After a long wait of nearly six years, conditions had been created for a return to Portugal without risking being accused of escaping the army. In that summer of 1974 it was decided we would take the trip and fly to Lisbon. With us the new baby that we would introduce to great grandparents, Joseph and Pat in London and Bua in Lisbon. Great-grandfather quickly gave the baby a nick name. He became “Barbershop” as he sang himself to sleep.
It would also be the opportunity for grandparents João and Pamela in Lisbon to meet their first grandchild John.
Besides all this, a return to a country that was still celebrating and where everything seemed to be possible. The revolution was on its way and nobody would stop it! Mistakes were made and consequences were laid on those who most probably were innocent. But the fear of things going back was there, as were the demands for nationalizations of all types of production. Like all other revolutions things tended to go to extremes. Many people that had businesses were seen as supporters of the recent regime. It was obviously not so.
We were met by my father at the airport, who said- This cannot go back!!!!
But before that landing, the pilot gave us the grand view, which is standard when coming from the north and landing from the south. The plane turns over Lisbon and gives the passenger the opportunity to see this beautiful city across the Tejo’s majestic estuary, the long Caparica coastline to the south and then across the whole city for a landing practically spot on it.
For the first time there was no fear from passport agents, instead a smiling welcome. Benvindos! Suddenly a uniform was something positive. Things had indeed changed. The emotion of this return was strong and I am not capable of putting into words the extension of these feelings.
Grandpa and Patricia went off to the Finanças and returned in triumph with the important papers they needed. We walked towards the center of Lisbon and Grandpa showed us places where he had lived and where our dad John had stayed as a child and had enjoyed.
Grandpa discovered that Mr. Joaquim was still standing behind the counter in the small shop on top of the Monte Olivete Street. We went in to the botanical gardens on the opposite side and looked at butterflies and learned about their lives under the supervision of Grandpa. After that we took a well-deserved rest before continuing to the Baixa where Grandpa and Patricia bought shoes for the visit to Amadora.
In Baixa we ate large sandwiches and carried on, towards the Tejo River.
The river was thick with fish and not even Grandpa could explain what they were doing there. But it was a strange sight on all accounts. The evening was rounded up at the Alameda with a show to commemorate the century of the Republic, with artists from Brazil, Cape Verde and fado singers from Portugal. Last of all appeared the legendary Carlos do Carmo whose career and life had been followed by Grandpa through the years. We did not get to bed until one in the morning!
We are really getting lazy in the mornings now. It is all because of the late nights… Naturally this does not apply to Grandpa, who got up, put on his new suit and was picked up by a car that took him and Patricia to Amadora. There he was received by a whole bunch of politicians wanting to show him the parks of Amadora and at the same time eager to collect information about the Aquapark in Sundsvall! They ate for a long time and received the town’s medals. While they were gone we played cards and solved crosswords (a Liv specialty), it got really late before we caught the bus to Belem! We could then visit Jerónimos, The Culture Centre and the Monument to the sea voyagers as we looked up to see the airplanes landing one after another, on their path, right above our heads. After a long walk we sat down for a meal just beneath the 25th April suspension bridge. Butterflies at the Jardim Botanico.