September 30, 1973

Fall has arrived, and the sea breezes are getting chillier. I like to look out the window and watch the rain when Mama drives me to school. 8th grade is boring. My classes are easy, but the teachers don’t let me do anything when I finish the tests early. My history teacher, Mr. Perez, has disappeared from the school. He told us the day after the coup that he was afraid for the future of our country. The school won’t say where he went, but my friend Ramon says it is because he spoke against the new military government. Now we have a new teacher that I don’t like as much.

I hear my parents talking about the coup and the new “state of things” (Papa’s words) late at night, after they think I have gone to sleep. Papa is worried about whether he will keep his job. He tells Mama that he has seen several of his coworkers in his office fired. They talk in hushed tones about all the arrests and beatings that have happened since the coup. Mama tells Papa to keep quiet at work, and he will be alright.

My parents won’t talk about politics with me. Whenever I ask about Pinochet and the disappearances that have happened under his new regime, they tell me that children don’t need to know about such things. But Ramon and my other friends talk about it at school, out of earshot of our teachers. The adults treat us like babies, but they can’t expect us to be totally ignorant of what’s going on around us.

1 thought on “September 30, 1973

  1. ssvolk says:

    Hi, Marco. Things are the same here in Santiago. What with the coup and the fiestas patrias, we’ve hardly been in class, but I can tell that something has changed. They say that right in the middle of class, the head master came into Sr. Gutierrez’s chemistry class, the guy who teaches the tercero medio and just took him away. There was a different teacher the next day, and none of my friends can tell me where Gutierrez has gone. Strange.

    [Note: September is the start of spring, not fall, in Chile — Southern hemisphere! Also, classes were closed for at least a week after the coup.]

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