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My grandmother

The day of her 80th birthday

The day of her 80th birthday

Her name is Esther, but I call her Mama. She is my grandmother and I want to wish her a happy 80th birthday. For several reasons, I cannot be with her on her special day but I want to let her know that I love her a lot, more than she can imagine.

Happy Birthday

"Muñequita linda" a lullaby my granny used to sign me and still signs to my children

She is always present in my first memories from childhood; playing with me and my dolls, or caressing me to sleep while she sang me a lullaby. Her sweet voice singing about a beautiful doll with golden hair and ruby-red lips. Even now, every time I hear "Muñequita Linda" melancholy and a sense of security pervade me. We live in different continents but somehow we have always shared a connection and she always knows how I am even before she talks to me. I used to call her Tenten when I was a child, and that is how my children call her.

She is not perfect, she is no angel. Like everybody else she has her share of sins and bad traits. But she is my grandma and I love her the way she is. And she is a survivor: A survivor of an oppressive society, of an unhappy marriage, and even of earthquakes, car accidents, tsunamis, dictatorships and terrorism. But even though she is a tough lady ‘bullet-proof', she is full of happiness and love.

My grandmother and me.  France 2008.

My grandmother and me. France 2008.

A bit of history

She was born in Peru during a dictatorship that lasted for almost 20 years, until 1945 when Peru had the first free elections in decades. Unfortunately, democracy didn't last long and three years later, Peru was having another dictator in power. Several presidents and dictators followed and the Peruvians had to accommodate themselves to living in times of political crisis where it was not rare to see trucks passing by loaded with dead bodies. Despite political instability, my granny always celebrated her birthday with big parties that lasted several days coinciding with the carnival celebrations. And if the city had a curfew, they just shut the doors and windows and went on dancing all night inside.

During the 1980s Peru endured the Shining Path terrorists. But my grandma, like most Peruvians, just continued their lives without fear, without thinking twice about car-bombs or electricity cuts in the city. She always had a lantern and candles in her handbag, although my brothers and me were not interested in that but on the candies and chocolates that she always had in storage in that bottomless handbag that carried everything, including of course, her first aid kit. About 69,000 people were killed during the 1980-2000 wars between rebel groups and the government. The killings were carried out by the rebels (54%) as well as the military (30%). But in the 1990 elections Alberto Fujimori won the presidential elections and in April 1992, he dissolved Congress, suspended the constitution, and imposed censorship. By September, most of Shining Path had been vanquished.

But Peru has not only suffered from political instability. Our soil and sea are also very unstable. In October 1966 a tsunami affected a coastal belt of 400 Km. long causing destruction along the Peruvian coast. The biggest waves at Callao, where my granny used to live, ranged around 3 to 4 metres. high. Her home was a few metres away from the inundated area. Once again, she had survived!

Peru and my grandma have also seen their share of earthquakes. To my granny's despair, when she went back to visit Peru on 2007, after several years living in America, her visit coincided with the August 2007 earthquake that hit the central coast of Peru. The earthquake measured 8 degrees on the Richter scale and lasted for about 2 minutes. Thankfully for my grandma it was only a fright, but the earthquake killed more than 400 people.

Happy Birthday Tenten

My grandma has been through all the above, and much more. But she has always kept a cheery spirit that makes her look and appear younger. Today, she will be dancing, celebrating her birthday in a big party given by her friends and family. All I want to say to her is «Si te quiero mucho, mucho mucho mucho tanto como entonces siempre hasta morir»

Happy birthday Tenten

Las Mañanitas para la abuelita con amor

"Elle" A French song for a mother

My grandmother aged 25



james lee on March 04, 2012:


junaid chishti on October 26, 2011:

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hapy birthday to your grand ma.

suha on October 13, 2011:

happy birthday to your grand ma

Granny's House from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time on November 29, 2010:

Very nice. My Grandmothers passed away when I was very young. I loved them very much

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on October 26, 2010:

Minnetonka Twin: Thank you, my grandmother really means a lot to me

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on October 25, 2010:

Princessa-Thanks for making my day with this heart-felt story of your grandmother. She is BEAUTIFUL inside and out. I am very glad you shared your grandma with us here at hubpages. God Bless:)

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on December 07, 2009:

Nancy: Yes, grandmothers are the best!!!

DeBorrah: thank you. All the best to you too!

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on December 07, 2009:

Princessa, Beautiful wonderful tribute to your grandmother! Thank you for sharing, Blessings!

Nancy's Niche on February 18, 2009:

What a nice thing to do for your grandmother...Grandmothers are just the best!!!

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on March 01, 2008:

Thanks to all of you for your birthday greetings, my Mama was delighted!

SpringCurl on February 21, 2008:

Wow - a hub for your grandmother. What a fantastic idea!

Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on February 21, 2008:

What a wonderful, inspirational birthday tribute--Felice compleanos--to your grandmother and thanks for sharing this very special woman with all of us.

Wendy, Griffo, bitv, compusmart, Zsuzsy Bee. on February 18, 2008:

To all off you wonderfull friends, I never could imagine that around this time of my life I was going to receive so many greetings from other parts of the world. Specially from all of you. Thank you soooo much.

Rember, live each day of your life as it will be the last of your days. Enjoy Life!

Love you all....

Granny Esther.

Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on February 17, 2008:

Happy Birthday Grandma Esther!

I always feel we do not celebrate our Fantastic roots enough. What a phenomonal amount of knowledge comes in eighty years...Grandma Esther many happy returns

Kindest regards Zsuzsy

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on February 17, 2008:

bitv and compusmart, thanks for the greetings, my grandma will be delighted.

Tony Sky from London UK on February 17, 2008:

Beautiful hub..


bitv on February 16, 2008:


What a wonderful post and tribute to your sweet,endearing grandmother.A maternal lineage.My grandmother was the biggest inspiration in my to my ma.

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on February 16, 2008:

Thank you Griffo, sure she will read your message!

Griffo on February 16, 2008:

Happy Birthday to your Gran..hope she has a great day! :D

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