I am reading Where the Heart Is by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino. It is the sequel to My Heart Lies South, which I wrote about in a post titled, "Take Me Away to Monterrey". Once again I have fallen in love with Mamacita, the author's mother-in-law. She gives sensible advice with a touch of humor. If we had a "Dear Mamacita" syndicated advice column in our newspapers and a "Mamacita" self-help TV program, I would subscribe and tune in daily.
In the excerpt below, Elizabeth has been worrying about aging and asks Mamacita how come Mexican women age so beautifully.
"It's because we eat oily foods," she said. "What's the use of rubbing oil on your face, and then pushing away the butter and the cream. It doesn't make sense. Put the butter and cream inside, and you'll find that the outside looks better. And then, too," she added placidly, "it is good for one's looks to have many babies."
"I know that you had ten, Mamacita," I admitted.
"And I have all my own teeth, and only a small wrinkle when I smile, and not many white hairs, yet I am now well into my sixties. It is because every time you have a baby, Nature works hard to make up to you for the time and trouble you are taking. I always found it so. And when I look around at my friends, all young-looking and agile after a dozen or so children, and then, you will pardon me, Eleesabet, at the young women of your country, who are worn out after two or three, it seems to me that they haven't studied their medical books very well. I once looked in Papacito's medical book, and it said that since woman is designed for childbirth, she is happiest and healthiest when she is functioning. But I understand," she concluded slyly, "that ladies in your country prefer to be on committees and work in hospitals and get worn out collecting money for political campaigns, instead of lying on a couch reading a nice romance and waiting for the sixth or seventh baby."
In the excerpt below, Elizabeth has again confided her aging concerns to Mamacita. Mamacita tells her not to disturb herself so much because she will tell her a secret:
"You see, hijita," Mamacita had told me, "if you want your husband to think you are gorgeous, just tell him that he is gorgeous. It is curious, but this always works. Try it."
It worked conversely, too. For after all, what makes a woman better-looking than a happy husband?