For Marina’s eyes
My dear granddaughter:
Being born on the day I turned sixty was much more than just a coincidence. It was a gift from you and your parents that not only deeply moved me, but also reminded me of all those who came before us and who, even without thinking about it, determined our destiny.
When a day you read these lines you will know that there was a man with that name, Ernesto Pellanda, that was your great-grandfather; bisnono, as they say in the land where mine came from, which had a son called Luiz. Now you also know why my name is Luiz Ernesto.
Ernesto was born in 1896, on May 19, a few years after Luiz and his father Celeste arrived in Brazil, coming from the Italian Veneto. There was a lot of difficulty in finding work and the region, impoverished by wars, could no longer support its citizens. His mother was called Carlota Belitz, Pellanda after she was married, and she had already been born in Brazil; had Germanic descent and some blood from original people. This is perhaps one of the reasons that led Ernesto, later, to write so many and so beautiful pages about this land and the Italian and German colonization of Rio Grande do Sul.
Born and raised in the interior of the municipality of São Gabriel, he came to the capital early. Here he studied and helped support his family, as Grandpa Luiz had a stroke that left him unable to speak or move with ease during the last fifteen years of his life. That is why I always heard him say that he did not want to grow old, that he wanted to leave while he was valid, so as not to repeat his father’s destiny. But this is the end of the story, and we are only at the beginning.
In the capital attended the Superior School of Commerce, which later helped transform the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the UFRGS. At the time, this course authorized him to be an accountant and to advocate for commercial causes. I think that from this time rests a certain amount of grievance for the unethical and unethical lawyers that he met in his activities in the courts. I don’t remember that he had any close friends who were lawyers, except Uncle Peri, who had been his brother-in-law. This however did not influence the support of his young third wife to study law, a profession she never practiced … but I am already anticipating the facts again.
During this course, Ernesto developed intense activities at Grêmio Estudantil, participating in the making of newspapers and magazines. This was an activity that persisted throughout his life: he always wrote, first for newspapers like Diario de Notícias, where in addition to a daily column on city affairs, he frequently published art criticism notes, both music and painting exhibitions , later and in parallel, for the books he published and for the thesis he defended in a cathedra contest. He was part of the “intelligenza” of Porto Alegre, a group of intellectuals who met at Livraria do Globo, source of so many notable books, from national authors such as Erico Veríssimo, Reinaldo Moura, Mario Quintana, Gomes da Silveira and many others, as well as careful translations of classics like Somerset Maugham, Proust, Balzac, made by these and other “luxury” translators.
Ernesto’s first marriage took place when he was not yet 21 years old, depending then on a process in the “Vara de Casamentos” (yes, there was one in those times!) Where the Judge authorized him to marry in the testimony of five witnesses who declared they were able to do so and the express permission of his father, Luiz Pellanda. He then married D. Carmen de Mello, but had no children. Later, as a widower, he remarried, now with D. Maria Brasil, daughter of Zeferino Brasil, a poet from Rio Grande do Sul much appreciated. With her he had two children, Ério, who was born in 1924 and Enio, in 1926. On one occasion he was assigned to work in the interior of the State, as he was a public servant, with a brilliant career record. While working, his wife fell ill with typhus, a terrible disease in those times when there were neither antibiotics nor chemotherapy, and before they could contact him, she died.
He was 38 years old and was a widower twice when he met my mother, your great-grandmother Elmira, who we all call “Vó Goia”. It was at an exhibition by an Italian painter who had settled here that they met for the first time and in his atelier they talked with his many friends. His name was Ângelo Guido and he was the godfather of the new wedding. After the ceremony, they all went to the source of a field that was at the back of the house on Rua Rocha Pombo, when Ângelo painted a small picture showing the little school where Elmira taught, on Pedro Velho Street, together with a paineira in bloom: it was the month of March 1935.
I grew up on this street, with the name already changed to “Guilherme Alves”, then with few houses, a field where we played football, limited on one side by a native bush where we harvested pitangas, blackberries and other wild fruits. There was a hedge whose flower had a sweet nectar that we enjoyed a lot. The house was full of cousins, especially on Sundays, when an unforgettable lunch of homemade pasta was served, with sauce that only many years later did I know to be called “Bolognese”, but done with a whim that I never found again. restaurants around … It was a ceremony that began on Saturday, with the flour and eggs to make the dough, stretched and allowed to dry until Sunday, when Ernesto himself insisted on rolling and cutting the rounded “cloths”, into which had become the mixed ingredients, to the right width. Sauce was another science apart, which started by browning a finely chopped onion in the frying pan, then the tomato paste and finally the cubes of meat that had been cut before and sautéed separately.
In these few pages I certainly will not be able to exhaust this story, which will deserve many other chapters, that will be opportunities to tell you, for example, how we studied together “Geography of Dona Benta”, which he was correcting each line, on all pages, so much was the written nonsense. In the end it was another book … To tell you also how he was a good companion in the conversations of the long evenings of that time when TV did not monopolize attention, simply because it did not exist. Or because there is a street named after him.
So, until the next chapter!
With a kiss from the grandfather who wants you very much,