An interview done by my friend Patty of her grandmother Ernestina…
What did beauty mean to you when you were in your 20s?
“My grandmother said that when she was young, she never really knew or wondered because she lived so far out in the country that she never really got to think about it.
But then she got quiet and said that for her there was always a difference between beauty and elegance. She didn’t know about beauty but her cousin, who was apparently the cutest one, she always thought of as elegant.
Why? I asked. Because she was tall, always dressed nicely and had a good manner about her. ..Then she said something about actresses and movie stars. This was back in the 1940’s or 50’s.”
What does beauty mean to you now?
My friend Patty continued the interview another day. She writes, “I went to see her (my grandmother). She didn’t really want to talk about it at first. But then she started. She said there are a lot of pretty things today. But nothing she would consider beautiful. She made a distinction between the two today. And a lot of nice things, like having visits from her daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, although it didn’t happen as often as she would like.
She considers a woman today beautiful if she is nicely dressed “not naked” is the closest translation I can come up with! . There’s a word here – “chulona” – which she used. It basically means as long as she’s not skimpily clad, and she looks nice in her clothes, she could look beautiful.
But she added something this time. She said that women should be educated, and talk properly, even cultured in what she speaks, to be considered beautiful by her. A woman of the world, so to speak! So I guess her view has changed a little. The world has grown and changed for her. Sometimes it gets to be a little too much. And there are a lot of things that are not nice, or peaceful any more. But she keeps constant prayers, and still hopes. And every once in a while, there is beauty still to see.”
Thank you to Patty for perservering to hear her grandmother Ernestina’s thoughts. May the new year 2012 be full of beauty for both of you, and all my readers too!