Grado del Pico is a peaceful village tucked away in the Sierra de Ayllón. To the visitor, life seems to have stood still there. A place where nothing could ever have happened or ever would. In 2018, there is still no public telephone box, no mobile telephone range, no Internet, and no public transport to Madrid, Segovia or Aranda de Duero, the main cities where the villagers could and can resolve health and burocratic problems.
Yet, years ago, going back to the early sixties, goings on did occur in the village and a type of public telephone did exist, which was in fact in the millers’ house, and there was one daily bus service that did take the good people of Grado del Pico to Segovia. The millers’ house was obviously the hub of the village, and at one particular moment in time for more reasons than one, as you will soon understand why from the following.
The story goes that a young girl was unfortunately left pregnant. The father’s name was hushed up, but the wagging tongues spat out one name. The young mother’s family were so ashamed of their daughter and her dishonourable predicament, that they decided to keep her locked up at home until the baby was born.
As soon as the infant was brought into the world in the early hours of one cold November morning, the parents whipped it away from the young mother and took the bus to Segovia where they deposited the newborn in an orphanage. They returned to the village with the burden off their shoulders thinking that that was the end of the story, and that their daughter could finally resume her life.
However, that was easier said than done. The young mother, weakened by the birth and distraught at not having been permitted to see her baby, took ill and remained so for many years to come. Some said she had TB, others that she had gone mad. As a result, she never left her parents’ home, not even to attend school. Her life had come to a halt.
Then, eighteen years later, there was an unexpected knock on her door. The woman, by then in her thirties, opened it and standing there was a serious, but friendly looking man. Before introducing himself, he asked her one simple question, “would you like to see the baby you gave birth to eighteen years ago?” The shock and surprise did not prevent the woman from answering “yes”. “Well, here she is,” was the stranger’s immediate response.
From that day onwards mother and daughter lived together. Slowly, but surely they got to know each other and the daughter got to love and understand her mother when she revealed her heart breaking story. The daughter in turn, told her mother her own heart rending story, which is the following.
After the daughter had spent some time in the orphanage in Segovia, she was adopted by a couple in Madrid where she lived very happily for a number of years until her foster mother took ill and died. This is when destiny took a hand in the story. Following the death, her foster father remarried, but for some strange reason the new wife did not take to the adopted daughter and treated her a bit like Cinderella.
The situation became so unbearable that the girl’s foster father encouraged his adopted daughter to look for her natural mother. So with his help, the pair went to Segovia where after many visits and consultations, they were able to trace her to Grado del Pico.
All that happened many years ago and the girl’s mother has since passed away, but the once adopted daughter, now in her sixties, lives in the neighbouring village of Ayllón surrounded by her children and grandchildren.
Alas, after having written this short story, I learnt that the adopted daughter passed away at the end of August.