i talk with my mom every sunday to catch up on the week & chit chat about family. i've learned to never ask my mom about history, there have been times in the past when my timing was off & the tongue lashing i received has severe. mind you there's no knowing when timing is good or bad, so i've just gone with don't ask...EVER.
today when we talked for some reason she went back & told me stories i've never heard about my family. i knew my nana was born in abq, texas 1920, we'll never know what brought her to california though. i now know nana's mom (nena) died at the age of 52 due to pancreatic cancer.
nena had a small house in imperial. when she died my grandfather only let nana take a few momentos from her mother's house. my grandfather ended up having to pay nena's burial expenses, this caused many future arguments between them.
my grandfather had stunning blue eyes & light hair, although he was of hispanic heritage. it's rumored he had another family in mexico, but we will never know the truth. nana's take on it - if he had another family, it wasn't going to change the way things were, he would never divorce her.
nena had come to california with her 2 daughters, nana & aunt jane. it's not known how she made money to pay for things, but she often translated & wrote letters for others. she was fluent in english & spanish, written & spoken.
nena's husband had worked for the railroads back in new mexico. they moved to follow his work. at some point she discovered he had another family at the other end of the railroad; she told him to leave & never return. we don't know why or whom she came out to ca with, only that it is said they were working in the arizona fields when haley's comet passed (1910).
nena was a good cook, she had learned things from the kitchen help in her mother's inn in san fran. nena's mom was from mexico, she met a red haired irish man who was in the merchant marines. he brought her up to san fran & married her. he set her up in a little place where she could rent rooms out for an income to live off of while he was away.
nena's mom left san fran after the earthquake hit in 1906. she said the city was on fire & i guess she thought it would burn to the ground, so she returned to mexico. somewhere along the way in new mexico nena decided she would stay. nena's mother's story is unknown beyond this point. it is assumed the red haired irish man returned to san fran at some point & was unable to relocate his family again.