, let no-one take this necklace”. She repeated the same words several times. “This necklace is for my grand-daughter Maria Angeles, do not let anybody take the necklace away from my ancestors.”

As though the wise old woman had a presentiment that the necklace would fall into foreign hands and that it would be taken from her favorite grand-daughter. Not two hours after she died, when her body was still warm, when “La Jacinta” a loyal maid and holder of the grand-mother´s keys for several decades, could not believe her incredulous and teary eyes. Some of the señores of the family, like hungry wolves violently began to search for the “patron Caridad´s treasures”, sacking like vandals all the belongings of the good lady who had just passed away.

Caridad Letellier was the owner of very fine objects: fur coats, fine handbags bearing great names, many valuable jewels, pearls, diamond brooches, rings, necklaces, as well as porcelain, some of which had belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte himself as well as other famous personages; many works of art, she had been one of the greatest art collectors of her generation. They say this happens in many families when the moment comes to share around the riches, the inheritance. Transformed by the greed and ambition, they became “zopilotos” birds of prey or whatever else you want to call the family members and those whom the grandmother´s death had given them the right to go sharing out what they undoubtedly felt they deserved- They could not respect a duel and waiting to have the testament read, That disappeared as though by magic that same night with other important documents and together with all the money that the old lady have saved in her private desk – several hundred thousand Soles, at that time.

Unfortunately, the will had never been notarized, because Granny Caridad never thought that she was going to die and even less, on the same day and at the same time as cousin Maite had died, more than fifty odd years before. Another coincidence among these incredible ones is that Jose Ernesto had two wives and both of them died on the same date at the same time.

Belinda would be horrified, indignant and furious and would talk obsessively about this for many, many years, of the shameful family in-laws with whom she would spend the rest of her days fighting, until she died in Lima. She could never meet with these family members without losing some of her geniality. Any meeting would end in disagreeable fights. I remember many of these arguments from the time Grandma Caridad died; the cousins talking and completely ignoring Maria Angeles. It would never be the same again, it was as though the death of the grandmother caused the family to collapse completely, the pillar that had supported it fell to pieces forever and the family would never ever become again the lovely and united family of Caridad´s days.

Belinda had a lot of qualities but she also had a lot of defects. Among these the worst was that she was terribly spiteful and vengeful. She never forgot anything. Decades could pass and she would continue to remember fights from a long time ago. By not overcoming this defect, she would pay a very high price; she would never know happiness again. Maria Angeles could never forget the transformation in her mother after the death of her grand-mother. Since then her mother never got along well with the rest of the family, not that is to say that they had ever got along that well, but at least with granny Caridad alive, there was always good behavior and bad words were swallowed as was the desire to finish by pulling someone´s hair. She always said, time and again, that her family in-law envied her because she was younger and more beautiful but what they most envied was the love and favoritism that Caridad demonstrated so that she and her children were always the most favored. Belinda was the adored daughter in law, her children the most spoilt grandchildren, creating a sphere of jealousy, lies, conflicts and rumors. Now, with the death of grandmother, the in-laws who never understood the mentality of foreigners, had declared war and let their true colors be shown.

Grandma Caridad, when alive, was extremely generous. Among her generous works of charity were various orphanages, homes for the aged, dining rooms for the poor, big donations for building churches and to buy the wooden banks for many Lima parishes. Hundreds of people came to her burial; in the first row were cousins, aunts and some grandchildren dressed in exactly the same clothes that Granny Caridad wore, with a hard face and showing no signs of shame, as though it was the most logical and normal thing; dressed in Granny Caridad´s fur coats, with grand-mother´s handbags, with her pearl necklaces, her earrings and her rings. It was incredible and in such bad taste. Although all wore dark glasses, none of them really cried and managed to seek others looking at and admiring the jewelry. – Vanity and greed. What ugly sins, so strong and so low. Brazen egoism. If I had not been present and someone just told me this I would not have been able to imagine such vanity. To this day I feel nausea and disgust that twist my guts. I think it happens in all wealthy families, it is part of human nature; greed, interest and love of money – damned money –blinds them.

I could not believe that their eyes could see it. She, Belinda, was deeply sad and unbalanced. Dressed in black with a hat with a black veil covering her pale and teary face, she was only just over 30 years old, she was still very young to lose her mother, because Caridad had been the only mother she had ever known and loved, her adoptive mother, her adored mother had left her the night before. She lost her natural mother the day she was born; 30 years later she was suffering an even greater hole in her heart and a sadness that would accompany her evermore because she would never stop missing Caridad, the most special being in her lifetime.

Belinda did not care about her mother-in-law´s jewelry, pearls and fur coats did not matter, nor did the material things that she had left, but she remembered her last words, could still , in her mind, hear the voice of the departed telling her not to let them take away the family necklace from her, the necklace that belonged to her daughter Maria Angeles. She had been told tales of similar cases in other families but for the first time she was the protagonist. She felt that the necklace was hidden in some house in the family and the fight would last a whole lifetime, until it became one of the reasons for her marital breakdown years later. From this moment on, there began horrible fights between Belinda and Florencio, the father of Maria Angeles, who did not like the confrontation with any of his brothers or family members, even though these were mistaken. Florencio was blind or simple and naturally straight forward and simply did not want to see, he would live always in denial, incapable of accepting reality. For him his family was special, was perfect and he always felt very proud of his name and of being the younger son. They were the Vallecillo Letellier, the neighborhood aristocrats, the best in Lima society.

After the burial, Mama Jacinta, the faithful employee of the house, approached Belinda and told her what had happened the night of madam Caridad´s death. How she had been thrown out of the house with ill treatment and humiliated with insults, and told that she had nothing to do with them at all. Jacinta was shattered. She had adored Caridad, but not only she adored her, but Caridad had also deposited her whole confidence in Jacinta, who was the boss´s right hand, but now she was homeless without a job after more than 50 years of service. Belinda told her that she could continue working for her in her house and she would always have a special place. That is how mama Jacinta went to work in her boss´s home, the wife of little Florencio, because she had raised a lot of Granny Caridad´s children, whom she loved as though they were her own children, the new boss who was from the United States and who was called “la gringa” and Maria Angela and her brothers and sisters became very happy to have mama Jacinta in their own home, because she was good and pampered them.

A week after Caridad was buried, the heirs. and there were a lot of them, were called together to hold a raffle and to share out the objects left in the house; really it was what remained after the massive robbery. In the raffle, Belinda and Caridad´s youngest, won a television, Caridad´s desk – very important to Belinda because it had been designed by Caridad herself and she had passed long hours in it collecting stamps, writing her poems and dramas among other things. Then they raffled the silver plate, sets of porcelain china and then the daily dinner ware. Belinda kept the daily crockery, which she still has to this day.

Each of the children got different objects, some more valuable than others, but as there was no testament hey decided to do it this way.

Grandmother´s properties were rented and the dividends were shared in equal parts in monthly quotas. When the raffle was over, it was obvious that a lot of things had still to be done: silver articles, pictures, jewelry, Grandma´s personal articles, especially the necklace of emeralds and rubies, the red and green necklace that Caridad , in her lifetime, had announced was to be for Belinda and was to be delivered to her grand-daughter the day of her majority or on her wedding day. The necklace was of enormous value, especially for whom she knew had really taken it with the excuse of being worthy of this piece for many reasons, which justified its robbery. The mother of Maria de los Angeles would weep for a long time for said necklace and would get furious each time she remembered the blessed necklace of her daughter´s great grand-parents.



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