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Monday, October 12, 2015

Family Legacies

My mother (on loan from my other siblings) has been regaling me with stories of her childhood. One of the stories I found fascinating was that she never knew her grandfather. He died in the early 1910s, before my mother was born.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancho_VillaHer grandfather had been killed by a real life guerrilla from Pancho Villa's regime. The motive, according to family lore, was robbery, which makes sense considering they owned property. Villa's forces were often known to demand tribute from wealthy landowners.

This, in turn was how I found out my sweet, soft-spoken grandmother always packed a big, old revolver near her person. I guess I would too if I had revolutionaries riding around my hacienda.

I always knew my grandmother was a practical woman and apparently, fearless too. I've heard other stories when she had actually threatened a bad guy with that same gun while she was home alone with her young children. I never heard conclusively whether she fired or not. Knowing her, she probably scared the crap out of that guy though. No one messed with my grandma. :-)

Another interesting factoid: My mother says she had a hard time understanding her grandmother, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman from Spain. Spanish dialects are remarkably unique to Mexico and Spain. It would take a keen ear to understand both dialects.

I have one small photo of my great-grandmother. She was very old by then, and tiny! She reminded me of a doll in her long flowered frock and ruffled collar, still as svelte as when she was young. 

My grandmother (a young woman at the time of the photo) stood a whole head taller. I guess I can thank my great-grandmother for my lack of height. Alas, I inherited no blonde hair or blue eyes, though occasionally it pops up in a descendant.

Do you have a favorite family story about one of your ancestors?

My mother's memories are beginning to fade, so I treasure the small gems she's able to remember.

***

Speaking of stories with family secrets, I promised my friend, R. Mac Wheeler to mention his 28th book, "6 Ways to Where". You can read an excerpt here.





Just out of curiosity, authors, how many books have you published?





22 comments:

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Love this - "No one messed with my grandma." :)

I've self-published two books - collections of stories - and I've had numerous stories published in various print and online publications.

Stacy McKitrick said...

My great-great grandfather's (Horatio Southgate Rembaugh's) brother (John Alonzo Rembaugh) wrote a genealogy book of sorts (after the Civil War -- in which both brothers fought in). I found it funny how he would talk about their father (my g-g-g grandfather), who was a carpenter in Philadelphia. He tried his hand at making caskets, but apparently never measured correctly. John wrote that the deceased always looked rather squished and uncomfortable. That book was a goldmine in my family research.

As for how many books I have out there published: 4 novels, 1 short story, and 2 anthologies (that include some of my short stories). I doubt I ever reach the number Mac has! Unless, of course, I live to be 100. Then... maybe.

Diane Carlisle said...

Makes me miss both my mother and grandmother. Treasure the moments!

Mike Keyton said...

I love the story about Pancho Villa - hero or bandit, a bit like Owain Glyndwr - depending on viewpoint. Ref publications: Dark Fire - novella via Red Sage, Clay Cross, self published, and twelve short stories in different anthologies. The self published one has already made more money than Dark Fire. I have two of a trilogy ready to go but in two minds as to which direction to take.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

My grandmother died just last year, and my mom found a treasure trove of old photos in her house, but none of them were labeled! My mom doesn't know what half of them are, so I guess they'll always be mysteries.

We did find a box of keepsakes my grandfather (who died nearly 15 years ago) kept in a closet, including a bunch of relics from WWII and a "perfect attendance" certificate he'd held on to from the 3rd grade. That was really sweet.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

You're so sweet, helping me celebrate.

Thanks thanks thanks.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

That is some really interesting family history. My grandfather died before I was born but he was a known runner of moonshine and a bit of legend among a lot of shady folks.

Rebekah Loper said...

My family history is full of immigrants - and not just from Europe to the US.

My paternal grandmother was an Irish citizen to her death (she had her green card), and I believe my paternal great-grandfather immigrated from Scotland. But he also went insane, and I think his second wife murdered him.

My maternal great-great-grandmother immigrated from Norway (my grandmother has her Bible). And supposedly one of HER ancestors was a French princess who ran away to marry the Norwegian man she loved. Though we've yet to actually track down which ancestor that might have been. But it's still a nice story!

Maria Zannini said...

Madeline: I think deep down all mothers turn into barracudas if their children are in danger.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: That's cool that you have someone who wrote a history of your family. I keep hoping my sister will try that. She's the historian in the family.

Re: John wrote that the deceased always looked rather squished and uncomfortable.

That has to go into one of your books!

Maria Zannini said...

Diane: My mother kept getting off topic. I could listen to her talk about her early days for hours.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: That's interesting about your experience with self publishing. Still I think getting published even with a small publisher is good for the learning experience for dealing with editors and those crazy cover artists. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: I tried to label some of my photos. Others I digitize with some sort of descriptive title.

It's very easy to forget who was who.

Maria Zannini said...

Mac: You're welcome, Mac.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: We had a couple of rum runners in our family too. I remember when I was a little bitty kid being told not to say anything about the crates of hooch in the back room.

Maria Zannini said...

Rebekah: Now those are ancestors worthy of appearing in a book! I'd keep those nuggets in reserve the next time you need a colorful character.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Fabulous story, Maria. Women had to be (still do!) so brave. Dauntless women in your family -- it shows!

Angela Brown said...

Not a whole lot of historical talks in my small family. My mother didn't know her father and very little was discussed regarding my mother's people. So much of the hoopla my brother and sister and I make is about our own childhood when we reminisce about mom.

As for the number of books I've published, including my Rayven titles, it's been three novels, one long novella, two novellettes, one short story collection. Then pieces in a few anthologies.

betty said...

Wow your great grandmother seemed like quite a character, lots of spunk! Glad your are having a chance to visit with your mom, I am sure you are enjoying your time with her.

Betty

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: Although the media paints awful pictures, at least the majority of us don't have to defend against insurgents.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: Look at it this way, you're creating all the stories Chipmunk's grandchildren will be sharing about you, their great grandmother, the author. That's a pretty nice legacy to leave behind.

Maria Zannini said...

Betty: There are a lot of colorful characters in my family tree. LOL. I should've written books about them.