Squirrel was the nickname of a taxi driver we had hired to drive us to the most weird (or common) places to collect data as journalists working in Bilbao.
I never knew his real name. He was a short, thin and resolutive man. He used to have his taxi stationed in a stop near our building waiting for customers when he was not working for us.
I used to go to the stop to look for him when I needed a ride to go in a hurry to work in an ongoing news in some distant place, usually with a photographer who would take the pictures for the report or the interview at takes.
Once we went to make a report about the tuna fishermen of Bermeo. My boss sent me to do it precisely when all the fishermen were in the high seas fishing. Squirrel knew that. He knew almost everything. It was an impossible assignment. And my boss wanted a whole page written by me for that very night. It was his way to test me. I was a rocky then. Just nineteen. Taking my first steps in the job.
We went to Bermeo anyway. Squirrel helped me to talk with the women of the fishermen port (they spoke in Basque and very fast) and I got a good story about their way of life. That night, I was able to fill my page with a human interest article. Not precisely what my boss had ask for, but something that was worth it. Test passed.
This is the flag of the city of Kotor in one of the balconies of the main square. The city is a little jewel in one of the most beautiful bays of the Adriatic, the Kotor Bay, in Montenegro, just south of Croatia.
The city is completely fortified, and everything inside is baroque or medieval. It has plenty of history… and life. It’s my father’s home city and one of the most beloved places for me.
This post is going to be a little reiterating, but today’s prompt has remind me my recent visit to the house and atelier of the Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović in Zagreb.
There were beautiful sculptures in bronze and stone finished into the house along with furniture made by him, and also sketches and studies of pieces for larger monuments in the garden and the atelier. It was very interesting to see all this works of art and also to see the house in which he lived since 1920 till 1942, with his beautiful dinning room and his characteristic ceramic stoves.
In the picture, a study of a hand for a large statue and a sketch for a relief in the atelier
I have been recently in the atelier of the sculptor Ivan Meštrović in Zagreb (Croatia) which is now a museum. He has a great expressive strength in his sculptures in bronze and stone.
I was deeply impressed by the tenderness of the Pietà of the saint Mark’s church in the upper city of Zagreb, that you can see in the picture above.
After contemplating that, I went to the atelier were I saw sculptures very strong and angular, and among them, other very tender, always with the mother as a main figure, like the woman with her child, that you can see in the picture bellow.
My city keeps its ancient walls all around the old quarter, with its bastions, battlements, bulwarks, part of its moat, its beautiful citadel, even a gate with a wooden drawbridge which is still working.
Obviously, they no longer are used as a defence against the enemy, and around the city walls there are parks and green areas. When I was a kid I used to play knights and princesses over there with my brother and my sisters.
A stick as a sword and our imagination in such a scenery made wonders. We made up thousand of stories; each one more fantastic than the previous. We could play for hours and never get bored.
Now I don’t see so many children playing around the city walls the way we used to. Maybe knights and princesses and castles are not “cool” any more, or maybe is hard for kids to imagine adventures of the lost centuries outside a video game. Who knows!
Many years ago, I worked as an intern in a radio station making interviews and reporting about culture. I had to fill a space of three minutes with news about the music events in the city. One day I had prepared an interview with the conductor of an orchestra who was going to perform that evening the Brahms Symphony Number 3. But he failed me at the last moment. I was in a pickle! I had three minutes empty to fill with whatever.
I decided to search in the archive of the radio station the record of the Symphony and talk a little about it and about the orchestra, but the archive was very messy. Plus I have a kind of dyslexia, so instead of looking for the box with the label Brahms Symphony number 3, I was looking desperately for the label Symphony number 1.
The clock was ticking And I heard from the archive my boss on air saying: “…and in a few seconds our contributor Olga will tell us the lasts news about culture in our city”.
So I prayed with all my strength: dear God let me find the record! …And suddenly I saw it! The box with the label I was looking for: the Symphony Number 1.
I took it and went running to the studio, gave it to the technician and sit down next to my boss, ready to talk at the microphone. When I checked to my notes, I realized in dismay my mistake. But just then, the technician put on the record and the music that sounded was the Symphony number 3 . The one I needed. The record was inside the wrong box! . I had would never found it if I hadn’t made that mistake with the numbers.
I hate being negative, but purple reminds me to the dead, because is the colour of the funerals in the church.
I have too recent my mom’s funeral, with all the priests dressed in purple chasuble, singing songs about the everlasting life, in wich I firmly believe.
It was a very sad day, because is always hard to say good-bye. Above all when there is so much love involved.
Now her home is no longer a home, but a strange empty place. It was also a day of hope, because she went to a better life, stopped suffering and finally rested. And I’m sure she’s now with dad in heaven, wich was her biggest wish.
But we, down here, would like to have her more time, to hear her stories, laugh with her, feel her love for us, her children.
I have spent my last five years taking care of her since she had a stroke. I still getting up in the morning thinking: I have to go to take care of mom… And then the harsh truth strikes my mind like a hammer. I have no longer where to go.
Well, I have found places to go and things to do, but without mom.