to my grand children: a letter from Opa Daddy or Grand-Pa

Opa Daddy remembering his chilhood to his first grand child, Tomas, 10 years of age


My Dearest Tomas, Maira Rose, Ben and May Malen.

You are so many, and every year another one turns up. Your parents are like rabbits! I don’t know if you understand what I mean by rabbits. Your parents will tell you more. But, this I can say: when I was a boy like Tomas, our parents bought a male and females rabbit, for us. We were so happy! We even baptized them naming the female rabbit Panchita and the male, Lautaro. The ceremony was performed in a family reunion. Ours parents wanted to laugh; however, when they realized that it was a very formal ritual, they respected us and behaved properly, being serious and proper. As I was the eldest son, I performed the role of being a priest, with a disguise made with carpets and veils taken away from my sisters. Two months later, they disappeared and, as we were very little children, looked around in all the yards that we had in our house of Santiago and even in the kitchen-garden that our Nanny used to cultivate for us to eat and, as she used to say: we have to save cash for Don Raúl, -our Father´s name an engineer- does not have to work that much. In fact, our father was always away, we were so many people in the house; our Mother did not work, despite having a degree in Mathematics and another one in Literature, that she had acquired at the Vatican Catholic University of Valparaíso, where she met our father, they fell for each other and, after graduation, they married, and had children: all of us…At the time, Ladies did not work; despite your great grandmother wanted to work to contribute with the expenses of our

household. Our Father used to say: I am the master of the house; I do not want people to believe that we are poor, as we are not, because you work. Sometimes the money was scarce, but your great grandfather knew very well what to do. We used to have a farm of 80 acres in the South of the Country, which was run by her mother, the source of all problems that have to be committed.

Back to Panchita and Lautaro: they had disappeared because they were making babies. In half a year, we had more than 30 new rabbits, which used to eat the kitchen garden of Griselda, our Nanny – there were others, but they do not make part of this story. Griselda was furious and soon enough begun to kill rabbits and we, to eat them up.

The first time, was a tragedy: we, children, did not eat with our parents, we had as special place with a lower table for us to have ours meals. One day, our lunch was a stew made with rabbit. As soon as we saw the shape of the meat, that another Nanny had tried to disguise, we soon reappeared what it was: Panchita! We made a big drama; we cried, left the table and went to the back yard to cry, all of us in mourning, with a solidarity which we had never had before. Father arrived, tells us off and said: they are animals to be eaten, till realizing that our sadness was a real one, seat up on his knees and tried as much as possible to deviate our feelings into another ideas. Your great grandfather was a good Father and knew very well how to calm us down. And she won, with stories of the horses that we had in our farm, El Pino, and how we would be able to ride the coming summer, as well as how we would build our little house in a bend of the road.  And so we did.

As for the rabbit, they were all sold to a neighbor whom improved his life by selling rabbits…

Some of you are very little, my Tomas will understand and, I’m more than sure shall explain this long story to his sister, Maira Rose. May Malen, we will have to wait, she is so little, but her parents will explain the story when the time comes. As for Ben, he has gone into eternity, hence, he knows of all these facts.

Tomas, Maira Rose your team of football Ajax and the special one of Maira Rose, Club Sport of Utrecht, knows how to match a good number of goals. Mine, Sporting Club Benfica, is behaving on the field much better than before: we are about to win an International Cup…

I wait for either a letter from you, or a long conversation via Skype on Sunday Morning. Same as I wait for Mays parents, Camila and Felix to buy earphones and talk with May Malen, your little cousin.

Say hi to Mama Paula and Father Cristan. Looking forward to Sunday, embraces you

Opa Daddy

Parede, 24th of September 24, 2010