The Portugal Years: Fifth Year – Bethy’s Summer (Photo Essay)

Bethy was a busy little girl the summer that she celebrated her second birthday. She explored her world and began to learn to dress herself. At that age, she was all about doing what I did. Scarcely a day passed by that I didn’t find her in the my wardrobe trying to dress in my clothes. She especially loved clacking around the house in my shoes with heels.

Dress up

My friend, Ana Maria, had a son about Elisabeth’s age named André. They played while Ana Maria and I cleaned the house. A large African violet on a table and one day it got knocked off onto the clean floor. Ana Maria cleaned it up in a blink and the violet bloomed more than it ever had.


One of the things that Bethy liked to do was to play on the varanda. The Portuguese mothers taught me  to keep a hat on the children’s heads in the summer. Bethy didn’t always follow the letter of the law, but she got into the spirit of it. She liked to be where she could see people in the street and people in the house. She still remembers our neighbor who worked in her night gown all day. Just before her husband came home, she showered and dressed. She said it saved wear and tear on the clothes.

cover your head

We had a real Portuguese birthday party for Bethy’s second birthday. We invited all of the loving adults in her life as well as the children she knew. The house was full of people, confusion and noise. There were all kinds of Portuguese finger foods, sweets and of course, her cake. It was fun, but it would be four more years before I would repeat it. Tia Lilia was Bethy’s godmother. She wasn’t a fairy godmother, but she could do magic with her professional sewing machine. She made a sailor dress for Bethy’s second birthday. About that time, we learned that the baby we were expecting was a girl.


And today is her birthday once again. Happy birthday to my beautiful and wonderful daughter.