Nov 25: Juan, Rosa’s partner, has created a webpage for her: De vez en cuento – Odas – Rosa
On Goodbyes – third and last story I can find in her blog for us. (Nov 6)
A Little of My Life: High School, a New World
Before starting high school I had been in a nun school. Unlike other nuns, these did not wear a habit and dressed like laywomen. However, I’m not sure I should say this showed they were progressist.
In the year 1974 I was doing “Cou” — a pre-university year — at the Padre Juan de Mariana high school in Talavera de la Reina. I don’t know why, perhaps because it was a new school, but the fact was that a great deal of young teachers with progressist ideas were posted there. So you can imagine the kind of teachers they were, they used to take us to the cinema and the theatre in Madrid! They would take us to the arthouse cinemas. I think that’s when I saw Buñuel’s film Belle d’jour. They told us about the Greek, homosexuality in the Ancient world. It’s hard to believe that after so many years, homosexuality remains a taboo.
That year was the first year there was “Cou” because before that it was called “Preu”. Getting to high school was, for me, discovering a completely new world. And the most important discovery were the teachers — they enjoyed teaching! Their aim was to awaken in us, their students, a passion for learning. I must mention María María Jesús Sandoval Alonso, my Greek teacher, who also helped us with other subjects, like English or Maths. She was a True Teacher. She also told us about the meaning of the bombing attack that killed Carrero Blanco [during the Franquist dictatorship]. When the bombing took place, those of us who had chosen Greek as an optional subject were in class with her. I think Elena Colilla was in that small group, and Santiago Manzano, Inmaculada Chinchón (“Macu”) and Virginia Gil. With this teacher we also learned about Cat Stevens’s music — actually, his parents or grandparents were originally from Greece!
I am telling you about all of this because I’m going to tell you a story: why I travelled to London in the year 1975. It was in high school where I developed the need to learn about other worlds!
Why I travelled to London
Why did I travel to London? Perhpas it was simply because I had a passion for adventure and because, as I said in my previous post, high school got me interested in learning about the world. It developed in me the passion of learning!
I had no need of leaving my parents’ house because they gave their children all the freedom they could dream of. I never had to ask for permission to go on school excursions. We never had to ask May I…? Am I allowed to…? But most of our classmates had to. They were never allowed to do anything. I never had any problem with my parents in this respect — they were very open-minded. When I finished “Cou” I told them I wanted to travel to London to learn English. They didn’t oppose — they even encouraged me to leave! However, they could not help me financially. They gave me a thousand pesetas [about 6 euros now] in case I needed to make an emergency call [calls were very expensive then]. Calls were through operators back then.
I remember that in that summer of 1975 there was a murderer in London who, if I remember correctly, had killed three young nurses. Just imagine my poor parents: I was there, on my own, and so young! The more I think about it, the more I realize my parents were ahead of their times.
My brother had also a passion for adventure. Just before his call up, he decided to join the Legion. He probably learnt more and met more interesting people there than if he had done his ordinary military service like most other young men.
In those times, when a young woman wanted to learn English, the usual was to look for a job as an au-pair. In this way, she would have a job looking after children and live with a family, which meant, you would have a house to live in, and the chance to learn English. The truth was different. In most cases, the foreign student did a lot of cleaning and very little speaking. I never managed to get myself to apply for such a job. I needed freedom and independence. The only job I did that could be similar to that one in some way was looking after a dog, a Mr. Paddington! It was not a job, really — it was a gift! Mr. Paddignton’s owners were what years later would be called “yuppies” (Young Executives). I lived in a luxurious flat, very close to the Spanish Embassy, in Belgravia, number 3 Eaton Place.
The best way to find a job was at the language school you went to, because those places were full of ads. It was there where I learnt about this Japanese woman who was going back home and leaving this amazing job of looking after Mr. Paddington!
If you met Rosa, you can leave a message here: http://www.rememori.com/644197:rosa_maria_gonzalez_colilla
Rosa travelled the world… Some pics: Africa, Asia, America…
The email I posted a few hours ago: Rosa González Colilla – Nov 5, 2013
The stories will be published in a project we had/have: