In the spirit of Halloween, here is previous entry from my family story archives.. Tune in later for part II, if you dare...
The Curse of Tia Virginia & Maria Picansa
Our step grandfather, whom we will always know and call, our Avo—(Grandpa), often warned us about the fate of Maria Picansa, as well as the ill demise of his beloved sister, Virginia, both of whom were victims of a curse of jealousy.
Maria Picansa was a “party” girl. Now, party, is not the description we may use in modern terms of today. We will just say, that Maria was a girl who never missed a “festa” or a bullfight. She was a very beautiful woman, who always smiled at all the men that would pass on the street. Needless to say, she was “easy” in the words of our grandpa. (The description of “easy” in Grandpa’s terms is that she smiled too much, danced too much, laughed too much, drank too much, and wore dresses that were at the knee.) Needless to say, most girls in the village did not like Maria because she stole away their boyfriends. The sad story is, however, because she was “easy”, she never took any of her suitors seriously, and therefore, none of them took her seriously, and she was left unmarried, and forced to live alone with her mother. In Grandpa’s eyes, this is a very sad story, and did not wish for any of his three grand-daughters to be left in that predictament. Of course, there is nothing worse for a woman to be alone---according to Grandpa.
So, during the summer, when he would see me and my sister and cousin prancing about on our way to a festa, or a bullfight, or to town, he would warn us not to smile too much, giggle too much, or bring too much attention to ourselves, warning us the ill fate of Maria Picansa. We of course thought it was a joke, and we laughed it off. But, the story of Maria Picansa still stayed in our minds. Even my sister named her dog Picansa as a living tribute to grandpa. We all knew that the story of Maria was similar to a another story..the story of Tia Virginia.
Like Maria Picansa, Tia Virginia was a happy fun loving girl. She was one of the oldest girls in the family, and often spoiled her younger brother, our Avo. In her teenage years, like most girls her age at the time, she enjoyed going to the festas and the bullfights on the island. It wasn’t long until she had a handsome suitor who would come to her house every Sunday and Thursday to her window. Let’s call him, Armando.
Armando was a very handsome young man who came from a well to do family who lived on a hill. He was continuing his studies soon overseas in Lisbon, and his future was, let’s say bright. He very much enjoyed Tia Virginia’s company, and indulged to her and her family that he would one day marry her when he returned from Lisbon. Of course Virginia and the family were very happy to hear of these plans, and Virginia went on to tell all her friends about it—which proved to be a mistake. Virginia evidently had a friend who was madly in love with Armando herself…and, according to Avo, that is when it all began.
Lucia invited Virginia to her house to spend the night. They planned on making cookies that evening, do some needlepoint later, and take a walk near the ocean. (Highly social activities of the time). Virginia and Lucia had a good time talking, and giggling and discussing Virginia’s future. Little did poor Virginia know that Lucia and her mother had other plans. According to Avo, a curse was put into Virginia’s drink, a substance of various herbs that would change Virginia’s life forever.
Come again next time for the exciting and unpredictable conclusion of Virginia’s curse.