By Pedro P Morejon
HAVANA TIMES – Cuban TV broadcasts a show called “Cuando una mujer” (When a Woman). I recently watched an episode. It told the story of a family where three generations live under the same roof, which is very common in Cuba today. The story begins with two couples (an elderly and middle-aged couple) eating lunch.
They are talking about the elderly couple’s granddaughter and the daughter of the adults, who has just finished her University studies. According to the conversation, she is a brilliant young woman and has a good relationship with her boyfriend, who has also just graduated and they know his family. In short, nothing to complain about.
The conversation turns towards her immediate future and they say that she shouldn’t get married for now, at least, as they don’t have the conditions needed to live together. The mother intervenes to say that they have always supported her in everything. At that point, the young woman interrupts the conversation and gives the big and unexpected news that she is in fact going to get married.
Everyone is shocked, but her mother begins to back her up immediately. She says that if “the girl” is going to get married, she can’t sleep in her room because it is small, that some adjustments will need to be made.
The daughter then had a Solomonic idea (that suited her, of course). The grandparents would move to her room and she would move into their room which is more spacious. Naturally, the elderly couple opposed this idea, first arguing that their bedroom furniture set wouldn’t fit in such a small room. The young woman then came up with another solution: the grandparents would move to the garage which “is fine”. It just needed fixing up and cleaning a bit, and then there would be space for everyone.
“If the garage is so nice, why you don’t you move there with your boyfriend?” replied the old man.
“Grandpa, because I’m the one getting married,” the young woman replied, hurt apparently.
A dilemma broke out at that moment and the family tried to find a solution.
The mother, who is the elderly couple’s daughter-in-law, pressured them to give in. On the other hand, they opposed the idea of being moved out of their room.
The father, who is their son, and had seemed to be on neither side up until then, finally intervened, reminding his wife that when they were young, his parents accepted her into their home, treated her like a daughter and raised the girl so they could both work, that these old people had built this home with a lot of sacrifice and so didn’t deserve to be treated in this way just to satisfy the daughter’s expectations and wishes.
Luckily, justice won out and the elderly couple didn’t have to leave their room.
I must admit that my blood was boiling the whole time I watched the mother and the young woman and their attitude, especially when you bear in mind the fact that the house belonged to the grandparents. If she wanted to get married, then she could but then she would have to look for a place to live or go to the home of her boyfriend’s family, not putting anyone out, much less the grandparents who had raised her.
However, beyond the emotions that the story and the end (happy, in my opinion) might have stirred in readers, the show exposes two realities in our country today: The serious and well-known housing problem, where many generations live under the same roof; and the other, which is a lot more serious in my opinion because of the morale it reflects, is the lack of consideration and respect that I’ve seen young people have for the elderly for years now, as well as young people who are not so young anymore.