Monday, 5 December 2011

Special memories


It was a long time ago, but I still remember that December 24, 1939. This date would mark my life forever.

Indeed, you have guessed, at present I am an 84 year old woman, but I am still very much that girl who I once was, and whose hopes were dashed when the Spanish Civil War was finished.

There were many boys and girls who after that terrible war were orphans, and in addition, Republican children like me. We were some kind of a stigma that had to be eradicated from our own homeland.

I was only 12 years old, and the thing I remember the most, was that I was being shipped to France and my only belongings were a small suitcase and my small bear "Pep".

During this whirlwind trip, I cried a lot because I felt terribly lonely, but just at a moment of despair I found a small friend called “Clara” who reassured me and encouraged me because it was obvious that our fate was similar. She liked my bear and I shared it with her.

When we arrived in France, it was Christmas day and suddenly we were going to be separated to an unpredictable destiny. I gave her my bear as a sign of my gratitude and I told her that it should always be with her because I was sure that someday we should find each other again.

I was sent to a French orphanage where luckily an adoptive family welcomed me and I lived lavishly with them, but I missed the affection of my birth parents, who unfortunately had died, and Clara, the little girl who had sweetened those bitter moments of our crossing. I could never forget her.

It was 60 years later, when destiny joined us together again in Valencia, on Christmas Day. It was due to an association which had kept alive the memory of all those who had been forced into exile, and held annual gatherings to reunite people.

I was encouraged to go, because I had kept alive the hope of one day seeing her again, and I did, she attended. She was an old woman like me but the intense brightness of her eyes had not changed despite the time that had elapsed.

She carried my teddy bear “Pep”. I approached her and I called her name, then we came together into a hug.

That Christmas Day was the most special day of my life, and now more than ever before, for me Christmas is a synonym of happiness.

Moral:   Hope is the last thing you should lose. 

Aida Fernández. B2+


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