April 1, 1976
The past few years have constituted quite a turbulent time in Argentine society and it does not look like it will get better soon. I will never hear the end of it from my father. That is, when I see him. He has been working very, very long hours for so long now that it is rather strange to look back at my journal entries from nearly 7 years ago, which was a time when I did indeed get to see my parents frequently. My mother still finds some time to come over once a week and help Lucas finish up his homework and cook dinner when I work late at the hospital. She tries to distance herself from the union a bit more, as she has always put family first. She also likes to remind me of this on a weekly basis. “Work can take all you have if you let it, but you give to your family and this giving grows and sustains itself for generations,” she says. I think she does so more as a reminder to herself than for whoever happens to be in the room when she decides to spout her wisdom. That came off harsher than I meant it, but I think it gets complicated. It seems that my father’s relationship with work and the union hurts her but she can’t bring herself to confront him about it. She knows that she cannot change him, so she tries to lead by example but these snippets of bitterness molded into sagely advice come out more frequently than she’d admit to.
To go a bit deeper into my father’s full commitment to his work at this moment, and to document my own personal and limited understanding of Argentine politics (even for just the sake of being able to look back at this in the years to come once things have played themselves out): Perón’s second wife Isabel was just ousted from power. Now, her stint running Argentina has proven to be a particularly challenging time for my father and his work in the union. She never seemed to decide what her relationship to the unions would be; upon demanding a wage increase, she agreed, then annulled the agreement, then reinstated it. My father misses Juan Perón dearly. I am a bit more critical of his time in power, particularly when he returned in 1973. In my daily life the images that leave the most indelible impressions are those of the increased violence that seems to have come very recently but in my mind begins with the masses gathered upon Perón’s return. I have to treat so many gun wounds in the hospital. And then I return home to my family, where my 10 year-old son asks me questions that I don’t know how to answer. I hope that writing will help me to sort some of these thoughts out.