The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed my mom, Mery, who grew up in Lima, Peru with her grandma, mom, and siblings. It was 1976 when she six years old. Despite being the second oldest child of four kids, she often found herself doing most of the chores due to her attachment to her mom. This meant that she often had to help with chores at her grandma’s clandestine farm. This specific memory is important to her because it resulted in her fear of cows, scaring her from ever returning to the farm again as child.

Brigida held Mery’s tiny hand in one hand and three grocery bags in the other full of that week’s groceries as they walked down the dirt roads back home in the darkness. The dawn brought strong winds that tangled Mery’s dark colored pigtails together. Running her hand through her hair, Brigida spotted a truck in the distance, signaling them to walk faster.

“Are you ready to open up the gate for the truck when we get home baby?” she said, to which Mery nodded enthusiastically. Brigida didn’t mind having Mery open the gate to the farm so that the truck of cows could come in. It helped make the six-year old feel included all while keeping her at a distance from the adult activities. As a mom, she felt that it wasn’t the best idea for a young girl to be present while the farm workers butchered and milked the cows.

“Do you remember my one rule?” Brigida asked with a firm voice.

“Yes mommy!” yelled Mery. “When I open the gate, I’ll run back to my room and keep my window closed, I promise!”

“Good girl” she whispered. “What else?”

“And I won’t come out until the job is done!” she said. Brigida wasn’t exactly fond of the idea of her daughter accidentally seeing the cows being slaughtered.

“Exactly. It will only take me a second to put the groceries away.” said Brigida. She was reluctant to leave her at the gate alone but she had yet to disobey the rules. What was the worst thing that could have happened in two minutes?

She stood at the gate anxiously waiting to hear the engine of the truck. The loud moos of the cows began to ring in her ears. She slammed open the doors, anticipating them to be heavy in the wind. A loud bang on either side of the gates rang throughout the home when all of the fresh oranges came tumbling out of the grocery bags, distracting Brigida.

Mery knew she had to come back to her room but she so desperately wanted to see the cows. She wasn't allowed to see them cows because her mother was afraid of Mery developing a connection with them. Perhaps just this once she could look at them. They always looked so cute in pictures!

“Just this once…” she whispered to herself looking through the small holes in the gate, “just this once.”

“Moo!” cried the cows unbeknown to them that they were reaching their demise.

When the truck rushed forward, Mery came face to face with a cow. The cow looked at her with sad eyes which quickly turned to anger.

“It’s going to put its horns into me! It’s going to kill me!”

Mery’s screams echoed throughout the house when Brigida realized she made a mistake leaving her daughter alone. She dropped the oranges back onto the floor and rushed outside.

“What on earth are you doing! I said go inside!” yelled Brigida furiously.

“The cow scared me!” cried Mery as tears streamed down her face.

Moo!

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1976
Family Farm

I interviewed my mom, Mery, who grew up in Lima, Peru with her grandma, mom, and siblings. It was 1976 when she six years old. Despite being the second oldest child of four kids, she often found herself doing most of the chores due to her attachment to her mom. This meant that she often had to help with chores at her grandma’s clandestine farm. This specific memory is important to her because it resulted in her fear of cows, scaring her from ever returning to the farm again as child.

Tags: farm, childhood, fear
Decade: 1970s
Rating:
Recorded by Shannon on April 29, 2019
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