Los Reyes Magos

©Dora Ficher-Los Reyes Magos; Watercolor, pen and ink on watercolor paper. 8x8
©Dora Ficher-Los Reyes Magos; Watercolor, pen and ink on watercolor paper. 8×8

On January 6, most of the Hispanic world celebrates “El Dia De Reyes”, the Epiphany, remembering the day when the Three Wise Men following the star to Bethlehem, arrived bearing their treasured gifts for the Baby Jesus.

Even though it’s a Religious event, in Argentina, everyone celebrates it as more of a fun, gift giving holiday.

On the night, of January 5, before going to bed we used to put our shoes outside our bedroom door. We would also leave hay and water for the camels, and some cookies for Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar. We would leave the hay and the water near a door or a window left open so Los Reyes Magos can enter.

The next morning, we would wake up and had gifts next to our shoes. For us kids it was one of the most fun days of our summer vacation in Mar del Plata.

My cousins, my sisters and I would sleep up on the 3rd floor and try to stay awake waiting for the Reyes Magos. We would take turns looking out the window. Of course we would all fall asleep while waiting.

As we got older this is what we found in our shoes…

This is what was in our shoes when we got older.
This is what was in our shoes when we got older.
My sister Claudia and me in Mar del Plata. We were 6 and 8 yrs. old
My sister Claudia and me in Mar del Plata. We were 6 and 8 yrs. old
With my grandfather, sisters and cousins.
My grandfather on my mom’s side with my cousin’s, sisters and me. We would all wait for Los Reys Magos. I’m the oldest of 12 cousins. There were only 7 of us here, the other 5 were not born yet.

 

This work is part of my Hiraeth (meaning “homesickness”) series.

To read about it, click here and here .

 

The Barquillero in Mar del Plata

 

Draft of an oil painting I did of the house in Mar del Plata. ©Dora Ficher
Draft of an oil painting I did of the house in Mar del Plata. ©Dora Ficher

There was one thing that all of us kids looked forward to every day at the beach, the  barquillero. A barquillero  is a person who sells a special kind of wafers. But it wasn’t just the wafers we wanted, it was the whole process of getting the wafers.

This is a container with the barquillos with the roulette wheel on the top.
This is the container with the barquillos with the roulette wheel on the top.

The barquillero wallked all along the beach, stopping when he was called like an ice cream man does at the beaches around here, at least at the NJ beaches. The children would spin the roulette wheel that pointed to different numbers from 1 to 4. Depending on the number it landed on, that  was the number of wafers you would get. It was a game we all liked to play every day.

The wafers are made of a sweet baked wheat dough without yeast and sweetened with sugar and honey . The wafers are corrugated but flat and thin profile with a shape similar to a boat, hence its name,”barquillos,” which means little boats.

The Waffers
The Wafers

While we looked forward to the Barquillero, in the same way, the adults waited for the coffee man on the beach every day. He would go around kind of singing…”cafe…cafe…”

Cafetero
This is a typical coffee vendor on the beech.

 

On the beach with cousins and friends.
On the beach with cousins and friends.
Starting to collage memories into my painting.
Starting to collage memories into my painting.

 

This work is part of my Hiraeth (meaning “homesickness”) series.

To read about it, click here and here .

 

 

Summers in Mar del Plata

"Beautiful Memories"  watercolor, pen & ink on watercolor paper 12x16. ©Dora Ficher
“Beautiful Memories” watercolor, pen & ink on watercolor paper 12×16. ©Dora Ficher

During the summers we went to the shore. My grandparents had a wonderful house in Mar del Plata.

My grandparent's home in Mar del Plata
Photograph of my grandparent’s home in Mar del Plata

After school was done in December (Dec. 21st, 1st day of summer), the baúles (trunks) would get all packed and we would get ready to go for the summer. A company called Rabbione would pick them all up.

I remember being at my grandparents house while everything was getting packed as well. They had lots of trunks. They would take everything since we were there for the whole summer.

Screenshot 2015-03-16 17.33.56
The baúl
The baúl
The baúl

 

 

 

 

 

 

They would also take everyone who worked at their house, the cook, the housekeeper and the housemaids. It sounds like Downton Abbey, I said to my mom today. She said “Yes, that’s how it was”. I’m sure it was, but in a much smaller scale. The houses were definitely not as big.

My aunts and uncles would also come. My grandfather, my dad and my uncles  had to go to work so they would leave on Mondays and come back on Fridays. They didn’t stay for the whole 3 months like the women did.

I remember that my grandparents bought me a little chair that they always kept there. It was my princess chair. That’s the 1st thing I always looked for as soon as we arrived.

We spend the holidays there and stayed until right before school started in March.

We would all go by train. I recall the name of the train was “Marplatense”. “The Marplatense”. was all silver and had stainless steel wagons. It had air conditioning and an elegant restaurant. It would take us about five hours to get to Mar del Plata. The most fun on the train was the restaurant.

El Marplatense
El Marplatense

Their house was wonderful. It had beautiful gardens very nicely manicured by the gardener. There were lots of flowers all around and great big trees that we could climb.

mami, claudia, yo-mardel
My mom, my sister Claudia and me. 1954-55

I do remember that the kitchen was big and they had a large commercial refrigerator that looked like the photo. The house was always full of people.

Refrigerator
Commercial refrigerator in the kitchen
"Mardel" Collage, Encaustic, Oil Sticks ©Dora Ficher
“Mardel” Collage, Encaustic, Oil Sticks 18 x 24 ©Dora Ficher
The beach with the cabanas.
The beach with the cabanas.
My dad and me at the beach.
My dad and me at the beach.
My mom and me at the beach.
My mom and me at the beach.
EPSON MFP image
My mom, my sister Claudia and me. 1954-55
La rambla - The boardwalk
La rambla – The boardwalk

 

This work is part of my Hiraeth (meaning “homesickness”) series.

To read about it, click here and here .