11 October 1973

11 October 1973

Today was a bittersweet day.

Today marks the one-month anniversary of the military coup that changed Chile into a new country. Today is the anniversary of the death of Allende, the true Chilean leader. Ramon and I lit a candle for him tonight, after putting the children to bed. We mourn for our leader; we mourn for our country.

At least I am lucky enough to not be in Santiago. At the restaurant, people talk about all of the violence. It sounds like people there are being resistant, but really that only makes things worse. Some soldiers did come to Rancagua recently. They have started going through houses to search for anything that looks politically leftist. We had to clean out the apartment and the restaurant of anything that might seem leftist and burn it. I am so afraid that we missed something; I check the house at least twice a day just in case.

So that is the bitter. What is the sweet?

Both of the twins took their first steps today! It was Rosa first, who wobbled a few paces across the floor before sitting back down. Miguel could not stand being left behind by his sister and followed shortly after. I cannot get over the beauty of watching my children grow up. Marco does not understand why I squealed and clapped for the twins; he walks all the time.

More good news: this afternoon Mama and Papa received a call from Tomas. We had not heard from him since the day of the coup. It was very upsetting not knowing if he was safe. We are so relieved to know where he is now. Tomas said that he when he heard of the coup he marched with other students from UTE. Soldiers arrested the protesters and took them to makeshift prisons. They just released him today. Tomas did not want to go into detail about the prison, and I fear it was terrible. I hope he comes home soon. We will be safer if we stick together.

In some ways, life is very different now. But in other ways, it is eerily the same as before. I feel like I am pretending to be someone I am not. I must wear more conservative clothing and I must pretend to believe things I do not believe. I must pretend that I am not afraid so I do not make my children and my husband and my parents more afraid. Yet, in the midst of a coup, what are we supposed to do with our time? When I am not worrying about the country or checking the house for illegal things, I still work at the restaurant. I still cook dinner every night, and I still play with my children. Even in turmoil and fear life must go on.

1 thought on “11 October 1973

  1. ssvolk says:

    A difficult time, no, Catalina? I have felt so sad lately, that it’s good to get news of your twins and little Marco, although he’s not so little any more. I’m glad to hear that Tomás is OK. My family is fine, although I haven’t heard from some of my cousins for a while. Probably because everyone is keeping close to their homes. Maybe this will all end soon and we can stop being nervous.

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