An eventful time in my life


My family

The year I turned 12 years old is very fresh in my mind because there were several very significant events that occurred to me that year.

My brother and I were transferred to a new school to start sixth grade, the last grade of Elementary School. I didn’t know any kids in the new school and although I had always been an outgoing girl, having to make new friends turned me somewhat shy. Eventually the friends I did make have been lifelong friends until today.

That year I became suddenly ill and had to be rushed into a hospital with acute appendicitis. The appendix ruptured during surgery and I had to stay in the hospital for a week with high dose antibiotics. My mother brought me to the hospital a doll that I had played with for many years. I appreciated the gesture, but somebody else thought it was a very beautiful doll and it disappeared mysteriously.

My father’s parents and three of his younger siblings had remained in Spain after the Civil War. After the war my grandfather had great difficulty finding a suitable job that would allow him to support his family. Once my father had the means to do so in Mexico, he made arrangements to have his parents and siblings clear the immigration requirements to come to Mexico as Residents and to make the trip from Spain to Mexico by sea.

Once we knew when they were going to arrive to the port of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico, we — my parents, my brother and I — travelled by train from Mexico City to meet and welcome them. This was my first trip on a train, and I was very excited about the voyage, but mostly about meeting my grandparents. I had corresponded with them since I had learned how to write and I had seen pictures of them, but never met them.

The train trip was exciting by itself. We travelled by night and were able to sleep in the cabins. I remember waking up in the morning and watching out the window to discover a different panorama full of palm trees, banana trees, sugar cane and all the vegetation characteristic of the tropics. It was also my first time to see a big transatlantic boat on the dock. The greatest experience though was watching my grandparents, two aunts and one uncle, walk down the ramp and being able to embrace them for the first time. Everybody cried at least a little that time, even my grandfather and my father. My aunts and uncle and my brother and I were approximately the same age and became good friends and companions, going to school together and sharing weekends and vacations.

So, all of that happened to me in 1952, when I turned 12 years old.

Contributed by: Rosa Maria C. Dies

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