Thursday, June 21, 2012
Today was bittersweet as I visited Aunt Mary (Ruiz) Sanderson in Tucson, Arizona. Her beautiful home and gorgeous desert landscaping welcomed us with open arms just like she did. It saddened me to see her aging...she will be 84 years old in November. She is my father's sister and they were 2 years apart, close siblings. Her blue eyes opened brightly when I explained to her that her mother, my abuelita didn't turn 100 years old after all. She hadn't been born in 1900, but in 1901. All her thoughts flew away as I explained the results of my research and we discussed the Spanish immigrant's inability to read or write and all this time most of the family thought she was born June 24, 1900 when in truth, her parents were married May 1900 and she was born June 1901. Her blue eyes were so like her grandfather's: Juan Francisco Silvan Hernandez even though her parents both had brown eyes. The Spanish influence had their way with her and she is a lovely lady. What a special day we had and sharing Mom with her was so nice. They were once sisters in law and spent their youth together among all the memories. She misses her siblings -- Aunt Millie in Woodland, Uncle Frank in Grass Valley, Uncle John and Aunt Carnie in Winnemucca, Aunt Antoinette and Uncle Tony in Woodland and then Aunt Rita all the way to Battle Creek, Michigan... So many brothers and sisters spread so far apart. Another BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY wish that they could all see one another but it's not to be... She is quite excited that I will be in Fuentesauco and Malaga soon... and then I can finish our Silvan story about my own abuelita! Butterflies in my stomach for September!
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Here I am now living in my new home in Arizona getting ready for a moving van to bring our worldly belongings with unpacking ahead of me and a Gonzales family reunion looming on the horizon. And I can't go! It would be a perfect time to meet and greet my cousins whom I've met and those I would LOVE to meet. July 14th and I think it's in Winters. What a wonderful reunion I'm sure it would be and how I wish I could be part of the fun. One of my big wishes would be to meet and give a very big hug to VICTORIA GONZALES WEBER. She is a delight to talk with and I love her across the miles. And my new cousins, Pattee and Linda! Delightful ladies and anxious to see more of them now that I'm sort of on the west coast --- so much closer than my Virginia home. And then there's the cousins I have yet to meet who have been so friendly and open to me as I prepare for the Silvan and Ruiz books now in progress: Felix, Julie, Judy, Vicki, Joe, Chrisina, LuCinda, Kathy, Kelly, Anna, Jeri and more and more. What a fun and exciting time I'm having with these new cousins and one day, I SHALL be part of the family where I can give my hugs for real instead of over the internet :) If there is any way I can figure it out...maybe a miracle will occur (I do believe in miracles) and I will walk across the lawn toward the Gonzales cousins with my camera in hand! PS....
Friday, June 15, 2012
I am on the road between my old home in Virginia and my new home in Arizona --- and I received a contact email from http://www.ancestry.com/ from another Ruiz cousin. No time for in depth response but excited to know I will add another Ruiz cousin *Jeri* to my files. I can hardly wait to get my study set up in my new home and get back to my genealogy. Until then, I'm in Tennessee with 3-4 more days to go. And I am exhausted!!!
Sunday, June 10, 2012
What to do with Saffron? Packing all my spices and going through kitchen cupboards culling out the things I can do without as I prepare my move from Virginia to Arizona, I found a tiny square bottle of Spanish Saffron. Ah, the memories it invoked. When I learned to make Paella and realized Saffron was a big part of the ingredient list, my friend (Caroline) and I had to have it. La Tienda in Williamsburg, Virginia has a wealth of Spanish products and once I began looking over their shelves I found not only Saffron, but bits and pieces of the Spanish culture that I feel so connected to. There are two types of Chorizo? And all that Spanish wine filled an entire room! One day a table was set up with a lovely white linen cloth; wine bottles and corks littered the table. "Cava?" the man said. "Si, senor" was my instant response as he handed me a glass of golden bubbling heaven. I held my own bottle of Cava, a tiny jar of Saffron, a bottle of garlic in some sort of water that I swore did not taste like garlic at all, an intriguing Spanish cookbook while Spanish music littered my head, I walked out the door, I knew I'd remember that day like it was yesterday. And today as I lifted that Saffron in my hand to drop into the awaiting packing box, I stopped and smiled and remembered. I can hardly wait to get to my new kitchen in my new house, remove it from the box and permeate my new kitchen with Paella scents and smile again. It will be a memory I will create as I continue to chip away at the sadness of losing my dad and hope the food and wine will also add a cheery reminder to mom that life goes on. And dad would want her to enjoy each day, each adventure and remind her that each memory keeps him alive for all of us. And cooking is mom's best friend..... in fact my friend (Steven A) told me recently after hearing about mom's Chorizo Empanadas, that she is definitely an honorary Spaniard and I do agree with him wholeheartedly.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
MY LETTER FOR MOM AND DAD'S 56th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. MY BROTHER, STEVEN, READ IT ALOUD DURING THEIR PARTY
(photo: Dad, Rick, me and my Mom, the bride)
MY WEDDING DAY ~ June 24, 1955
I see the picture in black and white but my memories are in vivid Technicolor. The day was bright, hot and happy. Mama bought me my own wedding dress, the same color as hers, yellow. Yellow is her favorite color and even though mine is pink, she suggested both of our wedding dresses be the same color and who was I to argue? A beautiful wedding dress of my own? She said my new father was marrying all of us. Me, my two brothers and Mama.
As I think back to that day, a mere fifty-six years ago when I was eight years old, I can feel the yellow dotted Swiss gathered skirt under my fingers. Bumpy and beautiful. And the slip was white organdy, falling in several ruffles down the front where the yellow skirt parted and opened to allow the slip to show in all its glory. It made a crinkle sound when I walked and I closed my eyes and listened and smiled. New panties, new socks and new shoes too.
And I wore my Easter hat. It fit over the top of my head like it was made just for me. Little yellow flowers adorned it and Mama plopped it over my very curly hair. She was quite the wild woman in those days trying to keep my hair tightly curled to match hers. It never did hold and still doesn’t follow in her naturally-curly gene pool as so many other attributes I received from her bloodline.
In this picture, I look very sober but I was gurgling with happiness inside because Mama smiled so much and my new father made her laugh too. Instead, the photographer probably caught me in between a smile as is the case to this day. I guess I should be happy I didn’t have my eyes closed or my mouth open? Ricky, as he was called in those days, smiled and laughed. He got new clothes too but not nearly as beautiful as my glorious yellow wedding dress.
Seeing Mama and my new father standing in the front of all the wooden benches with my cousin, Lynette and her husband, Del, beside them seemed far away from where I sat with Ricky and my Auntie Dorothy. I could see the strange man’s face, Reverend Hudson, but only the backs of the four others as they listened to his words. I heard Mama say, “I do,” and I grinned back at Auntie Dorothy as she watched me steadily through the ceremony and smiled at me every five minutes.
Then it was over and we followed everyone out of the Christian Church and I could hardly wait to be part of the rest of the day. I’d been careful with my new wedding dress. Not a crease or smudge of dirt was allowed near any of it! So, imagine my dismay when the party went on without us! What? It was no place for children? I thought it was our party too. Nevertheless, I do not have any memories of the reception and neither do my brothers, Ricky and Stevie.
Now, we are Rick, Steven and Patricia. Now, they are Mom and Dad. The memories remain vivid and Auntie Dorothy is no longer alive, but that special day fifty six years ago will always touch my heart and remind my soul about love, commitment and honor by these two wonderful people who have made such a difference in our lives.
Lovingly from across the miles on this special occasion, I remain an appreciative daughter,Patricia