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I Remember DOCUMENTS

The photos and documents below came out of some of the book groups for seniors that SPD facilitated in Spring of 2011. 

Thanks to the Marin County Free Library for collaborating with SPD by hosting three book groups this year and to the Marin Community Foundation for their generous support of SPD's "I Remember" Project to host book groups for seniors in Marin County. 

free library

Margaret Todd Center, Novato

Two classes took place at the Margaret Todd Center in Novato.  Below is a group photo of the larger class, which was made up of native Spanish speakers.  

  Margaret Todd Center Group

Although there wasn't an "offical" writing component to these groups, in this case one of the paticipants, Graciela Talamantes, brought in a letter she had written to her brother, a poet, back in 1996. This letter was so moving, and so perfectly captured the sorts of reflective, heartfelt conversations about life and family that took place in so many of these book groups (inspired and triggered by the SPD books they were reading) that we asked if we could have it translated and post both the original and the English versions here.  Enjoy!

 Graciela Talamantes's Letter to Her Brother  

 19/Feb/96

Querido hermano:

!Tú que escribes tan bonito!, escribe un poema a la bugambilia como homenaje a las mujeres que nos cuidaron de niños, unas ya partieron y otras andan por los rincones llorando sus penas; me refiero a mi abuelita, a mami, Rica, Bertha y Ani.

Un poema para aquella bugambilia que no he visto ni en los mejores jardínes, casi todas se recargan sobre las paredes o viejos muros; nuestra bugambilia creció erguida en medio del patio, no sembrada en la tierra si no en un largo arriate, sus ramas crecieron tanto que para damos sombra tuvieron que ser sostenidas con una red de alambres.

Nuestra bugambilla nos protegió y nos brindó tantas cosas, fué como la mano de Dios! Allí estaba y lo sabíamos y sin embargo, no la tomabamos en cuenta.

!Cuántos sueños, cuántas ilusiones en sus ramas recogió! Nuestras risas, cantos, alegrías y gritos en sus ramas quedaron prendidos! Tenía tantas flores que eran como besos y suspiros hacia el cielo lanzados.

!Cuántos recuerdos se formaron bajo aquella bugambilia! Héctor era apenas un niño que empezaba a pedalear su triciclo cuando mi abuelita junto con mi abuelito con mucho amor sembraron aquella bugambilia que creció y creció cada vez que la familia crecía.

Recuerdo que yo era apenas una niñita y bajo aquella bugambilia ví a Gerardo corer en lugar de dar sus primeros pasos y cuando ya era un niño más grande muy preocupado le dijo a mi abuelita que cuando el muriera no iba a poder ir al cielo pues se iba a quedar atorado en la bugambila!

!Ay! Aquella bugambilia fué parte de nuestros juegos de niños, con sus flores hacíamos "agua de jamaica" o cubríamos la tina de flores y pretendíamos que estábamos nadndo en el "Ruiz Galindo" en la alberca de gardenias!

!Aquella bugambilia escuchó nuestros suspiros de amor cuando de adolescents cada uno de nosotros se fué enamorando!

También cada día al regresar de la escuela nos esperaba y para expresamos su alegría cubría el patio de flores como un tapete que se tiende a la llegada de un rey, pero Ani apurada tenía que barrer a cada momento antes de que mami llegara y no se fuera a enojar, pues supuestamente el patio estaba sucio.

Estoy segura que cada uno de nosotros tiene muchos recuerdos e historias que contra sobre aquella bugambilia que nos vió nacer.

Alfredo, hermanito, escribe un poema que como aquella bugambilia sea alegre, leeno de colorido, con muchos besos y flores para que se los transmita a mis nietos como un recuerdo de la abuela que también fué niña, creció y envejeció como Dios lo manda! Y ahora al igual que sus hermanas son como flores secas esparcidas al viento.

Tu hermana que te quiere mucho

Chela

 

English Version (Translated by Hugo Garciá Manríquez)

19/Feb/96

Dear brother,

Since you write so beautifully!, write a poem for the bougainvillea as an homage to the women who took care of us when we were little. Some are long gone and some wander in the corners crying their sorrows. I am talking about grandma, mommy, Rica, Bertha and Ani.

A poem for that bougainvillea the likes of which I haven't seen in even the best gardens, where almost all of them crawl or lean on fences or old walls. But our bougainvillea grew straight up in the center of the patio, not planted in the ground but in a long flowerbed, and its branches grew so much that in order to provide shade they had to be held up with a net of wire.

Our bougainvillea protected us and gave us so many things. It was God's hand! There it was and we knew it, and nevertheless we ignored it.

So many dreams, so many illusions were caught in its branches! Our laughter, songs, joys and shouts were hung from its branches. It had so many flowers, like kisses and sighs sent up to the sky.

So many memories formed beneath that bougainvillea! Hector was just a little boy starting to peddle his tricycle when grandma and grandpa planted that bougainvillea with so much love, and it grew and grew every time the family grew.

I remember, when I was just a little girl, I saw Gerardo run under the bougainvillea instead of taking his first steps, and when he was a little older he was very concerned and told grandma that when he died he would not be able to go to heaven because he would get stuck in the bougainvillea!

Oh! That bougainvillea was part of our childhood games: with its flowers we would make "hibiscus tea," or we would fill the bathtub with flowers and pretend to be swimming at the "Ruiz Galindo" gardenia pool!

That bougainvillea heard our sighs of love when, as adolescents, each one of us started to fall in love!

Also every day after school it would be waiting for us. To express its happiness it would cover the patio with flowers like a carpet to welcome a king. But Ani had to sweep swiftly all the time before mommy came home. Otherwise she would get mad, because she said the patio was dirty.
I am sure every one of us has many memories and stories to tell about that bougainvillea that saw us grow.

Alfredo, dear brother, write a poem as happy as the bougainvillea, full of color, with kisses and flowers to pass on to my grandchildren as a memory of the grandmother who was also a little girl, who grew up and got older as God commands! And now she and her sisters are like dried flowers scattered in the winds!

Your sister who loves you so much,

Chela

"I Remember" Project Made Possible By

Marin Community Foundation

 

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