By Maria Angélica 'Tota' Bialade de Cremonte- Translated by
As time passes, I recall more and more
often the times I spent in that little country town_General Guido_
where I was born.
My father Augusto Pedro Bialade_in sef-imposed exile from his native
Uruguay_ arrived to Argentina after 1900. He had befriended
Mr. Juan Roncoroni and Mr Julio Solanet who encouraged to move to
Argentina where they lived.
He met my mother at a dance given by
the Solanets. She had graduated from Teaching School and her first
assignement was to Guido's elementary school. They married in Castelli,
where my mothers parents lived.
The newlyweds moved to General Guido. Like Castelli and
others, the town is one of the many rural villages in Buenos
There they made a home at a humble apartment in the school west
wing.One of the few buildings of concrete in town, hence it was
considered very good. The east
was occupied by the Civil Courthouse. The rest was the school per
sé; 3 clasrooms for 1°, 2° and 3°
grade. The house communicated
other rooms and backyard by ways of a
lateral door done up in chicken wire.
In the playground_all ours during vacation_ father installed
two set of swings. Each year, the swallows would return to nest in the
gallery's crevices. I recall vividly watching the birds through
the rose trellis. Houses of that time located their privvies out
back; that is where ours was.
Dad built a room with wood by the kitchen and installed a zinc
tub wich connected to the kitchen coal-burning stove(which was also fed
with corncobs and woody brambles from nearby marshes) so that we could
have hot water.
Out back was where our vegetable garden was. A man by the name of
Charnelli helped Dad with it. The produce came in a wheelbarrow
up to the kitchen door. There was always an abundance of
vegetables at home. They were in our menu most days except Sundays, on
that day it was pastas or meats. For me it was so often that until this
day I separate the vegetables in my plate.
We also had a small fruit orchard with a grapevine, fig and quince
trees. Mom was an excellent cook and was always making jellies and
jams. When she needed fruit, we would pick it for her, basket in arm.
By the orchard there was a windmill. My dad planted watercress around
mill's tank, its overflow kept it lush.
Soon sons and daughters started
arriving; first it was Augusto, then Haydée, then Juan Carlos.
He didn't stay
but for a few hours, the only brother I didn't know and the only one to
remain in Guido. I was next and then Julia Esther, Juana Elida
At that time most households had domestic help; ours specially because
our mother worked. They were country girls from the town and
surrounding areas. They would tell us ghosts stories, the "long dog",
the "lame pig" and others. Very scary. Of course, we loved them.
I liked going to school, but did get to skip class more than once.
Sometimes there was no domestic in the house and, being one of the
I managed to prepare a meal or take care of the baby. Only problem was
that I was mischievous enough to venture in the school halls and peek
in a open classroom door. Then I proceeded to make faces at the
children who would giggle until the teacher made them to stop.
Between the family house and the school there was a room used as
book repository. When I learned to read , that was one of my favorite
I'd find a nook and devour Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel
and Tom Thumb.
My first grade teacher was Miss Felipa Sarasola; my mother always
commented how good a teacher she was; in july her class already knew
how to read and write (classes started in march).
Second grade was taught by Miss Rodríguez; her family was in
charge of the Post and Telegraph office on the other side of the
Like most kids, I loved live things; ie flowers and birds. Mom
recalled how I grew restless and impatient to return when we'd visit
relatives in Uruguay. I contended "there were no flowers nor birds
We traveled often to Fray Bentos, Uruguay, where my aunts lived. We
to Buenos Aires by train and from there would take the ship up the
Parana river to Fray Bentos. I recall the ship's name was "Triton"; Mom
said she was always commended on "how well behaved the children were".