From: Barbara Hollander
Subject: Faces of Spain
We lived here in Spain happily midst an unbelievably mixed-up mélange of drop outs and dreamers; so many of us were disaffected suburbanites. Why should I have been surprised? We were only following in the footsteps of my heroes invented by ambitious scribes who came from the same “Nowheresville” as I.
Some were mere blurry faces; others would become important elements in our lives, cause for heartache or happiness in later years. But mostly they were dress extras filling in as background to our lives. The stuff from which sticky romantic novels are made – or X-rated films – I really didn’t know what to make of them.
Most of the so called “names” were nobodies or Eurotrash that an American market wouldn’t even recognize. Besides, that was another time; that was another country. And most of those beautiful people have succumbed to liver failure or have settled down to grandparenthood. They were no different than you or I.
Yeah, we were outrageous – some of us more than others – spending unlimited leisure and limited resources without thought of consequences. Some of us were birds of passage forever seeking out the latest locale. Others, like Gino and me, squatted down and built nests, raised our broods and lived our lives. If there were times – and there were – that another part of the forest was unbearably tempting, so be it. One way or another we survived. Tears and torment tended to be fleeting. We made the best of it; had the best of it. No regrets.
It is hard to believe now that I think back on some of the more outrageous goings on that all this existed in a fascist dictatorship, in a dour Catholic country living by a rigid code of behavior unchanged down through so many centuries.
I was out of my depth. That thin veneer of Manhattan sophistication, of Greenwich Village craziness covered a solid, prim and proper Middle Western waif. And, all too often, the surface cracked leaving me fighting the eternal battle between id and super ego (to descent to Freudian nomenclature.)
I can’t pretend that I spent much time in ruminating about all of this. Here I was. Like it or lump it. It was easy to concentrate on lazy, lapping Mediterranean waters and skies that stretched endlessly, on the Spaniards that we lived amongst, on a life I never expected in my wildest dreams. So what if it was pretty much an extension of Greenwich Village? All of Europe was just around the corner.