Another Find From My Grandmother's TrunkThursday, February 25, 2010
When we Left for Mexico City from Buenos Aires in 1955 my grandmother gave me a small can of aluminum/silver paint and told me to put our initials on the heavy wooden trunks that had been in our family since the 1920s. For her trunk I was to put the initials DIG which stood for Dolores de Irureta Goyena. Through the years and after many moves the trunks are all gone but one. The one that remains still has my unsteady hand letters DIG and it is that trunk that I have been investigating these days. As we say in Spanish, “Cuando el diablo no tiene nada que hacer con el rabo espanta moscas.” This translates to, “When the devil is idle, with his tails he swats flies.” I have been idle with a persistent cough and rheumatism in my elbows and hands.
Yesterday I found the April envelope with the pictures of the Edwardian or early 20s Latin woman. Today I found the startingly modern (the crop and the angle) photograph of a mysterious undraped woman with her cat.
I am beginning to suspect that my grandfather Don Tirso de Irureta Goyena, a famous man of letters, a defender of the Spanish language and a prosperous lawyer who bought one of the first motorcars in Manila, might have also have had a hidden talent. Could he have been a good amateur photographer? I suspect he might have had an assistant in this venture as he had a Japanese driver. What other tasks did the man have besides driving my grandfather to work?
Why didn’t my grandmother throw these pictures away? At the time, in the late 1910s, they would have been scandalous. This envelope, with the pictures of the woman with the cat had the name Gani y el Gato (Gani and the cat). Who might have Gani been? I guess it will remain a mystery as those who were around at the time are all dead.
I wonder what tomorrow will bring as I examine the contents of my grandmother’s trunk.