Sometimes the stories that follow, “When I was a kid” make me thankful that I wasn’t a kid at that time

There are times when you realize that life in the good ol’ days was pretty complicated, and I am not just talking about walking uphill to school both ways. One of those illuminating moments came upon us while we were out walking our village one afternoon. We came across a neighbor and stopped to chat about the animals, other homes, and the weather. As in normal conversation, one thing led to another, other neighbors joined the circle, and eventually the conversation shifted to birthdays.

It turns out that one of our children shares a birthday with one of our neighbors. Well…sort of. She was born on the same day, but her birth certificate states she was born two days later.

“There has to be a story there!” You say. You are correct, my dear reader, there is.

Apparently in the good ol’ days there was a law that if you did not register your child on the day they were born, by going to the city hall, you would be fined. So the birthday just shifted to the day when you could actually walk in to the city hall.

But not only is the actual date of her birth wrong on the certificate, but her place of birth is as well. Both our neighbors chimed in to explain to us that the “Municipio” (municipality) (see this post) where she was born, the one adjacent to ours, is oddly shaped. Being very long and pointed, intervening rivers and mountains, and the fact that the city hall was all the way on the coast, made the trip to the city hall rather daunting. And a daunting trip is not one which her very tired parents were willing to make in that moment. So instead they took her to the adjoining municipality where the city hall was conveniently located a few miles away. Then they told the officials she was born in a different village than she was.

But wait, my dear friend. There is more.

Come to find out that the name we know her by is not even her real name. Everyone just knows her by her nickname. Under the regime of Franco a law was established making it illegal to give your child any first name other than a biblical name, Mary and Joseph being preferred. Therefore there are generations of people who all have the same first name, and now go by any number of nicknames in order to not be the same as everyone else.

“Your whole life is a lie! But don’t worry, we won’t be going to tell the authorities about your falsified documents!” I joked.


I don’t know, maybe seventy years is too soon.

A map of our Autonomous Community, Galicia with the red being the very oddly shaped municipio were she was born.