Eusebio and Maria are a wonderful couple who lived most of their lives in the Extremadura area of Andalucia. Maria worked as a teacher and Eusebio was a veterinarian. After offering me a cold drink and a huge platter of bread, Iberic cheese, and chorizo sausage, they told me of their experiences during the dictatorship of Franco.
Eusebio could remember soldiers entering his small village towards the end of the Spanish Civil War. He remembered the hunger that was unavoidable in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. What stood out most for me during this interview was when Eusebio spoke of an incident in which a few children in their early teens were killed publicly for violating a law, most likely stealing food or being involved with the black market. While recounting this memory, Eusebio began to weep softly, repeating over and over again how young they were to have lost their lives in such a way.
Maria gave me a different perspective on this time period. As a teacher starting in the 1950’s, she had to deal with extreme censorship of teachers. The Regime was especially concerned about leftist propaganda that could send Spain back into Civil War. Because of this, Maria had to deal with an added level of fear as teachers found “promoting” leftist ideals would face imprisonment and possibly torture.
This amazing couple not only were able to tell me about their experiences in another part of Southern Spain, but they also shared there home with me in a way that I will never forget. They were so excited to have the chance to talk to me and I really appreciated their openness.
I would like to apologize for the month long absence. The first week of July, I went to Sanlúcar de Barrameda to continue my research. My acces to Internet was extremely limited and when I did have it, I used it to email my family. That said, I have so much to update everyone on. Sanlúcar was a great success. The focus of my research definitely went in a different direction than I had expected but I learned some amazing things. I did 18 interviews and spend two weeks working intensively in the archives at the Ayuntamiento in Sanlúcar. Over the next week or two I hope to share some of what I discovered in my interviews and during my time researching at the archives. Enjoy this photo of beautiful Sanlúcar!
It has been a while since my last post (although my feature in CMC Currents got me a record high of 50 views yesterday!) and it is time for an update. I have been having internet issues so I can´t share any photos right now unfortunately. I went to the beach town of Sanlúcar de la Barrameda last weekend to escape the 100+ weather in Seville with my host family and left not only with a terrible sun burn, but also with three interviews set up for when i return next week. I interviewed a nice man today, Pepe, who gave me some interesting insight into the occurance of some families pushing their children into the priesthood or into a convent when the family could not feed the children. Interesting stuff! More soon, un besito!
On Friday I had my first interview! This interview was with one of my host mom’s closest friends, Reyes, and it went extremely well. She gave me a very clear perspective onto how non-radical conservative lived during the post-civil war years.
This week I am planning on going to a few retirement homes to find some more people to interview. My host sister says that this would be a great idea as she frequently goes to retirement homes for various psych studies and always gets a great response from the people she uses as subjects.
I have my first interview scheduled for tomorrow at 11:30. I’m feeling prepared as I have written out a bunch of questions, bought lots of extra batteries for my recorder, and I have all my release forms printed. I also will be using my iphone as a back up recorder as my biggest fear right now is that I will finish an interview and find that my recorder (or more likely my operating skills) malfunctioned.
I will be sure to write about how it went and maybe post a photo or two so check back soon for an update! I want to thank everyone for keeping up on my blog. I have gotten so many views and some really nice comments (excluding whoever commented about the paella that gave me food poisoning during my trip to Granada haha).
I have exciting news! After reading a few articles by the same Professor at the University of Granada, I decided to reach out to him by email and see if he had any information for me. He responded to me in mere minutes, telling me that he is writing a book about some similar topics and that he has a lot of information to send my way, including leads for interviews in a small town outside of Granada.
I am so excited about this because, while I have two interviews secured here in Sevilla, I am not totally confident in what I can find out from them as far as first hand experience. This professor will also be great for providing me with reliable background information on the cultural and socioeconomic factors that were affecting Andalusia during los Años del Hambre (1939-1951).
I’ll update again soon, maybe with news about a trip to Granada!