Mi papá fue maestro de escuela, director de las escuelas de las compañías petroleras Shell, en aquel entonces.
My dad was a school teacher, head of the schools of the Shell oil companies, in those days.
Captions 6-9, Emiro - La Historia de EmiroPlay Caption
On the beach in Eastern Venezuela, Pimienta Café proprietor Emiro tells us about his family history. To tell us about life "back then," Emiro uses the phrase en aquel entonces, which might seem to mean "In that then," if taken literally. But this common expression of time is better understood as "in those times" or "in those days."
Note the use of demonstrative adjective aquel here. Remember that in Spanish there are three demonstrative adjectives to say "this" and "that": este, ese AND aquel. The last of this demonstrative trio is sometimes translated as "that...way over there," implying more distance than a simple ese (or, "that"). So you should get a sense that Emiro is talking about what happened "way back when."
In the Columbian television series Los Años Maravillosos we hear the narrator speak of a simpler, more innocent time from his childhood.
Esa tarde salí a dar un paseo.
That afternoon I went out to take a walk.
En aquel entonces los niños todavía podían salir solos sin terminar en manos de un atracador.
Back then children could still go out alone without ending up in the hands of a thief.
Captions 1-3, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1Play Caption
Faithful readers might remember that we recently discussed a similar construction of time. You see, Hoy en día means "nowadays" even though it may appear to mean something like "today in day" if taken literally (and awkwardly). Back in Venezuela we have an example of Emiro using the phase while talking about his wife.
Luego aquí en Adícora conocí a una muchacha de aquí del pueblo, se llama Lizbeth, mi esposa ahora, hoy en día.
Then here in Adícora I met a girl from here in this town, named Lizbeth, my wife now, these days.
Captions 28-30, Emiro - La Historia de EmiroPlay Caption
Trivial aside: It was an interview with two-time Oscar winner Gustavo Santaolla
Trivial aside: It was an interview with two-time Oscar winner Gustavo Santaollathat prompted our discussion of hoy en día just a few weeks ago. Well, the seemingly ubiquitous Santaolalla happens to be the producer of La Vela Puerca's album A Contraluz featuring the song (and our featured word) Zafar. We warned you this was trivia, right?