(The above is a photo of my mother Amanda in 1929, in El Salvador)
This is my mother’s story, in her own words:
I have been on an off and on merry go rounds with my writings; well, I just have to get on it for real and DO IT!! I am over ninety years old and, having had my doctor’s report that “You couldn’t want for anything better,” I am on my knees to thank my blessings
Scenes of my life have been passing through my brain, like looking at a movie screen; they’re full of feelings and matters that I don’t quite understand. I must start at the beginning………
I was born in 1927. For two years my mother raised me. After that, my grandparents took over: Martina Maravilla and Hipolito Saenz, who lived in Usulután, El Salvador. Why did they have different last names? Naturally, they weren’t married. This was common in El Salvador, and still is.
I moved in with them when I was two years old. Something had happened in another town, but I was too young to understand. I started asking questions about my old home. Of course Grandmother Martina, whom I was supposed to call “Mamá Martina” didn’t have the time to answer them. I gathered the information from the servants who were always willing to gossip.
They told me that I had been born in Berlín, a small town a few miles away in the volcanic area of El Salvador. The name “Berlin” fascinated me. I wondered why, here in the smallest country of this hemisphere, there would be a town named the same as one in Europe.
Eventually I learned that Romilia, my mother, had brought me to Usulután, and Mamá Martina had taken over to raise me and my siblings, as well as the maids’ children, who became my constant companions and playmates.
The servants took over my care and life resumed, with its pace dictated by Mamá Martina.
They had two small homes joined together by the roof top. To me it was a delightful place to grow up in. To my young eyes, everything was perfect. Papa Polo’s rose garden was a dream grown with loving care. Every morning he sat among the roses and read the Bible, which may make you think the he would be heavy on religion, but it wasn’t so; he was a loving, caring man, of good manners and lots of knowledge.
There were many kids in the house, all of them the children of the poor women who had come to my grandmother for a bite to eat. They had their babies in her home. Then she hired them. I grew up with a crowd of children under our roof. Papa Polo took care of all of them. He hired a cook who followed his instructions; going to the public market and purchasing the foods for the menu of the day. There was a dining table which was prepared with so many settings for us children and Papa Polo. Martina never sat to eat with us; she ate on the run.
It was a good place to grow up in. But I was still curious: what had happened in that other town, the one they called Berlín?
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