Sunday, July 1, 2007
2 weeks till the Azores
In a previous blog I mentioned that I would be sharing about my g-parents, their story of how they came to the U.S.
My grandmother Josefina Greves was one of 17 children, and the second Josefina born to her parents (the other 1 had died as an infant). My grandfather Antonio Teodosio was one of 12 children (11 biological and 1 adopted sister). They lived on the westernmost point of Europe, on the Portuguese island of Flores. From my knowledge, a beautiful, but poor island.
My grandmother's father Jose (pronounced- ju zeh) Greves had come to the United States , lived, worked, and obtained citizenship in the early 1900's. When he returned to Flores, Azores he married and began a family. His wife Marie Amelia, had no desire to leave her home, and so they lived the rest of their years in Flores.
I wonder how an island so small could hold a man who had seen so much of the world. I am sure that he spoke of his adventures, which put a fire under his daughter Josefina for more.
My grandparent's story isn't a fairytale, they grew up along side each other, and married in 1947. They had 6 children; Violet, Marie, Victoria, Vera, Joe, and Hilda (These are their American names, changed when they moved here. Btw- with exception to Violet, all of my aunts first names are Marie). They continued living in Flores for some years, but my grandmother wanted more, and she made plans to move her family to the Unites States.
On March 19,1961 at the age of 35, my grandmother came to California, leaving her husband to care for their children (ages 12-5), as she established a home for them in the U.S. She found a home, and a dairy job for my grandfather. She borrowed money and sent for her family, who arrived 4 months later on July 31st (their anniversary).
I once asked my grandmother what it was like to go to the San Francisco airport to receive her husband and children. Unfortunately it was an unpleasant trip. My grandmother had been advised to fix herself up as the American women do. My grandfather was livid when he discovered his wife made up with lipstick , dress, and curls. After 4 months apart, he wouldn't speak to her (I think he may have been more upset that she left him with 6 children- aahhhh!).
Through the years my grandparents worked in fields, raised their six children, my grandmother also worked 25+ years for Hunts (yes, tomatoes and ketchup), my grandfather worked in dairies.
They also raised my sister and I (though we were only in there house a few years, theirs was the only consistent home, and the only consistent love we had known). Their family of 8 is now a family of 36, including spouses, 14 grandchildren, and 7 great grandchildren.
In September of 2005 God took my grandfather home and made him new. As my Josie says, " Now Ova (grandpa in portugese) can run, and jump and turn around."
The name Josefina, comes from Joseph which means "May God add." God has certainly added so much to our lives because of my grandmother.