Day 5


I woke up and went to shoot an interview with Seu Nilo and Dona Elisa. They are Davi’s parents, one of the first people I spoke with at the public school. When I spoke to him at the school he told me with nostalgia of the rides on the shoulders of his father as a kid through the wildish semi deserted paths of Austin. When I asked him about his parents he said they were among the first people to move to Austin, children of former slaves, and they were both still alive. Seu Nilo and Dona Elisa are sweet and forgetful. Once we started talking I realised they were both in the process of some sort of memory loss. I spent around an hour there, in which they repeated the same three or four stories over and over. Some 20 times. The son, who watched us close, showed a mix of discomfort and impatience, he wanted the parents to remember what he did. I wondered how much of the stories were real. Their body language was impressively strong though. Their bodies were synchronized and caring of each other, they seemed to know each other very well. After that, I went to the evangelical school. I had a long conversation with Bernardina, the daughter of Dona Castorina, the founder of Austin’s first private school, She died three years ago at one hundred and three. Castorina is also the name of my grandma’s mom, not a common name in Brazil at all. Austin’s Castorina was a black literate woman who seeing that most people in Austin could not read or write, in the first half of the 20th century, decides to teach the town’s kids. Bernardina, her daughter, who I spoke with, started to teach, at the influence of her mom, when she was nine. Castorina went on to start a school and an orphanage. Later today I’m going to the public school to give them the DVD with the video clip I recorded with the kids. The teacher who directed the play, Seu Miro, and the protagonists, loved it. The others not so much. In the evening I watched soap opera with Madalena, as she told me more stories about her life. When she goes to work in Rio de Janeiro (she free lances there a couple of days a week), she works as a housekeeper. She tells me how she quit her studies and working early on to marry the father of her kids. He is the son of the families who inherited the orange farm’s land too. Eventually the family fell apart, and they separated. The fear of being alone and without any money made her stay in Austin. She takes antidepressants. Last night when Yvi, Madalena’s daughter, arrived from the her new temp job, as a sales person in a store, I heard her asking her mom where was I (I was in bed). I find that she looks like her grandma, who I haven’t wrote about here yet. Her name was Maria Eugenia (my grandma was called Eugenia too). It seems she was the last princess like character of Austin. She died a some years ago, but everyone in the town remembers and talks about her.

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