(In our advanced class, we used the one-hundred pesetas note, with its engaging color and memorable portrait of Manuel de Falla, as an inspiration for a creative essay and trail down memory lane! Many students did a great job, but this was my absolute favorite. Thanks, Pilar! -- David Shea )
I can’t remember when I last had one hundred peseta-note in my hand. It is strange how quickly we forget things. Our mind is becoming increasingly selective when the time passes by and we mostly remember the highlights of our life and the nicest time. At the same time, we try to forget the bad memories –which is good, or things which haven’t really been so important. However, all of us have special memories which don’t seem so important but they probably have contributed considerably to our history and personality.
When I think of those hundred pesetas, I think of my family, all of us together on Sunday afternoons. My father had a small business and he had to count the money he had earned during the week and he had to sort out his bills and payments. My brothers, sisters and I gathered around my parents. The youngest would play while the eldest helped. I was very young and I didn’t know the real meaning of money. I didn’t know the value of one hundred pesetas, but I remember clearly the sensation I felt. It represented stability. I noticed my parents happiest when things run well and worried other times. I thought that my father was wealthy –he wasn’t, when I saw him with his one hundred peseta-notes. They were not really important to me, I was too young, but they now remind me how comfortable I felt in the warm atmosphere of my home knowing that everything was right.
Other memories about one hundred pesetas are even more remarkable. The same to other boys and girls I looked forward to Christmas every year. I lived that time with a huge excitement, from November –when it is my birthday, until the 6th of January. I spent Christmas waiting for Epiphany or Little Christmas. I performed in the Annunciation for several years. I loved to rehearse the presentation and I loved to do the performance in the main square of my village the 6th of January. After that, we went to my grandparent’s house. It was wonderful to meet all of my cousins and to play cheerfully with them. We knew that each of us was going to receive the special present of my grandmother: one hundred pesetas. She was such a wonderful person, so sympathetic, lovely and always willing to act with complicity with everyone. We loved her so much. But, we yearned to receive discreetly our note that day.
I hold my note, I saved it in my pocket and I didn’t really know what to do with my one hundred pesetas. But, I felt that I could eventually make some of my dreams come true. Maybe I could get a pretty doll to cradle tenderly. Maybe I could buy a new swimming costume – the old one got very small. Maybe I could get a new satchel, or a new pencil case - I loved the smell of those wooden cases. Lots of dreams. After a little while my mother asked us for our notes, she was afraid we would lose them. I didn’t see the note again. I spent the winter waiting for the good weather to go to the city to buy some of those things I had dreamt, but my mother always delayed it. Then, at Easter my mother bought us a new dress and shoes, but she didn’t buy me the pretty doll or the swimming-costume. Little by little I was forgetting my note. I was happy anyway. Things happened in the same way the following years. I looked forward to my note. I had new excitement and new dreams.
I realised years later that “those one hundred pesetas” were not real, they were just a dream. I was not disappointed with it, I was happy. I’m grateful to my mother and my grandmother who managed to maintain and feed my dreams without losing the view of the reality. I learnt to enjoy the small things of life, keeping my hopes and dreams at the same time. I realised much later that “it is not silly to have dreams, it is really silly not to have them”.