Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Meet Juanita...the tenth

This is Juanita the XX, she is over 50, which is 250 in human years. She descends from the Juanita and Pedro line. She still gets up each day and dresses properly for breakfast. She has survived many cat attacks as well as raccoons.

She was born to Pedro VIII and Jaunita IX. This was before we had moved to Apifera, obviously. I found attic insulation on her, which makes me think she lived under the kitchen-above the root cellar where the insulation is visible. There are many secret passages-secret to me, that is-to and from the root cellars into the kitchen cabinets.

To survive this long is rather a miracle. Who knows why one does, and another succumbs to the death trap, or a cat, or natural illness. I guess it is not unlike our human world, you go when you go.

Juanita is proud. Even though she is very arthritic and getting around is difficult, she believes in keeping herself up to date, as much as possible. It reminds me of my mother-who until her death at 87 always took pride in her clothes. I know towards the end it became harder and harder but she always looked sharp, in a down to earth way. Juanita has trouble bending with her humped back, but still manages to keep her silks pressed, and washed.

She has been widowed over twenty times. Mouse marriages are often short, due to, well, death. But she can remember each husband, the first being Pedro Carlo Luiz and the last being a fellow named Frank Simmons. Frank came from a local clan down the road and he adored Juanita, perhaps more than any of her other husbands. He was 20 years younger, but found Juanita's knowledge of the local history entertaining. Frank was an accordion player but switched to harmonic in his later years. To this day, the sound of a distant harmonica always makes Juanita's ears twitch, and she has to remind herself that Frank is gone.