Ismael González Ramos, better known as the poet of Bajamar, is a man with a long and hard journey. At 87 years of age, he has multiple stories to tell of a life in which he has had to do almost everything. Son of Francisco González Martín and Saturnina Ramos Hernández, he married Antonia Martín González, from whose union 6 children were born (three boys and three girls), 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Actually, Ismael was born in El Batán (Las Mercedes). Recalling his childhood, he points out that at only eight he had to leave school to go to work and help the family. “A hard and sacrificed job as it was to take care of the goats that my parents had. Later, he recounts, when I was 14 years old I was carrying firewood in the bush and then going down to Punta del Hidalgo, with the aim of selling it. At the age of 15, I worked carrying stones and earth on the Tabares farm. Also, I worked in Las Canteras (La Laguna), extracting blocks. In the same way, I worked on Doña Eugenia’s farm, in the banana plantation and in the water well”.
It goes without saying that this man’s childhood was very sacrificed, because despite his young age he had to do the toughest jobs of the time. “Later – he adds – I made the decision to seek employment on ships, where I worked for five years as a waiter and sailor, traveling a large part of the world between Africa, Europe and America”.
At the end of that seafaring adventure, he decided to settle in the town of Bajamar, “where at that time there were only about 60 houses,” he explains. “Almost all the residents worked in agriculture, except for the four landowners who lived there. I have to remember that in the 50s there was still no tourism in Bajamar. In this beautiful coastal area in the northeast of the island of Tenerife, I started working as a waiter at the Nautilos hotel and at Los Tejaditos”.
“Later on,” Ismael González continues his story, “I went to work as a driver for the bus company Vimar. I was in that company for ten years. Once I decided to leave the Vimar company, I worked for 11 years as a driver in Titsa”.
One of the most dramatic events that he remembers from Bajamar, his adopted town, is without a doubt, April 11, 1977 when a great storm hit the town of La Laguna. “However, one of the most affected areas was the coastal town of Bajamar, which at that time was booming with tourism.” Ismael González cannot avoid emotion when remembering that event. “It was a very sad, painful and terrible day for Bajamar, Punta del Hidalgo and the rest of the city of La Laguna. It turned out to be a huge flood. I was in a cafeteria and with my van parked. Suddenly I heard a roar of water coming down the ravine and I ran out.”
“At that time -continues the poet- Bajamar had four hotels: Neptuno, Nautilus, Tinguaro and Delfín Laguna. Faced with this phenomenon of nature, many neighbors collaborate to divert the water towards the sea. It was terrible. Shops and cars were buried by the large stones, mud and water. I think that from there began the debacle of tourism in Bajamar”.
In his youth, Ismael was a good athlete, long-distance runner, and he achieved many trophies and diplomas. “He was still young and wanted to be fit. With the passage of time I liked him and he participated in almost all the races that were held on the island of Tenerife. It was another stage of my life”.
When asked how his love for poetry was born, Ismael González indicates that he began writing poems in 2010. “They were especially poetic narratives dedicated to the Bajamar festivities and to those well-known people already deceased. Also, I wrote a book entitled Coplas de un montañero de los Batanes”.
About how he currently sees his beloved town of Bajamar, he denounces that “the nucleus lacks an ambulatory, a taxi rank, a doctor, a pension, a hotel. In the same way, lighting is needed on the road that goes from Bajamar to Tejina and a sidewalk where pedestrians can walk safely.
Lastly, Ismael González did not want to finish his story without highlighting that on April 4 he celebrated his 64th birthday with his wife, Antonia Martín González. “We have been a marriage sacrificed by circumstances, but happy, where we have formed a team, with the aim of sailing in the same boat and in the same direction for a lifetime.”