Celebrating Maternal Ancestry
I See My Tia
One of my favorite stories involving my Grandmother and her sister involved the trips they use to take together back in their younger years after moving to Hawaii.
My Grandmother's younger sister really was a bush pilot and use to fly all over the Southwest here in the states, Mexico and before they stopped it, Cuba.
After one such trip my Grandmother and her sister weren't on speaking terms for about two weeks, I'm told. Finally one night at the dinner table my Grandmother's sister dissolved into hysterical laughter and nearly fell out of her chair. My Grandmother calmly got up, excused herself and went to Confession.
True story, one of my favorites because sometimes we forget our Grandmother's were once young women. When I think of my Grandmother and her sister ( We called her Tia ) I don't think of them as older maternal figures.
I see my Grandmother as the gutsy young woman she was; she left the Philippines to get away from an abusive husband as well as a Church she felt had far to much control over her life. She took herself and her daughter to Hawaii.
I see my Tia, which isn't hard to do because I look exactly like her...and I'm told I act a lot like her too, flying planes, smoking her beloved Cuban cigars, playing cards and shooting coconuts out of the trees for the hell of it.
I'd like to say my Grandmother was a calming sweet old woman, but she wasn't. She was tough, strong and independent. She wasn't the warmest person in the world, but my God you could count on her to be strong no matter what came her way.
Until the last week of her life she was working her garden and keeping up on her hobbies. As for Tia, she passed away a few months after my Grandmother did. I was told the day she lost her driver's license wasn't as big of a deal as the day she realized she could no longer fly ( which had happened many years before ). I think that broke her, because it was then she stopped being the spitfire she was before. I think all she had after being 'grounded' was my Grandmother and when she was gone...that was it.
Even as they aged they still traveled and saw much of the world, two old ladies taking off for trips to Mexico. Sometimes they'd see someplace on TV and decided to fly there for no other reason then...why not? It looked good. And just try to stop them. You'd have better luck trying to change the rotation of the Earth and I'm not kidding. This was when they were in the 70's for Pete's Sake.
HOWEVER! I think you all are very lucky to have had the women I've read some of you write about in your lives. The women in my life...well...ha, they belong in an adventure movie. No kidding and they'd take THAT as a compliment!
More Maternal Ancestry Pieces
Choose from the following selection and and see how Soul Food Cafe patrons pay homage to their maternal ancestors.
The Watson's - An Australian Story
- Heather Blakey