Writing a blog during the last few months when Martha was correcting the manuscript did not seem to have very informative material. She was learning more about grammar than stories about Càlig. Carmen Julia had red inked the manuscript for Martha to plow through. She was very conscientious and did a thorough job. Sometimes Martha had to decide when to leave a word or phrase because it pertained to Spain and not to Mexico. For example, in Spain the term for left is las izquierdas and in Mexico it appears to be la izquierda. Maybe Spain has more diversity on its left.
In the first chapter in one of the stories told by Amalia Tomás Ortí, aka La Beata, she tells how her family got the apodo Beata. Carmen questioned the use of Beata as an apodo. Perhaps in Mexico Beata would not be an apodo, which can be translated as a nickname or a name that identifies a family usually referring to something that happened in the past. In Càlig they sometimes say it is a mal nombre, or bad name. La abuela beata in the story told by her great granddaughter was very pious, always praying. She had just butchered a pig, which the neighbors were anxious to share, but she was more willing to give the meat to the angels than to her neighbors or grandson. The angels turned out to be two neighborhood boys, who, according to the story, came down the chimney in a basket and filled it with all kinds of sausages. Then they pulled it back up and much to the beata’s shame, mooned her. According to Dr. Salvador García, who was also present when I taped and videoed this story, it has ancient roots in the Iberian Peninsula.
Another participant in the Càlig Oral History Project is Margaret Blue, who has a very sharp eye for misspelled words and missing punctuation. Since I first wrote a piece in English on the Collective in Càlig, she has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Project. Marge is also enchanted with the stories and the people Martha interviewed. When Martha would get discouraged with correcting and revising, she would say that the stories should be known.
E.A. “Tony” Mares, historian and poet, enjoys reading about the reaction of people in Càlig to the Revolution and the Civil War. Tony is fluent in Spanish and voices no problem with Martha’s Spanish. He hopes to refer to some of the stories in his poetry about the Spanish Civil War.
Rena Yufera, who lives in Toulouse, France, and whose parents and grandparents were from Spain, has read the manuscript and given suggestions. When she finished the last chapter on the Collective of Càlig, she said it made her feel proud of her ancestry. Rena believes that the book would be very useful for university students in Spain (and Toulouse where many Spanish descendants live).
Mike Connealy of Albuquerque has also been a reader as the chapters unfolded. He liked reading about people in an agricultural village and their reactions to their world in the twenties and thirties. His suggestions were always right on the mark. A few weeks ago he put to use another of his talents, photography, to shoot a picture of Martha for the Albuquerque Journal. He also videoed the talk at the NHCC for the Resolana series.
One day Martha, very discouraged with revising and correcting, mentioned to Joanna Salinas that she would like to burn everything, Joanna replied: “Call me first.” Martha hasn’t had to call her yet.