I lied to the Spanish Police

Tonight is blogapalooza, a monthly event where we get a topic, write a post and publish in an hour. Tonight's topic gave me pause, but you can read it yourself.

"Write about a time you told a lie" (It can be a little white lie, a whopper of epic proportions or something in the middle. Maybe you got caught, maybe you didn’t. Maybe the lie was actually a really good idea. Maybe you’ve never lied in your life or maybe you lie every day.)

I am not a fan of lying as I lived with so many of them in my first marriage. In fact, I am a bit militant about telling the truth. Of course I may not tell a friend I don't like her new outfit, but generally I make a point of telling the truth.

unifor24While pondering this topic one big lie I told popped out at me. There may be others in my life but this is one I really remember. I lied to the Spanish Police.

Let me give you some background information. I spent my junior year studying at the University of Barcelona and living with a local family. Before we arrived there we had spent a couple of weeks of orientation in Madrid.

We were in Madrid in September of 1973 and things were very different then in Spain. If you are a Spanish history geek, like me,franco  you remember that there was a precursor to World War II,  the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. The elected Republic was toppled by the fascist, Francisco Franco.

Franco was buds with Hitler and Mussolini yet he continued to rule in Spain until his death in 1975. Why? Because Spain never declared war on the United States, they were officially "neutral" after letting Hitler's air force practice bombing the Spanish population.1539987-fran8

Franco was that kind of a guy and was not swept out with the other fascists in Europe. He ruled Spain as you would expect a despot to rule. Before we left the University of Illinois we were made acutely aware of the political situation.

My parents reinforced that this was not the United States, this was not a Flower Power campus and to be careful, don't do anything stupid. This was reinforced in our orientation sessions along with other cultural information we needed.

I really wasn't that worried, I knew I wasn't going to be trafficking in drugs, planning a revolution or inciting mischief. That first week I got money Madrid re 2changed, conquered my jet lag and set off for Parque Retiro. I was wearing snappy red plaid pants I had made myself.

Accompanying me were some fellow YAPS. (Year Abroad Program in Spain) We were chit chatting and walking through the park when suddenly two of us were detained by two members of the Spanish Police, and not just any police, The Guardia Civil.madrid re 1

I had been studying Spanish like the nerd I was for 7 years. I knew all about the Guardia Civil, Franco's version of the SS. They had killed Garcia Lorca, one of my Spanish heroes.

I luckily did not cry, wet my pants or even say a word. They were berating us for having walked on the grass which at this time in Spain was a huge transgression which they had warned us about. I thought I was going to spend my twenties in a Spanish jail.

I decided to try and lie my way out of it and play the stupid American card. While I understood everything they were saying, I acted like a silly foreign exchange student with little to no knowledge of Spanish and less brain power.

"No..hablar..el espanish" I stammered out with what I hoped was a bewildered look on my face. I held up my hand and made a puzzled look with my mouth and eyes. Inside I was planning the jailhouse letters I would write to my Mother.

guardia-civil-tricornio1Apparently, I was not the President of the Thespians for nothing in High School because I pulled off this performance. The Guardias decided we were indeed stupid, mocked us for a a couple of minutes while we stood there mute. Finally they shook their fingers, pointed at my feet and the grass and strode off.

I have never been so relieved as I was at that moment. We basically tiptoed away and for the rest of the year, I barely looked at anything green. Barcelona had been the center for the resistance to Franco so I felt fairly safe.

Until I got stopped by the police a second time. But that's a story for another time.

Oh, and stay off the grass.

Remembering my short lived crime spree actually makes me Sew happy!

Want to see what other adventures I have had? Truth is, not too many but I do love quilts! Check out my Facebook page. Like the page and join the conversation!

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Here's a link to my last blogapalooza post.

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at QuiltingSewingCreating@gmail.com

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