Tunnel of letters
Benedito José Brabo Pantoja
After more than twenty years, since the end of the Course, I try to meet my teachers from 82 to 87. I enter the now Institute (once was a Center) of Letters and Communication and start with the classic Albeniza Chaves, with an irreproachable finesse, always showing an attitude upright, like someone who has practiced ballet in the past. Renitent, he did not admit that words like “cousa” could have been archaic. I can’t find it. I open a door at the end of the corridor, but I can’t see the good square Rômulo, from the Language
Latina, admirer of the feathers of Tito Lívio, Plauto and Petrônio and fan of card of Cícero, the Roman speaker, famous for his catilinarians.
Mestre Rômulo, from time to time, offered his students jokes in the hall with subtle outcomes; some, a little bit licentious, as Albeniza would say, referring to Bocage’s erotic poetry.
I am now walking through pavilions H, I, J and L, the main stage for the writing of letters. I see that they, built in an improvised way, contributing to consolidate UFPA once and for all in the
Campus do Guamá and thus realize the dream of visionary Silveira Netto, honored even in the denomination of the current University City, they are now equipped with air conditioning units and lined with PVC plates, not even reminding the warm rooms dominated by inconvenient noise from the propellers of the tired fans fixed to the ceiling made up of boards cut in marupá, from the times when this wood still inhabited the Islands region. Provisionals, in fact, are here to stay. However, I also don’t find the friendly Lurdinha and Claudete, the friendly
Joaquim Nepomuceno and the funny Le Bihan, with his French accent, who prided himself on having practically in the backyard of his maison en France, as a boy, the famous cave paintings of Lascaux. Coincidence or not, he would later become a professor of Art History.
Where would eccentric and disciplinary Isidório Cabral be? Nor do I see Terezinha Nina in her lectures on metaplasms. And what about the competent Célias: Bassalo and Brito?
Who could tell me about the restless and peachy Ciro, the staunch Wanghan and the feared Bassu? No Meirevaldo Paiva, in love, like Donald Duck, for his Margarida. I almost cry when I miss the candy in person, Lucinha Medeiros, who introduced me to the works of Lygia Bojunga and Ana Maria Machado.
How much I miss the young Amarílis (Lila) Tupiassu, expert lady of Eça and of the People (the heteronyms), so attentive to me, of exotic beauty, as classified by Caetano Veloso, who compared her with her mother, Dona Canô, when young.
For a moment, I think I heard the irreverent voice of Ruy Barata, in color, declaiming “O corvo”, by Edgar Allan Poe, in Fernando Pessoa’s well-elaborated translation, as a lesson, at the taste of a good drink from Minister. Indeed, Paranatinga made history
in these stops. I had the pleasure of having some ice cream next to you, at Bar do Parque, after taking a Brazilian Literature tasting.
That’s right! I had the privilege of taking the second call of the poet Rui Barata, on a table at Bar do Parque!
It was a pleasure to hear the old communist in his interventions, which were almost preachy. Little brother (imitating your vocation), you are sorely missed. To regret his absence, I borrow Poe’s famous words, taken from his immortal poem, in the original version of the American writer: Nothing more! Nevermore!
I now experience the strange sensation of the Dead Poets Society. Suddenly, however, I hear someone calling me: it is the inexorable reality that knocks on the door of my nostalgic ramblings. Fortunately, however, when I enter the Rectory, I run into Socorro Simões, in the elevator. Ah, my eyes shine with joy! I almost jump into her arms and shoot her a sure kiss, even forgetting an old gift she gave me: a
suffering R, due to frequency problems, in Portuguese Literature. In the elevator, in this way, I make the happy discovery that some masters survived death or retirement. Later, walking through the Basic catwalks, I meet Cassique, who I compared with Tim Maia. I’m happy to see you. Just not to the point, obviously, of thinking about throwing myself into your arms. There would be too much.
I learn that illustrious names of Grammar are out of date.
In Portuguese language classes, names like Cegalla, Othon Garcia, Rocha Lima, Adriano da Gama Cury and Celso Cunha are hardly recognized. Until I’m not so sad about it. In linguistics, I discover that Saussure, Bloomfield, Jakobson and Chomsky lost
breath for Koch, Maingueneau, Ducrot, Labov and Bronckart, among others. I discover, in Paraense Literature, that students no longer develop researches only on the works of José Veríssimo, Bruno de Menezes, Eneida de Moraes, Dalcídio Jurandir or Inglês de Souza, on whose novel, O Colonel Sangrado, I presented a seminar. They were joined by new personalities, among them my graduate colleague, Paulo Nunes. It was not difficult to see that this boy would go far, since the immemorial times of the Verso and Prose slate, which he captained, in the elections for CAL – Centro Acadêmico de Letras. Others, that already existed, were duly enshrined in the annals of our literature, as is the case of Benedicto Monteiro, Ruy Barata, Acyr Castro, Benedito Nunes, who recently left us, and the master Paes Loureiro, with his esthetic classes that most they looked like conferences.
In addition to the teachers, there is no way I can forget the technical-administrative employees of those times, highlighting two, of emblematic presence in the corridors of the ILC, for their constant good humor: Alonso and Juraci. The first is already retired,
while Jura continues pulling his cigarette puffs on the Institute’s entrance walkway. They were always playing and raising the mood of the students, even in the sacking times of enrollment, in which it was sought to reconcile the number of subjects with the shifts
and schedules, because, at that time, there was no serial regime, but the credit system, a souvenir from the times of the military dictatorship, which, in this way, implemented yet another one among so many mechanisms that could create hindrances to students, preventing them from attend the
semesters in the same classes, thus hampering better articulation in student movements. Well, Seu Alonso was an innate joker, with his tasty Cameta accent that gave him an extra spice in the scenography of the games he played with the student. From old Jura, who is a passerby of Quem São Eles, with his white shoes, symbol of samba and bohemia, I remember that he caught my foot a lot, bothering me, because of my preference (although moderate) for Rancho.
There are many memories; I refer to these, for now, leaving the others for a new opportunity, who knows. But the nostalgia with which I caress those I have listed is enough to realize that I was out of the land of letters for a long time, bound by the arachnids
webs of public service bureaucracy. I return, as if from exile, trying to adapt myself to my land again. Passages through Specialization and Master’s courses serve as an encouragement to this old scribe, as they allow him to walk, once again, in corridors
still impregnated by the pleasant atmosphere of the Academy of the 80s. Certainly, its fragrance will exhale forever through the space-time portal of the letter tunnel.