Francisco Palomares (my father) was born in Úbeda on January 11, 1917, he had a difficult childhood since at the age of 7 he was orphaned as a father, which motivated him to combine studies with work at such a young age.I had to leave school, being the oldest, I had to help my grandmother with her work, who was left a widow with 1 son and 2 daughters, and few financial resources.
After a few years he began to work in the Sola straw factory on Trinidad Street (photo at the beginning), from a young age he knew the harshness of this esparto work, a rough and hostile fiber that lives in our fields.
Later the factory was moved to new facilities on the way out to Linares. My first memories are already from that time, my father had cracked and calloused hands at that time, motivated by the manipulation of esparto grass.
I remember that there was a kind of shallow pool in which the esparto grass was submerged.
I remember the harshness of the job in winter especially since to get the esparto out of the pool you had to break the ice, and how the hands were after this task and later work with a particularly hard material under those conditions.
I remember how I accompanied my mother many days to bring her food since in times of heavy work I did not have time to go home to eat.
I remember when he took esparto home, to make a basket, extending his working hours until late at night and having a few more reales come in to help support the family.
I remember my father hours and hours in the sacrificial and arduous work, destroying his hands with the coarse fiber of the esparto.
Surprisingly, the company presented what was then called a "crisis file", the first step in filing for bankruptcy. Reason that made my parents consider that the best thing for their future and especially that of their children was to emigrate.
In 1963, the whole family left for Madrid, and my father's hands were recovering, so when we returned to Úbeda on vacation, the family members would tell him “Francisco, you have the hands of a young man”, they were no longer the hands of an old-time espartero .
It has been 25 years since he passed away, let this be a small tribute of gratitude to the one who fought all his life seeking the best for his family, not hesitating to leave the place he loved the most, Úbeda, his town.
Alfonso Palomares Cabrera