Within the Erasmus + 'We All Count' Project, the CRA Río Tajo has done an intense job with the families of Aldeanueva de Barbarroya, Alcolea de Tajo and El Bercial de Tajo. And in them are grandparents and grandmothers, references of life, and their children and grandchildren. We all count. And now more than ever. Serve 'Life Stories', a book of life testimonies as a sign of what is necessary and important we are all. It is now being noticed more than ever that in our society the greatest were, are and will be indispensable. The CRA Río Tajo collects what has been the life of some of them in 'Life Stories', a book that we attach, that has been edited in three languages (Spanish, English and Italian) and that teaches us that we not only have to be left with the need and practical usefulness of the elders, but in the essence of what they bring us through a generation that did not have it as easy as us and to which now, especially with coronavirus, they are again the most vulnerable. That is why from the CRA Rio Tajo they promote this project of 'Life Stories', a book that values the vital existences of many people, because life is also understood looking back although you have to live it looking forward. In this sense, the book marks a progressive and generational rhythm, with testimonies of people born from the 20s of the twentieth century to the first two decades of the twenty-first century We attach the book in the three languages cited and, in addition, as an appetizer, we illustrate parts of the testimonies contained in 'Life Stories'. We believe it is worth stopping for a few minutes, on these days of pause and rest, to see what they gave us and how our elders lived.
"My name is Adoration Jimenez. I was born in Aldeanueva de Barbarroya (Toledo) in 1927. And I want to tell you that I was born in the midst of "Generation of 27". When only nine years old began in Spain the Civil War at that age you are also not very aware of everything that happens around you and everything that happens, you see with the innocence of a girl. "I remember that despite being in the middle of the war, every day we went to school, there we played, we learned and we had a routine that evaded us from reality. It was one of the few things that didn't look altered. "In the middle of the Civil War we were banished with other relatives and more people from our village to the town of Madrigal de la Vera, because of a misunderstanding of a cheese sold by my mother. At that time there were two sides and even if you were none of them, as was our case, many people were splattered for political reasons in this war. It was a time when, despite the situation we left for, I have good memories. I was happy there.
"My name is Manuel Alcalá Delgado. I was born in Lopera (Jaén) in 1940. And I want to tell you that I worked as a mechanic at a time when fixing a wheel puncture was done by dismantling the deck with the help of two detachables and a beak, I also had to step on it to get the air out of the wheel. Years later, the machines arrived, since then everything is easier and more comfortable for the mechanics."
"My name is Vidal Jiménez Hidalgo. I was born in Aldeanueva de Barbarroya (Toledo) in 1942. And I want to tell you that I was born at my grandparents' house. When we were kids, we played with water, with balls, we played grille, hoop, sdola, burnt belt, quimío, mesh, etc. "Then, when I grew up, when I was fourteen or fifteen, I went as a shepherd with my grandfather and later, at eighteen, I was alone with the sheep and at night I went to school.'
"My name is Eugene. I was born in Alcolea de Tajo (Toledo) in 1943. And I want to tell you that I only went to school from the age of six to fourteen. When I was fourteen I went to the countryside to work and did all the tasks by hand, because at that time there was no machinery as now to mow or harvest. At school he only carried an encyclopedia, a notebook and a pencil, and to warm us we used in class a stinger. "From May we stopped going to school because we had to bring the food to the people who worked in the countryside. We were in a donkey."
"My name is Enrique Juárez Jiménez. I was born in Aldeanueva de Barbarroya (Toledo) in 1949. And I want to tell you something about my childhood. I was born into a large family, being ten siblings: eight girls and two boys, I was the smallest of them all. My father was a farmer and a rancher, there was a lot of work at home. I spent my childhood day and night in the country. From the age of six to seven, I went to the school of Don José, a teacher of the village, only one year and so small… I didn't learn anything. When I was seven, I had to go to the farm. My father had a shepherd and needed a zagal, so it was me.
"My name is José Antonio Barrillo García. I was born in Aldeanueva de Barbarroya (Toledo) in 1950. I want to tell you a story that happened to me in my childhood and another being a little older: I grew up as a child, until I was ten years old, at Finca Pilas. I could only go to school for a month in the village when I was eight years old, even though I liked it, I remember it was hard for tears not to be able to attend. "On the estate I spent several Christmases and Kings Nights, the good thing was that there were quite a few boys there. But who was going to tell me that over the years I was going to live a dream like the one I lived in? The estate in the 1970s changed ownership, had been bought by a gentleman who was ambassador and had good friendship with King Juan Carlos I, who came to the estate invited by the count, hunting and spending the night in it. At the time, I was a councillor in the City Council, I was elected by the Union of Democratic Center (UCD) party, in the first municipal elections after regaining democracy in Spain. What was my surprise when the mayor called me and told me that he had been warned by the Count, owner of the Pilas estate, to be a representation of the City Council to receive His Majesty the King upon his arrival at the estate. I could not imagine that at twenty-eight years I would return to that estate, where I spent my childhood, to receive and have a private audience with the King. When I looked before the King, talking to him, I thought that was a dream, or perhaps a reward for that childhood and the things I didn't have in childhood."
Ma del Amparo
"My name is Ma del Amparo Rivas López. I was born in Aldeanueva de Barbarroya (Toledo) in 1951. And I want to tell you about my school stage: I was six years old when I started going to school, there were no kindergartens or preschoolers, the word school here didn't exist, just "school." Girls were classed by a teacher, boys were a teacher, we weren't mixed up. The girls wore white uniforms. My teacher was Da Adela until she finished school at the age of fourteen, she loved me very much and so did I.
"My name is Diamantina Moreno Barba. I was born in Alcolea de Tajo (Toledo) in 1956. And I want to tell you that we were six brothers. An older sister, I the second and behind me four brothers, very often, the eldest is ten years older than the little one. My mother washed at the Fountain and when we were on vacation we were in charge of a very old neighbor. "I remember we always had bread with a small piece of chocolate. When the Three Wise Men came instead of bringing us gifts (toys) they brought us a big orange, a pencil, a notebook, rarely a rag doll."
"My name is Maite Rubio Barba. I was born in El Bercial de Tajo (Toledo) in 1970. And I want to tell you some of the stories about when I was going to school. Everything was different. I remember that my backpack also weighed a lot and the backpack carts did not exist, so we waited for Juan Carlos, a neighbor who before going to school had to carry the milk canes in a wheelbarrow and we took advantage of the trip and put the backpacks in the wheelbarrow. That was our car so you wouldn't carry weight. "I also remember that in the evenings when we left school we would go to play in the meadow. We went through all the dumpsters to pick up things that people threw away and so we made our house to play. One day we went to a dung and climbed on top of it. And what happened? Well, very simple, we sinked to the neck. I came out full of dirt, I came to my house and my mother, in the middle of winter, caught the hose with cold water and in the middle of the corral watered me with water to have all the dirt removed. What tyylings hit!"
"My name is Margarita Bodas Muñoz. I was born in Aldeanueva de Barbarroya (Toledo) in 1971. And I want to tell you that I was born at my parents' house. When I was six, I started school. We lived on a farm five kilometers from the village and we had to walk back and forth because we didn't have a car. "Then the Three Wise Men either did not arrive at the farm or when they arrived they no longer had toys, they practically only had socks, handkerchiefs, panties, gloves, scarves and little else, pens, pens, colors, etc. "When I finished school, soon I went to Madrid to work. I was sixteen and that's how I got my own independence. I saved up and started studying accounting and business administration at the Lamda Academy of Alcobendas (Madrid) we examined ourselves at the San Isidro Institute. Then I made some oppositions at the Complutense University for post and went to work in the Community of Madrid and there I was until I came back to my village with my son, I got married and now I dedicate myself to my house and this has been more or less my story".
"My name is Gabriela Aurica Goroveranu. I was born in Romania in the village of B'rlad in the district of Vaslui, Moldova, in 1972. And I want to tell you my story. I am from a simple family, I have two beautiful brothers and wonderful and hardworking parents who offered me a happy childhood. When I was young and going to school, this was totally different from what it is like now. The children wore beautiful uniforms, they learned well, they knew that respect was very important. Now it's totally different from then on. "I remember the high school was in Sibyl, a very nice city. In high school we wore mandatory uniform, I remember my high school classmates in a very pleasant way. Sibyl's school was very clean and taught many children in all counties. "In high school it was learned and in addition, we had two days of workshops a week. It was very beautiful the time I spent in school and high school."
"My name is Alice. I was born in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) in 1974. And I want to tell you what our childhood in the villages was like. I grew up in Barbarroya's Aldeanueva de Barbarroya. From a very young age I went to school alone, or in any case, with my brothers, then the parents did not accompany us as it does today. On the way out of school, there used to be class in the afternoons, I'd go home for my snack and go all afternoon with friends. There were no homework, no cell phones, we spent the afternoon playing and we had a lot of games to play: we played the comba, the rubber, the hideout, the burnt belt, the rescue. "I also remember that the neighbors when they were sewing in the street, if they needed to buy something in the store or had forgotten something, they sent me what was called to do a "recao". Impossible to refuse, respect for the elders was something that they had well instilled in us from home and even if I did not want to… I had to go.
"My name is Laura Barrillo Rivas. I was born in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) in 1975. I live in Barbarroya's Aldeanueva. And I want to tell you that many are the customs and traditions that were made in the village and that over time, they have been lost. "In the month of January, the festivities of our Lady of Peace, known for "Las Paces", are celebrated. In these festivities, the fifths go to the procession, take on their shoulders the Virgin of Peace, accompanied by the band of music and release some pigeons. "When I was younger, I was about six years old, I went with my grandmother hand to the sardine burial, it was fifth that year an uncle of mine; When I saw that I was crying, I started crying too and asking my grandmother why my uncle was crying so much. My grandmother was trying to reassure me, explaining that I didn't really cry, but of course, at that age I didn't understand it."
"My name is Sonia Fernández Bodas. I was born in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) in 1976. And I want to tell you how I ended up living in Barbarroya's Aldeanueva. I, although I was born in Talavera de la Reina and in Aldeanueva de Barbarroya received me very well and I am very comfortable, my dear people will always be Belvís de la Jara, which is where I grew up and I have all the memories of my childhood. My grandfather worked in the countryside, araba and worked the lands, his and others' people's to live. We had pigeons, chickens, ducks, pigs and for a few years, although my father worked in the Town Hall, he had goats, for that reason my relationship with the countryside was very close, and because also, the good thing that has to live in a rural environment, is that two hundred meters from your house is the pasture. "When we were kids, there were no phones, no so many video game machines, we played continuously in the street, to the rubber, to the combed, to pdola, to the gua, to the truque, games that I will remember all my life. We rode a lot by bike, which was our means of transport, to play and go to visit the friends of other nearby towns, and that's how I met my husband, Raul. We met at seventeen, we met on weekends when he came to town, we wrote each other a letter a week and called each other every day. Raul is from Madrid, but he came to town because his grandparents lived here, we always figured out a way or way of being able to see us, they brought us by car some older brother of the group of friends, other times I left my brother his bike until I bought my vespino (which still works). Then I bought my first car, with which we have run many adventures, we were like this until I decided to go to live in Madrid.
"My name is José Carlos Barrillo. I was born in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) in 1977. I live in Barbarroya's Aldeanueva. And I want to tell you how things have changed, we used to go to school alone from the first year, now the parents, grandparents, etc. we have to accompany the children to school, we no longer trust anyone, because of the things we hear and see in the media. "I can tell you that I was going to school in the morning and in the afternoon, now only in the morning and that the parents helped our children with homework, before not, I knew more than my parents at the age of a few. We went out alone to play, now we have to go out with our children for a walk, to the park, etc. "It's a time I yearn for and I want a little bit of that for my daughter, that was freedom and well-being."
"My name is Ma José Rodríguez Fernández. I was born in Aldeanueva de San Bartolomé (Toledo) in 1977. And I want to tell you that I came to this town, Barbarroya's Aldeanueva, for work reasons, which is strange, because most people leave town in search of work. In my case I found it here, in 2009 we bought the Village Pharmacy. "Since then, ten years ago, we have been living here. During these ten years we have formed, my husband and I, a family, have had two daughters who are now nine and four years old. They are currently going to the village school. We are committed to living in the village and here we will continue."
"My name is Vanessa. I was born in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) in 1981. And I want to tell you that the day after I was born I was already visiting Alcolea de Tajo, with only two days to live. "In Alcolea is where the most beautiful things of my life have happened to me. We were very happy, there were no mobile phones, we would go around every house to pick up friends and spend hours laughing and playing. "All my life is linked to the village, my maternal grandparents lived here and what I most wanted was for me to come over on the weekend to come and see them. Then my parents also came and now I live in a farm belonging to Alcolea de Tajo, El Bercial de San Rafael, a site with history and charm, dedicated to making a wonderful extra virgin olive oil, we have animals of all kinds: roe deer, deer, ducks, partridges, rabbits, pheasants. It's great to live here, near my village, where my ancestors lived. My maternal grandmother was born here and now I, her granddaughter, am here again. It seems like a whim of fate. I hope you liked the story of part of my story."
"My name is Teresa Ibáñez López. I was born in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) in 1981. I live in El Bercial de Tajo. And I want to tell you about my early years at school. When I started going to school I was 6 years old, instead, now you go to school at 3 years old. "In my school there were two classes, in one class we were the smallest and in the other the elders. We had one teacher by class, but now in our village have changed a lot the things of school, there are three classes and we have many teachers. "One thing I really liked was that every year the "Compensiated" were held in a nearby village; we were coming together with several schools and doing competitions, such as races, games. It was a lot of fun because then they gave us medals. Another fun thing is that since there was school in the afternoon, the teachers would take us to the countryside in the afternoon to see the things of nature. Now everything is more modern, new technologies are used, there are many teachers, they have more books, they learn languages, etc. I've really enjoyed my school as a child and if I came back the time I'd like it to be the same."
"My name is Annunciation Rodríguez Sobrín. I was born in Toral de Merayo, which belongs to Ponferrada (León) in 1986. I live in El Bercial de Tajo. And I want to tell you that when I was little in my school there was class, as in almost every school, in the morning and also in the afternoon. In school you played a lot, games like the comba, rubber, football, hiding place, etc. We didn't have tablets, no cell phones, just books to read and we did homework, and if you didn't have them done, you couldn't go out in the yard or get punished.
"My name is Marta Barrillo. I was born in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) in 1987.I live in Aldeanueva de Barbarroya. And I want to tell you about my childhood in this town, "my people." "Every time I remember my childhood, I automatically get a smile in my mouth. They are all good memories of a time when the only concern was to study the lesson, which the next day Don José would ask us in class, and thanks to which, before the quarterly exam, you only had to review. Without realizing it, I taught you a study habit, which you would appreciate in the future. "We spent our afternoons playing hide-and-seek, with our wrists, with the ball, in the park…, all outdoors and under a sky where there was pure air and tranquility. It was an era without mobiles, consoles, WhatsApp or so much technology and the only way to interact was to meet friends and go to the square, park, gazebo…, a time when there were children in the streets, when every street you passed there was a run of women sewing and in which, when they turned on the lights of the lampposts, they knew that the time had come to return home. "Today, I feel fortunate to have experienced such a beautiful and happy childhood, to keep the same friends and that from time to time we can have a laugh remembering all the stories that happened to us'.
"My name is Soukaina El Bahi. I was born in Morocco, in Banemellal in 1990. And I want to tell you that I came to Spain when I was 18. Before this I lived in Morocco with my parents, in a small town. I studied at a school in my country up to 4th compulsory secondary education. "In Morocco we have different culture and customs than here in Spain. We are Muslims, we do Ramadan, we pray five times a day and we have two feasts a year, one from the Lamb and one when Ramadaan is over. "We have come to Spain in search of a better life, because here there are more opportunities and the health and educational systems are better. "I live in Aldeanueva de Barbarroya which is a very quiet village, with good people and a good school where my children go and who are very happy to attend".
"My name is Andrea. I was born in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) in 2007. I live in Alcolea de Tajo. And I want to tell you my grandfather's story. He was born in Alcolea de Tajo in 1945. His life as a child was happy, despite not having the things we have today. His parents were humble, they worked in the field, he was in this school, the same school I studied in, from the age of five to twelve. In their day, the children soon dropped out of school to get to work to help their parents. At the age of 22, he was an emigrant. He went to Germany, worked there, saved money and returned to Alcolea to marry my grandmother. When they married they went to Germany, where my mother was born. Because of the circumstances of life they had to go back to Alcolea, when my grandparents and my mother went to live in Madrid. In Madrid they lived 11 years. My mother tells me that she had a very nice childhood but my grandfather, as a good alcolean he was, decided to return to his origins and since then they have lived again in Alcolea, where I live with my family."
"My name is Lucia. I was born in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) in 2007. I live in Barbarroya's Aldeanueva. And I want to tell you that I like my people, I go to school, I play with the classmates, the teachers are very nice. There are few children and I wish there were more children, if there was a cinema and a burger. We have a park to play with, but I'd like it to be a little bigger. It's very nice in the village."
"My name is Lucas Muños Weddings. I was born in Madrid in 2008. I live in Barbarroya's Aldeanueva. And I want to tell you my story. I came from Madrid when I was two years old. When I got into school and started making friends. I remember playing buckets and shovels when I was three years old, at recess. When I started playing football I was four years old and I wasn't very good at it. When I turned six, I was doing nothing but playing football. When I turned seven I was still playing a lot of football, but I started to like reading books; I could spend hours and hours reading and I couldn't get tired. He also played a lot of hide-and-seek and pédola. I'd say the worst thing I'm given is drawing. Then I started playing games on play, it wasn't bad. Almost every afternoon my friends and I stayed to play football. I'm told I'm good at singing, also making people laugh."
"My name is Daniel Arenal Fernández. I was born in Belvís de la Jara (Toledo) in 2009. I live in Barbarroya's Aldeanueva. And I want to tell you my story and how I'd like the people to be in the future. I was born in the village and although I have not lived in a city, I do not think I would either, because of the noise, the pollution, it is overwhelming and does not cool. I wish there was a movie theater and a recreation room in the village. In the future I would like to live in the village."
"My name is Marta Rosa Rodríguez. I was born in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) in 2010. I live in Barbarroya's Aldeanueva. And I want to tell you that in the future I would like you not to have to move to other cities to look for work, that the school continues to maintain but with more children, that more people move to live here, also that there be more extracurricular activities such as football, gymnastics, paddle tennis, etc."
"My name is Carla Barrillo García. I was born in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) in 2012. I live in Barbarroya's Aldeanueva. And I want to tell you that in a few years my town will have many parks, more chuches shops and a big free toy store where all the children can play. "I imagine super happy, happy, playing in the street with my colleagues and friends of school, riding a bike. I would like to be a singer and teacher and teach here in this school that I like a lot and where I have a great time".
"My name is Jorge Velasco. I was born in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) in 2013. I live in Barbarroya's Aldeanueva. And I want to tell you how I look in the future. I imagine that, like the rest of my teammates, in a few years, if we want to continue studying a career, we will have to leave the village, some will be able to come and go, and others will end up living in another city by the distance. Whichever option we choose, I would love to stay in touch with my colleagues, that even if we separate and end up doing our lives, each on our side, we will never lose the bond of union that is Aldeanueva.