Marta García Granero
Pamplona, Spain — September 2005
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In the hills above Pamplona

I missed the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona by a few weeks, but that’s for the best, it seems. Without going into the unpleasant details, let me just say that Marta García-Granero despises the Running of the Bulls. Marta is a respected biostatistician and SPSS expert—and the last person I interviewed for this project. She is of medium height for a woman, with a noble bearing, reddish hair, deep green eyes and a lively sense of humor. After interviewing mainly men of my own age, to be able to interview a charming and intelligent woman, twenty years my junior, was a heady turn of events.

Marta was born in Pamplona, the sixth of seven brothers and sisters, and she values the cultural heritage of her beautiful town in northern Spain on the route to Santiago de Compostela that was walked by so many pilgrims in the Middle Ages…and even today. She values also the gentle people and relaxed attitude toward life in Pamplona that is, once a year, submerged by the waves of tourists who wash over Pamplona to experience the Running of the Bulls during the Festival of San Fermin, while, as Marta says, “leaving their educations behind.”

Marta was born on her father's 40th birthday and she and her father have always celebrated their birthdays together. Her father was a notary, son of a notary who was also the son of a notary. On the maternal side, Marta’s grandparents were aristocrats who, through a series of misfortunes, lost the family fortune. They, like all Spaniards, suffered the hardships and misfortunes of the Spanish Civil War (1936 to 1939), the residual effects of which are felt in Spanish society even today.

A frail child, Marta was often sick with respiratory diseases. When she was ill, she would read a lot. She enjoyed reading in science (and science fiction as well) and remembers that at age fifteen she read Isaac Asimov's "Introduction to Science" and liked it very much. Despite her frequent illnesses, Marta’s childhood was filled with joyful experiences with her brothers and sisters.

All the brothers and sisters used to go in autumn to the forests around Pamplona, looking for mushrooms, and in early summer we took the family cars and went to Roncesvalles valley (a couple of hours distance) to pick wild strawberries.

Marta lived in a house full of books that she and her brother and sisters were encouraged by their parents to read (e.g., Verne, Salgari, Kipling). And when the children were old enough, her parents took the children on vacations abroad, including travels to exotic places such as Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Mexico, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. She also visited Florida on her only visit to the United States. Marta’s childhood was made special by her travels with her parents and by the deep bond and memorable experiences she shared with her brothers and sisters.

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