Interview Subject: Margarita Maria Merriton, 13 years old, leading-lady-in-the-making, CounterClockwise: A Blast From The Past Love Story
AUTHOR: Margarita, thank you for being with us today! It’s a pleasure to have you here!
Marg: You are very welcome!
AUTHOR: I hope you’re comfortable. I know that you are used to more luxurious surroundings!
Marg: (smiling and blushing) That is very kind of you,
AUTHOR: You’re now 13 years old in the story. Tell us about what it was like to grow up in Mexico.
Marg: My native country is the most beautiful place on Earth. I loved being a child there! Our village was small, but very prosperous, and full of life. I was taught by kind nuns in school and my friends and I went riding nearly every afternoon.
AUTHOR: Did you learn English in school then?
Marg: Yes, and my mother also hired a language tutor for English, French and German.
AUTHOR: Do you play any instruments?
Marg: (giggling) Yes, the cello and the guitar. But not very well!
AUTHOR: Tell us – what did you think about moving to New York?
Marg: (bit her lower lip) I did not like it at all at first. It was loud, dirty and none of the American girls liked me.
AUTHOR: Why didn’t they like you?
Marg: I was different. My skin is tan, and I wear my hair down unless I’m sitting for a portrait. I never liked their European clothing either. I prefered the brighter colors my mother wore in Mexico. In New York everything seemed to be upside down for me.
AUTHOR: Did you make friends at all?
Marg: (smiling) Yes, finally, I did! One boy and one girl were very nice to me and we laughed together all the time. We went riding sometimes. But I had to ride different in New York. That was all right. I learned quickly.
AUTHOR: Your voice is so pretty, and you speak with just a small Spanish accent. Did that make you different as well?
Marg: Oh yes! The mean children said they could not understand me! Even though I knew they could.
AUTHOR: About your parents. They were different as well. Tell us about them.
Marg: My father was an American officer my grandpapa met in Mexico. I think they did business together buying and selling horses. My parents met at a ball my grandparents hosted and they fell in love at first sight. They were married three weeks later!
AUTHOR: How do you feel about them?
Marg: I love both my mama and my papa! But right now they are having some kind of argument. I’m in Mexico with my mother and my father is still in New York. I love seeing my grandpappa and grandmamma and my village again. And being with my friends makes me happy. Yet, I miss my father. But…..
AUTHOR: But — what?
Marg: My papa was wrong. He hurt my mama. I’m angry at him. Please don’t ask me to talk about him anymore.
AUTHOR: (patted Margarita on the arm) Of course. Do you think you’ll be back in New York soon?
Marg: I don’t know. (she sighed) I hope we stay in Mexico. I love it so much.
AUTHOR: What about the friends you made in New York? Do you want to see them again?
Marg: Yes. I do miss them. Perhaps we can visit New York but not live there again. I never felt it was my home. (pausing) And my Grandmother Gertrude frightened me.
Marg: She stared at me with cold eyes. When she thought I wasn’t looking she’d watch every move I made. I think she was trying to find something wrong with me. (a tear rolled down her face) I heard two of the maids talking. They said my grandmother Gertrude did not believe I was a legitimate child. (more tears) That my mother was a whore!
AUTHOR: (handed Margarita tissues) Here. You didn’t use this type of handkerchief in your lifetime, but these do work I promise you.
Marg: (sniffling and looking quizzically at the thin tissue) Gracias.
AUTHOR: Did you ever talk to your mother about what you heard? Or about your grandmother staring at you?
Marg: No. I was too ashamed to talk about it. I know my mother is a good woman. I know she did nothing wrong. And my grandmother Gertrude hates her. I can tell.
AUTHOR: Is this another reason why you don’t want to live in New York again?
Marg: (nodding) Yes. In Mexico no one says such things. There is love in my grandparents’ home.
AUTHOR: After hearing all of this I’d like to ask you what you’d like to see happen in CounterClockwise?
Marg: I want to stay in Mexico. Perhaps visit New York every year and see my father. I hope he will also come to Mexico. At least for a holiday. I don’t know if my parents will live together anymore. That is for my mother to decide.
AUTHOR: Anything else?
Marg: (smiling now) I hope that I fall in love and get married as soon as possible. I know that I’m only 13 but I will be ready by the time I’m 16. Like my mama.
AUTHOR: These days that’s very young but not in 1840. I will keep my fingers crossed for you, Margarita.
Marg: (laughing) Thank you. Whatever “fingers crossed” means!