May 17, 2022 8:30 am

Santa Rojo dies, the inveterate reader of Urda who learned to read at the age of 70




In her small living room, sitting on her sofa with a book in her hands. This is how it was common to find Santa Rojo Navarro, the inveterate reader from Urda (Toledo) since she learned to read at the age of 70 thanks to Maleni, her teacher at the adult school.

But she passed away last week being a nonagenarian and the municipal library of her town has paid her a small tribute on her social networks. Because this hard-working and fighter woman from her childhood was considered her ‘hada madrina’ and had been his oldest reader.

Santa said that reading and doing accounts was what I wanted to learn since I was a child, but «life made her born in a world in which girls became women by working, not playing and training».

This is how the librarian, Mariví Sánchez, remembered it, asking that the books have “large print”.

At the age of seven he went to the fields to harvest with his father. He also made picón, firewood, picked olives and harvested them, Mariví recounted. «She was going to pick olives alone with her car and her mule. Many years later, when she was tired of going out to the fields, she looked for another job that was less abusive to her body. She spent her last working years as a domestic worker in a house and cooked for twenty-four or thirty people…».

In 1994, Santa became a member of the library, where he went every two weeks to check out books. “Like great readers do”, wrote Mariví in 2012, when the library paid tribute to her on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Since he learned to read, Santa did not take a nap. After watching the news on television, he sat in the living room and began to read, something he repeated every night until after twelve. “Her passion for reading was such that we made her a regular contributor to the Protagonistas program on ABC Punto Radio Toledo and, every week, she would tell us what story she was immersed in in the most natural and friendly way,” recalls journalist José Manuel Carpintero, reporter in the television program ‘Madrid Directo’.

“Now you have all the books at your fingertips, Santa!” Carpintero says goodbye in the lines he has written to him on his Facebook account. “Thank you, Santa, for all the good things you have provided for us. Rest in peace, surrounded by many books”, they wish you from the Municipal Library of Urda, your bastion of dreams.

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