Mercedes Sosa – The Mommy
"I was so happy because, as we say
in the province, I was getting thick:
my waist was growing because in my belly
My Fabian was already beating ”.
The relationship with your dad is no more. So he is going to stay here with your sisters and you are coming with me.
That’s what Mom told me one day. Today, faced with the task of invoking our life together and reconstructing a good part of the things that we have gone through, that of that day is one of the first images that I remember more clearly.
I must admit that I knew everything because I heard the fights. At that time we lived together with my two sisters, Ada and Alba, in a central pension called El Vesubio; it was on Rivadavia avenue, almost Larrea. I think it was Alba who packed my little suitcase. When she finished, she gave it to me and so we walked together down the avenue. Mom cried a lot, while I thought: “If it hurts so much to leave, why don’t you stay?”
We arrived at a hotel on Avenida de Mayo that had very high stairs. It was called Hotel Mayo (it no longer exists today). She spoke to a lady, asked for a room, and we settled on the second floor. Like all boarding houses, our space consisted of just that; the bathroom, as is often the case in pensions, was outside. In front of the rooms was a closed, high-walled courtyard. As I was going to a school in the area, she chose a place near the previous boarding house so that I would stay at the same distance.
The next day after we settled in, life went on, with the exception that from that moment on we would be two for everything.
Before, when Mami had to go out to work at night, my sisters would take care of me. Now I would be left alone and I noticed that big change during the first night. I was very scared (although if there was light it was all good). In this case, in addition to the darkness that surrounded me, it was a new place and I felt strange. I immediately made friends with the man who looked after the hotel: he was at the entrance of the first floor and had a small desk. I would go downstairs and talk to him until he was no longer sleepy and just then I would go to sleep in my room. Later I got used to it and I was left alone without problem. At that time, there was no TV and only one radio. My routine was to just play something and then go to sleep.
The part of the homework that he brought from school was done in the afternoon with Mom and when night came, he had nothing to do. I was in first grade, I went to class in the morning and got up around the time Mom arrived. She would prepare me and, when I left, she would lie down to sleep. I was going alone because school was three blocks away and it was a straight road.
One morning, she woke me up to go to school and discovered that the day before I had destroyed my overall; it had a huge tear in the pocket area and a button was missing. She realized just when she had to leave (she probably wouldn’t have said anything to him) and she was very angry. As soon as she saw me, she took off my coat and began to sew it quickly. “I’m missing the button,” I told him a little anguished, when he handed it to me. “Go on like this,” he replied.
When I returned, she was still angry, even more than before. I remember that he told me:
-Fabian, come. First, you have to take care of your clothes because we don’t have money to buy another. Second, I am very late. If you don’t tell me things in time, then you have to solve them yourself. Now you sit here and I’m not going to move until you learn to sew at least one button.
I learned those two things for life. I’m still very careful with clothes and I know how to sew.
It was a tough time for her. A few years ago I found out, through Luis Landriscina, something that moved me. Sometimes Mama would come with croissants, which was not very usual because in general we didn’t have money to buy bills; breakfast was a delicious mate cooked with milk that she made, but there was no room for more. It turns out that many nights, after the peñas, rather at dawn, the musicians and artists went to have breakfast together. There, together, when they made their orders they asked for more: they kept croissants for me. “For Fabiancito”, he says they told him when they gave them to him. Her friends back then took great care of me because I was alone.
I can understand that pension situation was untenable for her. The only option was to leave me alone for nights and nights, or eventually stay at someone’s house because she had to go to some inland city to sing.
My mother was very strict and I was very crying. One day, for example, he sent me to buy milk (at that time it was sold in a green glass bottle), and I loaded the container and the silver to buy it. One block before reaching the warehouse, there was the Plaza 1 ° de Mayo.
I had to cross it and, in the middle of the little square, there were some swings. I sat down for a while and of course at that moment a distracted person passed by, kicking the glass bottle and breaking it. The bottles were paid for and that’s how I returned to the hotel crying, completely broke.
She told me: “But you have the money. cry to the grocer. Here you bring the bottle of milk ”. Logically, I returned with the milk and later found out that she had come to pay for it. The grocer gave me the bottle because I was crying non-stop.
Within the rudeness that Mom had, I always felt very pampered by her. Her speech was always: “It’s you and I alone, Fabiancito.” You have to take care of your things because the two of us are alone.
It could be interpreted as: “Your dad left us.” For me, at that moment it was: “We decided to leave.”
Mom talked to me a lot, almost like I was an adult.
-We are alone and we have to do this; I learned this other; you have to be responsible; you have to be careful.
After that special year, in which she separated and everything changed from one day to the next, she took me to Tucumán to live with my grandparents. So it was that one day she told me:
-It’s very difficult, Fabian. I’d rather you go to your grandparents’ house and stay there. We will try to make it only for one year. I’m going to visit you until I order a bit.
She did so and a year later I was with her again.
When I lived with my grandparents, I spent whole afternoons playing with my friends on the block, who numbered in the thousands. There is a curious anecdote in relation to these days. Mama had made a certain friendship with Enrique Gorriarán Merlo, the founder of the Revolutionary Workers Party and the People’s Revolutionary Army. One night, during a dinner at her house, he told me: “I knew you when you were little. I saw you go by bicycle in the Brandsen Passage, you don’t remember ”. She quickly described that block to me. Only then did I know that the ERP headquarters was in front of my grandmother’s house.
We saw how they came and went all the time and that they were going to bother to church to fuck during the siesta. It seemed crazy to me: that house was three blocks from one of the Tucuman regiments.
At my grandmother’s house, Mom had a room built thinking of us when we went on vacation. I could say that we were benefited by the guilt that perhaps I felt for working so hard. At the same time, it favored the neighborhood, both because of the pool and because of the television …… .in that house we used to get together with my friends and Grandpa Tucho to watch Bonanza, The Lone Ranger and The Crazy Bird. We had a lot of fun and, at snack time, the grandmother had to do something because we were like ten kids; He always managed to bring cooked mate, chocolate, orange juice and something to eat. When my grandfather died in 1972, I began to space out trips to Tucumán and it was my grandmother who began to come more and more to Buenos Aires.
The moment in which they communicated to the mother the death of the grandfather was hilarious. We were in the Arenales department and at one point she called me to kill a fly that had been circling for a long time, making it quite swollen, and that she couldn’t catch.
I chased her, killed her, and went back to my stuff. A few minutes later the phone rang: in that call they told Mama that Grandpa Tucho had died. She looked at me and said:
-Did you realize what happened, Fabian? You killed your grandfather!
We traveled almost immediately. Grandma and uncles were, as expected, pretty bad. I lived everything with a feeling of great strangeness. After the death of my grandfather, I stopped going to Tucumán.
Returning to Buenos Aires implied a new life. Mom had been telling me that she had met a man who loved her and was working with her. She also told me that she was older than her, that she had a son and that the four of us were going to live together. This is how, suddenly, a new family was formed. That man was Pocho Mazzitelli, who, in addition to Gustavo my stepbrother, had another daughter named Bibiana who lived with his mother. Later, with Gustavo we began to go to Tucumán together. They rented us a cabin on the train for the two of us and the car attendant looked after us until we arrived. They were very nice trips.
From the relationship with Pocho, everything was better. In her career, things were much more orderly and she was calm, considering how difficult Mom was always. Pocho was a very methodical guy who didn’t smoke or drink, and that made up for her insanity a bit, who usually got very angry.
First she did it alone, developing her disgust with a dangerous calm, as if marinating it. When she was with you, inside her head she already had things clear at those moments it was very difficult to talk to her because she had already put everything together for herself. He was also very smart to take the debate where she wanted. She could also be very hurtful with words and that left little room for further conversation afterward. Working with her, I had a much better chance of a fight than any son. Our confrontations were great because of everything that happened at work, which was not little.
Pocho, on the other hand, was the one who spoiled us, both Gustavo and me. If Mama was too demanding, more than anything with me, Pocho was the same with both of them.
She was always on par, she taught me many key things that I could apply in my life, and I obtained from her the teachings of a man that my grandfather could not even give me, much less my father. To Mom, he was something of an angel. It was also for me, even as an intermediary with her the times we had fights with Mom, the contact was always through Pocho. In fact, the first to know that Araceli, my first daughter, had been born, was precisely him.
His illness began very quickly and the outcome occurred a few days later. Mom was devastated but was by her side until the end.
Arguing with Mom was extremely difficult. The contrast between the sweetness she could have and the sour face she was capable of arguing with made you even angrier.
Over the years she learned that if she wanted things to get back on track, then she would have to loosen up a bit.
I’m sure he learned that from my grandmother. Of course, we clashed quite a bit. But after the last strong argument we had, which lasted more than a year, one day she called me and said:
-Look, let’s do this: let’s not fight anymore. If at any time there is a reason to fight, let’s say goodbye the same until tomorrow, and the next day we talk differently and see how we do. But let’s not fight anymore because we are us, we are family.
After hearing her say that, it was much easier for me to resolve my differences with her. It is true that in recent times we had some crosses or discussions, but never like before. Since that day, with La Mamó we did not fight again.
Do these conflicts matter now? Absolutely not.
I am her product, I was always happy to be and I am proud of the bond we had.
I return all the time to those images of when the two of us were alone in the pension on Avenida de Mayo. I close my eyes and get dressed for school, with her in front of me, smiling and adjusting her smock. I also hear her voice, that voice that yelled at me “Fabiancito!” as she stretched out her arms to sink into one of her cute hugs. She repeated a phrase that is also a beautiful image: “You have to hug as if you were catching chickens.”
I still miss her as much as when she left. Entering her home for the first time without her was too hard. What came next, too. At first I tried to get closer to her, rather to her memory, with some desperation.
I felt a very strong need to know more. Over time I learned to do it from the absence, as happens today with this book.
Without expecting it, I found when writing it a lot of answers.
He was born on December 20, 1958. He worked as a producer of cultural and artistic events, record producer and radio, television and documentary programs, tour manager, integral producer of musical, theatrical and video shows. He was also a representative of numerous artists, including Mercedes Sosa, Julia Zenko, Nito Mestre and Daniel Melero. Since 2010 he has directed, from his role as president, the Mercedes Sosa Foundation for Culture.
CONTACT EMAIL TO GET THE BOOK: