January 10 marked the 10th anniversary without María Elena Walsh. Creator of the songs that made my childhood musical, I once came across her in the Norte supermarket (now Carrefour), in Beruti and Austria. I would be, I don’t know, about seven or eight years old. It was my dad, quick on reflexes, who recognized her: “Paula, Paula, it’s María Elena Walsh!” I was paralyzed like every time I suddenly met someone I loved: José Luis Chilavert, my Vélez idol, I saw him in a shopping center at the peak of his career; I greeted Serena Williams, an American tennis player, through the window of a car, when she was returning by van from playing the Fed Cup on some courts in Pilar. One thing is the idol through a cassette or a screen and another is to see it live, definitely.
When we approach Maria Elena Walsh there were no cell phones for the photo. It occurred to my dad to ask for an autograph. He had a pen, he always has a pen in his pocket, an accessory as important to him as his ID, keys or a spotless handkerchief. But paper? Where could we get at least a bit of it? In those years, the 90s, books were sold in supermarkets. They were on the second floor, which was accessed by a ramp. We ran faster than Usain Bolt. We searched, but there were no books Maria Elena Walsh, yes, instead, there were Quino’s: Mafaldas.
It was not me who spoke there, in the middle of a gondola, to the creator of Manuelita. “María Elena, how are you, would you mind signing an autograph for us on this book … by Quino?” My father dared, a genius. Glup. What will he say. “Yes, of course, of course,” she replied, so loving she, shopping. At home, we still have the Twist of the Plain Monkey, the Gulubú Witch and the Batata Queen, those songs and all the others, the same ones that I sang and danced when I was little and that, now, quite grown up, I continue singing and dancing To the laughter and happiness of Achilles, my two-year-old baby, who looks at me as if he understands that this childhood universe that is now his at some point was also mine.