Filomena's BunFriday, July 11, 2014
My early childhood revolved around my mother Filomena and my father George whom I both loved. My mother was feminine but not considered the beauty of the family. Her younger sister Dolores (Dolly) was the one. My father was a thin man who resembled David Niven and had the same voice timbre and a similar English accent. My father spoke English like his father who had been born in Manchester.
But it is most obvious that men get up, shave and that’s it. I have no memory of my father shaving or trimming his moustache. I remember his tweeds, and the smell of Player’s cigarettes and the whiskey which he liked so much.
I remember days of being in bed and singing along with him.
But there is more of my mother in my memory. Somehow, perhaps because my room was in the living room I saw more of what my mother did to get read for work. One year, I may have been 8 or 9 I was sent to the camp (the country) during the hot month of January. When I came back my father had fixed up a room that had only access by an outside stairs. It was next to the room where our housekeeper Mercedes lived with her sister Enilse (who worked at Nearby Nestlé and often brought chocolates home). My father had snipped pictures from the child’s magazine Billiken and stuck them together in a long row around the three walls of my room. This was my first room.
I still remember being on or in bed and watching my mother in front of a mirror attempting to wrap her very long and straight her around a fake bun which she then attached behind her head. This hairdo was much in vogue as Evita wore it too.
I remember that there were days when she grew frustrated doing this telling me, “Mi pelo es tan lacio,” “My hair is so straight.” And she would in a fury pull her hair from the bun to start again. To check her results she would turn her head in front of the mirror and then she would lift her antique (antique even then) Sterling silver hand mirror.
Today I went to the garden and had and idea. I was going to scan Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’ (an English Rose named after Gertrude Jekyll’s garden in Surrey, England) and hold her mirror behind it. I could not hold the mirror perfectly still. If I let it lean on the rose it would have squashed the petals.
I like the result. It was only then that the picture reminded me of my mother looking at her hair bun with the mirror.