(TRIBUTE FROM A STUDENT TO TEACHER DOÑA CARMEN GUERRERO ALFARO)
By Israel Box
One month after his death
“The legacy of Doña Carmen Guerrero is the great triumph of the marginalized children, those of us who ate the Bollycao alone in a corner of the patio”.
I never liked phones. They are like a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the neighbors who ask for parsley or those gentlemen who try to rip you off by changing the butane rubber. A bell rings and suddenly you are chatting with a stranger who has sneaked into your house. That tedious summer afternoon on Saturday my mobile phone did not give up on its pounding vibration. The WhatsApp notifications alarm hit my ears with its impertinent song. If there was something good about that singsong, it was that it silenced the words of the absurd script that, lacking any hint of feeling, recited the characters of the mediocre German telefilm “Based on Real Facts” on the other side of the TV screen. I had two options. Attending the phone before his screen kissed the ground in one of those abrupt vibrations or let the German actress of the telefilm discovered that it was actually the nanny who was poisoning the food in order to steal from her husband and children. the German will wake up! It had taken me only ten minutes to discover that the nanny was guilty, if she was going to need an hour and a half it was her problem. I took the phone from the table and clicked the “open messages” option.
“Doña Carmen Guerrero has left us”
The blue genius that lives in a magic lamp inside my head was dressed in blond wig and flight attendant uniform and with a mechanical voice began to recite:
– Dín, Don, Dín! Thank you for choosing “Carpet Magic” airlines to travel to your childhood memories. The Captain informs him that there is about to be a frontal clash between his feelings and the cold reality. Your lifejacket is located under your seat and oxygen masks will fall out of the compartment above your head.
Tears on a 5, 2-inch touch screen. I guess it’s the price you have to pay for living life 2.0.
Before the two blue ticks appeared on the white balloon that wrapped that sad , my tongue rose to the veil of the palate without touching it. My lips advanced forming a small circular opening between the separation of the teeth, making a single word emanate from my mouth. A word that mixed, did not stir, with the salt water that emanated from my eyes. A word that may sound strange, extravagant and frightening. Perhaps, if he had pronounced it with ease it would have sounded harmonious ….
Wait a moment, Israel. Let’s see if we clarify: They just communicated that Doña Carmen Guerrero, one of the people you’ve loved the most and who has most influenced your life, has left and … is that absurd word only coming to your mind?
Yes. And I repeat it again:
And again, because not a single word comes to my lips without being first in my heart:
I can even pronounce it backwards, it’s a bit more difficult, but …
A moment, a moment … is that all you have to say? Has your brain softened by the extreme summer temperatures? The endless marathons of series on Netflix have clouded your reason?
I never uttered a more coherent word in such a state of lucidity!
SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICOESPIALIDOSO because that word is as magical as Doña Carmen herself. Because the magic exists, it was she who made me believe it, and if the dear reader grants me the time that lasts the “We return in 7 minutes” that interrupts the German telefilm of Antena 3, I will be able to offer answers to such a nonsense.
If life were an episode of ‘X-Files’, in the tandem formed by its protagonists, between Mulder (eternal believer) and Scully (eternal skeptic) I would be Scully.If anyone claimed that magic exists, I would probably ask for empirical evidence before such asseveration.
But the years of discipleship that I spent under the tutelage of Doña Carmen in the old school Miguel Medina de Archena make me disagree with such denial.
The magic was always there, surrounding us. It was the innocence that only the eyes of a child possess that allowed us to see it, but at some point, somewhere along the road between childhood and maturity, we did the worst business in the world: finance our maturity with a blank check whose currency to collect was our naivete. A truculent barter taken out of the mind of the most evil Rumpelstiltskin in which we exchange our virtues for defects and exchange laughter for rictus more serious than that of the Pope of Rome visiting the Gaza Strip
At what point do we stop paying attention to the small details of life?
When Carl Sagan told us that shooting stars are a phenomenon or luminous that occurs when a meteoroid crosses our atmosphere and we stop looking at the sky in search of some to make a wish. Before we needed anything, now we call “Cofidis” to buy things we do not need. At what point do we begin to Worry about what they will say? We put on sale in Wallapop our right to imagine. We turn our true selves into a malleable “Play D’oh” that we model at the will of passing fashions, the patterns of “normality” that society asks of us and the whims of people we care about. Canons that have imposed us and that demand us infinitely more than they should: At sixteen you must choose branch of Baccalaureate, go out with friends, smoke your first cigarette and organize your first bottle. At eighteen you must enter a good university to study the race with more outings, get your driving license and go for the first time to a nightclub. At nineteen you must go out, party, live life before twenty-two, which is when you must have a stable partner. At twenty-three you must have finished the race and before twenty-five you must have found a very well-paid job that allows you to obtain a fixed-term mortgage and a mono volume. Of course at thirty-five you should already have a good pension plan and if you are a woman before forty you should already have at least one child, that the rice is passed. How have we come to lose all that innate purity with the one that made us series The magic is still there and I will offer you the instructions so that you can also find it. God free me to look like one of those carnival charlatans that flood our bookstores with their self-help books. Those “Coelhos”, “Bucays” and “RondasByrnes” who live in the happy country, from the jelly house on the street of the lollipop and who offer you the infallible formula to defeat the Irish pixie who keeps a pot full of happiness. I’m sorry, but reading some badly executed verses will not take you away from a terrible depression. You will not be happier because a Portuguese writer has risen up wanting to increase his current account by several thousand zeros. This is like flirting with a disc from “La Oreja de Van Gogh”: listening to the whole discography can be a important embarrassment, but under certain circumstances a tablet in the form of cheesy song feels sooooo good. So before consecrating those instructions, I offer, dear reader, a virtual insulin shot in case the overdose of sugar could cause some discomfort. I suppose that when I sign these lines I write the lyrics that the evil doctor sang (Austin Powers) for the work and grace of the masterful voice of Florentino Fernández: I’m sorry, but now what I feel is the following … Just for a moment, close your eyes and stop paying attention to “you have to be”. Focus on the “I am.” Get away from the incessant murmur of our whole world that advances at the speed of a road runner chased by a coyote and that demands that we do it too. Forget about the clock. Escape the routine. Get rid of prejudices and labels. Send the infertile thoughts to the recycling bin and lower your hands. Stop hitting the fingers on the keys. Forget the “emojis”, the “likes” and the one hundred and forty characters. Forget schedules and agendas. Say goodbye to the fear of the future and greet it with your hand as you watch it move away. Press the “Pause” button. Just relax. You just have to get carried away by emotions and appreciate every detail to the fullest. Make room for the imagination. Go back to play. Only feel. Drop the past. Forgives. Grant the freedom to the blue Genie that also lives in your head Laugh! That is the only truly important thing. Re-discover the greatness of the little things. Beauty is in the tiniest details to which you can bestow as much greatness as you want. Now, add your current experience and wisdom to that innocence that is reborn within you. Because as Julio Iglesias would say in one of his memes “You know”. You know that your happiest moments are those in which you become a child again, without prejudices without taboos. Those little daily carelessness in which you play, laugh, sing or dance. Now use the power of your imagination. Believe, just for fun. Do not worry about the results or when they will arrive. Be sure that society will persecute you with its always relentless “Dymo” to put many labels on you. Do not let it reach you and always, always, always KNOW YOURSELF. Do not let anyone or anything steal your true essence. This is not “Blade Runner”. You do not have clones There is only one you and is unique and unrepeatable. Innocence, candor, simplicity raised to its highest expression: that is the natural state of the human being. Like children, we are innocent and therefore, it is usual to manifest and offer the purest love. If you have followed my steps your primal ears, those that put you in the factory, those that are connected to the heart. Now, then, pay attention to the voice of that child in the form of Blue Genius that we all carry inside and who shouts that he asks to be heard. You hear him, do not you? true? The loquacious Blue Genius is the bearer of all that magic and is telling us that it resides in the heart of each one and is born of a series of feelings provoked by a “click” that ignites a “spark” whose mechanism could not explain even the most scholar of the scientists. It was the same spark that caught between Doña Carmen and me, between teacher and student, and that today neither that toothless figure with his black tunic and his scythe has managed to turn off. And that is, to receive the sad of the departure of Doña Carmen, looking back and remembering the years I spent with her only made me confirm that there are “Mary Poppins” in the real world. Dona Carmen was one of them. Now I know and I can affirm that she was pure magic. And I can affirm it with such rotundity because I was inside her classroom. And I …… I’ve touched her umbrella … I’ve seen her fly … I’ve seen her take a thousand and one gadgets out of her magic bag bottomless …. I’ve seen her add a bit of sugar to that medicine they gave us to make it better. And what if it happened … I totally disagree with those who claim that light is the fastest speed. The one of the memories is even more, because only then I understand the speed with which they have traveled the distance between the old school Miguel Medina and the place where I am currently. A past so distant and still I feel like it was yesterday. With the sharpness “4K” that only gives what was fabulously real. There are stages of our life that remain forever in our memory. When we evoke them, a smile crosses our face as a Wednesday crosses the most boring week because next to them, those people who made us insanely happy return in the form of a nostalgic sigh. Today, that crazy blue genius that resides in my head and lives in that golden lamp that grants “the cosmic powers of the universe and a tiny space to live” has finally regained its freedom. Now lends his voice to all those beings that were in our memory. The always successful bastard has made sure that time does not take away his words. With his catchy songs and uncontrollable verbiage he has made me understand that now I am the sum of all those beings that instilled in me good values, those who enlightened me, those who embraced me, those who made me laugh … But I am also those who they made me cry, those who marginalized me, those who made fun of me, those who put their hands on me … A few lines down, it will be time to settle accounts and apply ointment to those scars that also shape our being, because it was the very same Doña Carmen who prepared the ointment. That was his great legacy. The war that the person I lost made me win. She taught me that I should never give up the desire to create a better world. I did not need the great panacea, just a few ideas that probably keep waiting for me where Serrat placed them: in a corner, on paper or in a drawer. Surely I was not the bravest, most tenacious or smartest student, but today I am what I am thanks to people like Doña Carmen. Paraphrasing the mathematician Ian Malcolm during his walk through that park: “Life makes its way” and It puts you where you have to be, with the people you must do it and the circumstances they arrived without asking for an explanation, or motives. At the moment, I have rubbed the golden lamp and inside it filters out memories of blue smoke in the form of blackboard and chalk . Brain tattoos without ink that neither the laser can erase. But they are so authentic that they make me tremble with emotion, cry uncontrollably and laugh without limit. I stop to contemplate them and I understand the importance of the people who shared with me all those moments. You were everything. You are still everything. Because the school is made up of people, not bricks. And although the impressive scenery can obscure us, it is the actors who matter. Remembering is putting sand on an invisible glass walkway that will take us to the whereabouts of the Holy Grail. You just have to drink from it so that those who are no longer reach the eternity of a sip. Now I invite you to enter with me into the Delorean, put it at a hundred and forty kilometers per hour in a straight line and travel in time towards a past where We had dreams of more and less of years. And that’s when I can feel the tenderness of Doña Carmen, a teacher who throughout her thirty years of teaching at the old school Miguel Medina de Archena, He gave us part of his experiences and his love for culture and knowledge. Without a doubt, always remember we will give because, unlike others, he gave himself up to his profession, to his most ingrained vocation, to what he knew how to do and what he loved. Something so simple and at the same time as complex as “teaching.” And that’s where Doña Carmen, like the British nanny, was “practically perfect”. These real-life “Mary Poppins” are there, surrounding us everywhere. those that give you their peace and joy, those that lend you a bit of their brightness so that you learn to shine for yourself, those that know that you carry too many stones in your backpack and help you to download a little weight to lend you your magic umbrella and make you fly. They, people with whom you share accomplices smiles, who give us their support, and in the midst of a storm when the water reaches our necks, they reach out their hand to return us to the ground and show us the path of They come to give you their friendship, their hand, they come to embrace you, to take care of you, to spoil you, and to give you a little of their magic, and for many farewell messages that arrive to our WhatsApps, those people will never abandon us because they came to stay forever by our side. Because Doña Carmen has not left. There is a little bit of her in the heart of every life she touched. The circuits of time installed on the Delorean dashboard indicate that we are on Thursday, September 15, 1988. First day of school in Archena. Day of early mornings, dark circles and sheets stuck after a summer of sleeping without the dictatorship that the clock radio exercised. The old school Miguel Medina: a place where as children we play to be older and older we are taught to be small, where it grows without forgetting how important it is to have fun, and more importantly, where we wake up feelings and emotions fundamental to the person we are and we will be.The last heats of September fell without calling, tender and shy, by the large window of the “Third B” class. The morning breeze on the leaves of the old courtyard eucalyptus announced the arrival of a somewhat colder time, if that is possible in Murcia. The long corridors of the Medina were a hotbed of life. Greetings between teachers and parents, reunions, childhood cries, hasty conversations, more and more laughter, kisses, hugs … And there, in the middle of that ceremonial was me. A skinny nerd, a library rat with a Spiderman T-shirt and imagination shot, hair in a saucepan and more inner world than the Dalai Lama put on LSD. The little Israel Box: The most timid child in the world. My neck turned from side to side in search of a helping hand, an accomplice smile … I was looking for an anchor, a “If something goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be your constant”. That point of security that at that age is so difficult for us to achieve. In my stomach more butterflies than in a damn chapter of the Mayan bee. Anxiety overtook me. Fear was reflected in my eyes. A fear that was not irrational or unfounded. Obeyed to facts that had previously lived in the bars of the old school. I was the freak of the class. Meat of what was previously called unimportant “baby stuff” and that turned out to be a serious threat called “Bullying”. Changing the name was just wrapping the same shit in different wrapping paper. Among the children were those who liked to see and play football and those who preferred books, comics, movies and television. Those who were in the second category were the Ikea screw that was left over in the furniture that the first ones built. At recess time, the playground was a universe, a kind of small-scale UN. A microcosm in which tribes and relationships were established, from very young. You tried to join a group and immediately, as if you were under the designs of a drunken casting director, they gave you a role. Of that role that you had not chosen, and that you were going to interpret during the seasons 1 to 12 of the series, your survival depended during your next years in the school. The protagonists embodied the role of the leader, the popular, the handsome, the sportswoman, the villain, the rebel or the hooligan. However, we were the eternal secondary actors, mere extras. They gave us the papers that nobody wanted, the nerd, the cuatrojos, the marisabidilla, the one to hit, the one to laugh at, the crazy, the weird … DAMNED LABELS! They carried their folders lined with photos of his athletes and the “Samanthas Fox” in turn, in my portfolio Robin Williams and Homer Simpson, they were wearing t-shirts from their favorite soccer team, I from my superheroes from “Marvel” and “DC”. And I always preferred the black helmet of Darth Vader (“Star Wars”) to the black referee’s football suit. He was carrying all the ballots. And there we were, waiting for the arrival of our new teacher.
I went for the class (loose birds that our Vicente Medina would say) when the archaic blue-gray wooden gate opened and then … she appeared. A lady of middle age, very simple, but of innate elegance like those endearing British actresses who end up naming Ladies of the Empire. Dona Carmen was a kind of fascinating alloy between Judi Dench, Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith. Hair to the garçon (like that traveler who wanted to teach to kiss in the gare d’austerlitz) beautiful face, well proportioned features and cheeks slightly rosy. His lips contracted in a smile that directed to both. Celebrations throughout the school were the crafts that Doña Carmen elaborated with recycling material. A piece of cardboard, a box of matches, an old can, a milk brick … for her, any object could be transformed into a plastic and visual marvel to be exhibited in her class to the amazement of students and teachers. Those of us who had the good fortune to pass through his class, can attest that by his side the presenters of “Bricomanía” and “Art Attack” are a pair of machos. With a skill that bordered on delicacies, from his table came the most unusual and exquisite objects. In the most beautiful of paradoxes, his devout hands turned trash into art, preserving the beauty of what was lived, what was used. With perseverance and perseverance I was polishing and giving shape to something vulgar until I turned it into a treasure. A magnificent analogy of what teaching should be. The nervousness linked to my usual awkwardness (like Grandpa Simpson, I was always a joke with legs) made that when Doña Carmen asked us to sit down, my holy buttocks were to rest on top of a colorful bear mask that he had made for the carnivals of the previous year. Without stopping to sketch that smile, he said: “Beware, it’s a bear, theoretically he should eat you, not you him”. The class erupted in laughter. As an infallible norm in my life, there was humor fulfilling its mitigating function. That sweet and musical voice reminded me of the actress of Spanish dubbing by Angela Lansbury. (The insightful Mrs. Fletcher in “A crime has been written” and the voice of Mrs. Pots, the affable teapot of “Beauty and the Beast”) Tranquility invaded my being as if a Hertzian orfidal traveled through his words and I had the certainty that, whatever happened, it was going to be fine. “Quiet boy, on this trip you come from my hand, do not fear”. Blessed Doña Carmen. From her I learned the importance of humor. It was not long before I realized that while my classmates played football in the playground during recess, I stayed inside the class reading a book or what was more usual: creating thousands of characters or imitating existing ones (for example, first time in my life and without a precedent, I confess that he also imitated the teachers, but in his presence I will deny it …) He used to pretend that the teacher’s table was the auction table of the mythical “Un, Dos, Three … Answer again. ” I played to present the program. The classroom’s own belongings, a chalk, an eraser, a map became the gifts that the comedians who went down the stairs of the set left the contestants at the auction table. A sheet torn from my two-line notebook by Pato Lucas served as a little card with a track that I used to glue with zeal under each enser. This was the way he spent recesses saying “Until here I can read” or throwing it back while reciting the “souvenir card”. He imitated the characters of the famous program: Arévalo stammering, Mustache Arrocet and his “piticlín, piticlín”, that “twenty-two, twenty-two” of “Dúo Sacapuntas” and even the stupid and today sexist whip hose of “La Bombi”: “and that dueleeeeeeeee, why would it beaaaaaaaaa? “Years later, I knew that from some blind spot in the class and without my noticing her presence, she was the only spectator of those” shows. “And after contemplating the unusual scene, she had to I drew a plan for myself and that is how the day came when, in the middle of history, Doña Carmen addressed me and asked me an unusual request: – Israel, Can King Juan Carlos tell me his ancestors? the most timid child in the world imitating the voice of King Juan Carlos doing a review of the reign of the Bourbons in Spain: – In these dates so endearing both the Queen and I fills us with pride and satisfaction to say that the Spanish branch of my House, the C asa de Borbón began with the arrival at the Throne of Spain of Felipe, Duke of Anjou … Or at the time of the review of Natural Sciences when Doña Carmen said: – Israel, since you know television programming like the palm of your hand, I’m sure you’ve seen the “Your Orange Half” program. Your presenter, Jesus Puente, knows a lot about matters of the heart, would you be kind enough to name the parts of the heart? Then I would put that ethyl voice of Puente:
– Well, well, well … welcome to “Your Half Orange”. Our contestant couples know that the language of the heart is universal: sensitivity is only needed to understand and speak it. Oh, the heart! The heart composed of the right and left atria, the right ventricle and the left ventricle, right and left as González and Aznar, therefore …. look … the tricuspid, pulmonary, aortic and mitral valves like the actress and singer Nati, Nati “Mitral” … And so, these unusual pictures became commonplace. Today, in school is still remembered when in the Christmas festival, I broke into the living Bethlehem reciting a poem by Gloria Fuertes characterized by Mr. Barragán (“The House by the Window”, “Do not laugh that is worse” ) As a good fairy godmother, Doña Carmen had fulfilled my wish, involving all those jokes and imitations to the routine of the class and my training. She managed to create the most relaxed of the classes. We learned between smiles, we were curious, we breathed good vibes and everything was thanks to the humor that in their classes became the mediating strategy in the process of learning. Because I assure you that the letter with laughter comes in. Doña Carmen discovered that my gift It was humor and she was the first to give me a chance. He knew how to get involved. Become a participant. I have lost count of the times when humor has saved my life. Humor is the sword that wields our soul to fight against discouragement. Faced with circumstances of tragedy, anxiety or crisis, humor emerges as a protective shield made with the best vibranium. It has a transcendental and liberating dimension that can make us fly above any situation, however terrible it may be. The humor is to make an exercise of sincere modesty, to get away from the circumstances that surround us and from oneself. Do not take to the tremendous our own thoughts. Humor frees us from blunders such as stupidity, pedantry, monotony, extreme fanaticism and anodyne. In short, of what life is in itself. Because, let’s face it, there will always be something that stops us from being happy, but no one can steal our right to be happier. And so, with humor, the eternal chains that united Doña Carmen and me were forged. But not only did she worry about get involved with me For Doña Carmen, each of her students was special. She believed in the potential of each one. I knew that, although we were not yet aware of it, we had a gift. Many of our teachers until then had educated us by emphasizing our shortcomings without allowing us to discover our abilities. In a class of thirty students, Doña Carmen took her time to help discover at home what her gift was. Because in an educational system that tends to believe that each person thinks and feels the same way, she had the full conviction that there are not two people who feel and think the same, not even the twin brothers. Unfortunately, the teacher-student relationship usually consists of a hierarchy in which the teacher is usually superior to the student, thus becoming a small god whose kingdom is his classroom in which he finds a place where he can be heard, obeyed, respected, admired and even feared. Teachers who forget that the center of attention in the teaching process is not them, but the students. Thus, empty forms of relationship between teacher and students are instituted, which varnish the teaching with a patina of dandruff typical of times of Yugos and arrows. We are plagued with unbreakable and solemn ceremonies. Everything is marked by pre-established protocols and schedules as to what is important to learn and in what order to do it. The ritual of the first class, the ritual of the cultural excursion and the study trip, the ritual of the works, the partial exams, the oral exams, the final exams, the graduation … are just some examples of the heterogeneous procedures that adopts the ritual teaching. Instead of inserting into the repressive plot that all that implies, she overthrew the class hegemony and constituted herself as our equal. He considered all actors in the educational process as identical in their dignity and rights. Of course there are differential roles between teachers and students, but she used open dialogue, cooperation and tolerance so that no one considered herself more or less than the other, giving priority to respect for each one as a different and valuable person. A teacher who bequeathed us more than data printed in books and memory tests of an obsolete educational system that turns students into repeating parrots instead of thinking beings. It was done with a handful of TNT created with the best didactic and dynamited the rules. She would become a receiver instead of an evaluator. He exercised creativity as the only antidote against the reiterati
You go and machaconas cantinelas of the “two for one, two, two for two is four …”. Her role was to serve as a guide and friend to her students, since she was also human and therefore fallible. That was Doña Carmen Guerrero. Locate your gift. Launch your “Pokeball” and catch it. Now that you have it tied right, think about the way you could contribute. Take advantage, because there is always a way to do it. She taught us to think that what we were doing was important, because you are changing one day of your life and possibly the whole life of a person. Have faith and hope in yourself, and you will find a way to get your gift right. Smile, and fill your life with joy because, do you know what always comes after the smile? Laughter. Of course it is important to be successful in life: titles, masters, prosthetics, brilliant professional careers, but for Doña Carmen it was important that before all that, we were good people. Goodness can make you make a difference. Treat others courteously, give them your understanding and your honor. Kindness and respect are a magnetized boomerang and if you throw it at someone it will come back to you loaded with similar characteristics. It is a fact that being nice to others will end up increasing your own happiness and hopefully becoming an inspiration for others to do the same. Honesty, that was the key to Doña Carmen. She knew it and encouraged us to celebrate diversity and of respectful behavior and kindness. We are all different: no better, no worse, no equal. And that has to be celebrated. As much as nation, community, family, and individual. Diversity makes our world rich and valuable. “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” So now I get excited because it has cost us years, but the weirdos in the class have ended up winning. The children you spat in the bathroom, the ones you beat and insulted in the yard, those marginalized and fearful children now design your mobile phones, create your social networks, compose the songs that you listen to in your ipods when you go out to run, they write the “best-sellers” that you read, the poems that reach your heart and the scripts of the movies and series that you see with your girlfriends. These children are behind every line of dialogue that declares your favorite comedian and are those who now interview your idolized footballers, are behind each of the words they utter in their marketing campaigns, are those who program your video games and those who create the viral memes and jokes that you share in your WhatsApp.It is the great triumph of those who ate the bollycao alone in a corner of the patio, the weirdos of the class, the misfits, the fools, the lazy, the queers and the tomboys , the geeks … We are still here and we are that discordant piece that you did not manage to fit so that they fit in your analogous puzzles. And here comes the most important thing, the “La Victoria is mine” pronounced by Stewie of “Father of Family”, the Dona Carmen’s wonderful legacy: Some of those children who suffered Bullying and to whom Doña Carmen taught, are now teachers and teach your children. In his hands is the power to germinate in his little hearts the magic that Dona Carmen gave us. Believe me, you can be calm because they are going to watch so that history does not repeat itself and they feel happy and accepted in the school environment. To paraphrase Doctor Sheldon Cooper in “The Big Bang Theory”: BAZINGA! ZAS, IN THE WHOLE MOUTH! You won the battle, but not the war. We survived school, we survived the institute, we are still here and we are no longer intimidated, we lost our fear. We are “La Resistance”. Because, as the comedian and actor Robin Williams said: “I believe that the people who have experienced the greatest sorrows are those who always try harder to make others happy; because they know firsthand what it feels like to be desolate and downcast, and they do not want anyone else to feel that way. “Last summer I had many plans ahead, objectives that focused on myself, my studies, my career and in my relationships. But an unexpected changed my priorities completely: “You’re going to be an uncle, and that’s not the end of it, two children are coming, so you’re going to be an uncle twice.” At that moment I could believe it would become something important for someone I did not know yet, because for the first time in my life someone would tell me ‘Tato’. And in February it happened and after contemplating those two little faces, nothing that I knew was the same again in my family. Now my whole world revolves around the two. Those two children, not only would bring a handful of happiness for the whole family, they would also arrive with many challenges and things to learn. As an uncle, supposedly, I have the funniest part of their education: to pamper them as much as they want, to make them feel like kings playing non-stop and reinventing their world. But now that they’re finally here, I know them
and they have managed to steal my heart through their laughter, they are what I love the most in the world and that makes me aware that I must also educate them in deeper values. That is the crux of the matter: Education. My nephews will start their school career shortly and if the idea of suffering “Bullying” seems terrifying, the idea that they are the ones who exercise it is even worse for me. That is why, in these days when our children return to school, let’s focus on teaching them that differences are not bad. Moreover, they are a great value. Nobody is less for being different and nobody deserves to be rejected for being different. I hope, when Eliot and Bastian carry their backpacks, have the immense fortune of finding their “Mary Popppins” of real life, a “Doña Carmen” own to guide them in their school journey and their lives. I am not a friend of the tributes posthumously. It is in life where we must demonstrate what we care about people. In life, to greet, to hug, to kiss, to let flow the emotions that we feel when we are in the company of the people we love so that they are aware of how important they are in our lives. I had the immense fortune to confess to Doña Carmen everything that meant to me in person. It was a year before his departure, in the framework that gave us the Beneficial Food that the Spanish Association Against Cancer celebrates every year in the Balneario de Archena. I thank God because that day I had to share a table with her. That evening I had to practice as a master of ceremonies at the gala before more than five hundred people. Life gave me the opportunity to remember and laugh with her. We’ll laugh! As an opening number I had to imitate Donald Trump. So there I was with my whole face dyed orange. On my head that blonde hair of an old lady characteristic of the President of the United States and knotted around my neck a big red tie that would be the object of envy of José María Carrascal and Luis Aguilé. Years later, again Doña Carmen came back to see me in my salsa, witnessing another of my anodyne shows that maintained the same essence as those I played in class during the recess. To the desserts, I gathered the courage (because yes, I can present a gala and record my television section in the middle of the great path characterized by any character without two red spots flood my cheeks, but I assure you that, to this day, Israel Box is still the most timid child in the world) and I could tell him loudly the enormous gratitude he felt for all the valuable lessons that he gave me in life, but most of all for having given me his example and through him to have made me see the world with a different perspective. The moment was sealed with the most affectionate of hugs that I have framed as a photograph and hung in the most visible part of the gallery of my memory. If the beloved reader is a movie buff, he will have noticed the many references I have made to my second great teacher in these lines: The comedian and actor Robin Williams. It will be another time when I tell you about the great influence that the great comedian had in my life and how he even wrote me a motivating missive that today I keep as gold in cloth. They wanted the gods playing dice, and in what I interpret as a nice wink that someone up there wanted to make me, that Doña Carmen was the same day as the great comedian: An eleven of August. I suppose that someone up there is the best school in the world and every August 11th he awards a celestial chair. Robin Williams; that child who refused to grow up and who also left me, slamming an important corner of my memory, of my childhood. Now we are the ones who have grown up, becoming that child that has grown by force, and perhaps we should also be the ones who picked up the witness of Robin Williams and smile and make us smile and remember that, despite everything, this world continues being a party that we do not want to leave. I discovered the great comedian in the summer cinema of Archena one night in August 1986. Precisely, in that masterful tape entitled “The Club of the Dead Poets”. In the film, Professor John Keating (brilliantly played by Williams) dynamits the strict rules of the traditional school to help his students as well as discover their own ways. A common search between teacher and student. I find so many similarities between Professor Keating and Doña Carmen, both always optimistic, always encouraging inspiring non-conformist free thinkers. Both taught us that nothing is impossible. Because even when you do not have strength or power you can always count on words and ideas to change the world, “Because, despite what they say, the word and ideas can change the world.” I think we all remember the mythical final scene of the movie. Robin Williams must leave school
io and all his students stand over their desks and in a gesture of complicity, exclaim: “OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN!” Well now it’s my turn. I am in the old classroom of Tercero B on the first floor of the Miguel Medina school. I’m looking for my old desk. About him my name engraved. Indelible. And there, in front of the big blackboard, I see the figure of Doña Carmen, like so many other times. I climb on top of the desk, raise my arm and bring my fingers straight and aligned to my temple, while exclaiming: “OH DOÑA CARMEN! OH CAPITAN, MY CAPTAIN! “Israel Boxarchena, August 11, 2018.