My short memoir, The Fabulously Fantastic Alfa Romeo, is on Amazon Kindle. It’s a fun read about the adventures I had with a car I purchased in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1981.What happens after I am denounced by the Guardia Civil?! Lol. It will be FREE on the 21st and 22nd of September.
“At least my tan is real. I’m sure that Jane’s comes out of a bottle. She’s simply too dark in places. ” Lanny licked her lips as she scoffed down more of the luscious – looking red cherries. “My husband has a university degree. I’m almost certain that most of these other husbands don’t. Maybe that’s why they’re always having barbecues together and why they never invite us.”
“Do you have a university degree?”
“I beg your pardon, what did you say?” Lanny shifted in the chaise lounge. “Oh, not really. I mean, I did study, but I never quite finished.”
“I guess it was too boring.”
“Exactly! I met David, he got a good job, then an even better job. And now we’re here, in Spain. He’ll get a promotion when we go home. There’s really no need for me to have a university degree.”
I left Lanny’s and sauntered a few blocks to Jean Pierre’s house. Already some 20 people were sitting around the pool, smoking, listening to the hi fi. I spied Jane chatting animatedly to someone who obviously could not have been her husband for, any time he was around, she would sit quietly, her head down. I couldn’t help but stare at her mouth, to check out the lip liner that Lanny disliked so much. It did accentuate her lips, made them look as if she were pouting, and somehow she appeared pretty, in a handsome way. The man she was with looked up and called out, ””What’s Jean Pierre up to?!” I recognized him. He was the Yugoslavian who had just arrived in Spain to work for Westinghouse. My husband had introduced me to him. He certainly had brought Jane out of her shell for she was giggling as she sipped on wine, her eyes sparkling in merriment. The power of strangers to soothe the soul. He spoke congenially, his large mouth opening widely as he carefully pronounced the words in English. His eyebrows met in the middle, right above his large nose, and this, together with his long hair gave him the appearance of a shaggy dog looking for affection. He inhaled his Benson and Hedges cigarette and tapped the ash into the plastic ashtray.
“He’s got a new toy, that’s all. Heck, he left his wife of 20 years for the young Spanish girl. He likes new things.” The Swede from Malmo spoke as if he were reciting the weather forecast from some American t.v. Station.
Jean Pierre puffed intensely on a Marlboro cigarette as he showed off his brand new camcorder. He struggled with the clumsy machine and hoisted it onto his shoulder, then yelled out, “Look natural!” We immediately stopped what we were doing, and became like images frozen in time. He grunted, groaned loudly, then muttered, “How does this damn thing work?!” He waved his hands at us as if directing an orchestra. “Got it! Pretend I’m not here!” Then he walked around the edge of his swimming pool pointing the camcorder at everyone.
During the years that I lived in Spain I think many were the occasions that I jumped to conclusions. Jumping to conclusions, or assuming things, can certainly cause one’s life to become both colourful and full of adventure.
When I first moved to the Province of Cadiz, Spain in 1972, at the ripe old age of 23, I assumed that I’d go back home after possibly one year. Although I didn’t have a job to go to, I had been assured that something would turn up, especially at the local bilingual school. I guess at the back of my mind I had the vision of possibly spending a school year in Spain, but not longer. Regardless of how long I’d remain in Spain I did assume that at one point I’d go back to Scotland and continue teaching there.
How wrong was I?! I ended up staying for four years in Cadiz. Not only that, I married, had a child and moved to Virginia. I subsequently returned to Spain in 1980 where I lived for yet another 4 years.
I knew very little about the person who had offered to put me up when I first arrived in Spain. A colleague of mine had friends who knew this person. Since my colleague and her friends were all teachers, I simply assumed that the kind person who was willing to let me stay with her for a few days was also a teacher. It didn’t occur to me to ask questions. I was actually too excited about moving to Spain to even consider that what I was doing was possibly just plain daft. I did get frowned upon a lot when I gave up my secure position as a Primary School Teacher. People even warned me about Franco, about gypsies, etcetera. Many things crossed my mind as I made my decision to leave Scotland and jazz off to Spain, but I simply didn’t consider the possibility that the person with whom I was going to live was a prostitute. Ha ha. Surprise! Although I had jumped to the conclusion that she would be a schoolteacher, everything did work out well. It was very kind of her to allow me, a complete stranger, to move in with her until I found other accommodation.
When I lived with two teachers from the bilingual school where I managed to get a position, I just assumed that I could leave a container of yoghort on the windowsill in the kitchen. That’s what I had done in Scotland and there had never been a problem. Absolutely not. However, no wonder my roommate stared at me in disbelief. I think I appalled her completely. Nobody in their right mind would leave a yoghort on a windowsill in Southern Spain, certainly not when the temperatures are in the 80’s. You can well imagine the stench of putrid yoghourt that I caused.
Years later, when I was living in Miami Playa, Tarragona I assumed I had remembered correctly the Spanish word for chickenpox. I had recently looked it up in a huge, heavy dictionary with the tiniest of print. When I told the new neighbors that our son had chickenpox I used the word ‘viruela‘. They became so upset spluttering how terrible, how awful, then fled inside their house and closed their windows. Oh my! Surely chickenpox wasn’t all that bad of a disease? I later discovered my error. Smarty pants me who prided herself in her good Spanish had got mixed up. The word for chickenpox is actually ‘varicela‘. And just what does ‘viruela‘ mean? It means smallpox! No wonder the neighbors were so perturbed.
From assuming the fire that was burning way far away in the distance couldn’t possibly reach our house to assuming there would be running water after I lathered up in the shower, this jumping to conclusions had me jumping up and down so many times.
We used to attend bullfights when we lived in Spain. This was in no way an affirmation of the sanctity of the bullfight which, for all practical purposes, involves the torture and killing of innocent animals. It was, rather, a way to try to understand Spanish culture.
One bullfighter at the time was called Paquirri. He eventually met his doom when he was gored by a bull in 1984. Guess what? His son, Francisco Rivera Ordonez, also a bullfighter, was recently gored by bull. Fran, as he’s called, is a handsome fellow who was interviewed a few years ago by Sixty Minutes. He was married to the daughter of the Duchess of Alba, by the way.
Anyway, Fran just a few days ago met the same fate as his father. He got gored by a bull. Now, thankfully, this young man is still alive. His present wife is about to give birth, and wouldn’t it be awful if he died and the child grew up without a father? Well, this happened to another of Paquirri’s sons who was just a baby when his father was killed by a bull. At the time Paquirri was married to Isabel Pantoja.
Don’t you think it’s time to leave the bulls alone? I do. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idAuXGO-PUI
Thank you to everyone who has read my memoir and short stories. I have now updated quite substantially my memoir. I deleted most of the grammar sections and have added my experiences with a nursery school and the local public school in Talavera de la Reina. I also have added in a new section at the very end of the memoir which deals with Salou, Tarragona in the early eighties.
Thank you again. I think you can download for free these new updates. I did contact Amazon and asked them to let you know about the updates.
My debut memoir, Aventuras in Spain – a memoir of Spain in the 70’s and 80’s will be FREE on Amazon starting tomorrow, the 23rd of May, for five days. This is the first of the series. It was fun writing it, and I hope you have fun reading it!
Managed to upload my prequel to Amazon. Here’s the problem, however. The format on the preview was terrible! Everything looked fine on my word document, but the spacing was jumbled up on the Kindle version. Took hours to correct it. I’m sure there’s an easier way! I hope to find a better way, or to hire someone to upload my upcoming memoir which is much longer than the prequel.