Wednesday, June 12, 2013

corner view: europe

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane and curated by Francesca,
where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. This week’s theme is "Europe", and comes from 
Elsa.

Living so very far away from Europe, this was a challenging topic for me. I'd visited England many years ago, but I didn't want to just rehash those old photos from that visit for this corner view post.  In thinking about my connection to Europe it occurred to me that, though I live in the US, I actually have strong ties to the continent. Generations of all sides of my family tree branch back to England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and Spain. They immigrated to the US, some settling and establishing whole new communities in New England (even bearing the family name). The most recent European branch in my family tree comes from Barcelona, Spain. My grandmother and her parents crossed the sea on a ship named The S.S. Buenos Aires and arrived at Ellis Island in NYC. There are plaques on the island bearing their names, to commemorate the landing in their new home. My grandmother was just 8 years old when she arrived and she completely immersed herself in her new homeland. She Americanized her name, taking bits of her beautiful long Spanish name and reducing her identity to just a first, middle and last name (though this may have been something she was forced to do since the US only recognized a  more limited name). She attended Catholic school and looked to the nuns to teach her the English language. She bought herself an American cookbook and taught herself to cook in the style of her new country, though my favorite dishes we'd have at her home were Spanish Picadillo and flan. Yum! Then she met my grandfather, and the rest is family history. I still have a couple of plates, a pitcher and a shawl that she brought with her from Barcelona, and a necklace that she had made from her old rosary and of course, all sorts of stories from that branch of my family tree. She did return to Barcelona in her 20's for an extended visit with family and friends and then became an officially "naturalized" US citizen at the age of 28. My grandmother was Maria de Las Candelas Consuelo Concepcion de Royo y Gonzalez y Gray.

 

14 comments:

Menthe Blanche said...

Your post about your family story is beautiful. Thank you very much for sharing it with us :)

gis said...

She must have been a great lady, and was a beautiful woman! What a life and good family memories.

Li + Belle said...

It was very brave to start on a different continent, a different life. But it was also so much adventure. Today is so much easier and less adventure. Man climbs on a plane and is ... already there.

allthesnoozethatsfittoprint said...

Yes, so many of us in the US have direct generational ties to Europe. I'm glad you brought that out in the CV conversation.

--Tzivia
http://allthesnoozethatsfittoprint.wordpress.com/

Alla said...

8 yrs old... what an adventure it must have been for her! at that age you don't worry yet so everything is just pure fun. Maybe one day you'll make your way to Barcelona? :)

Susanna Redeker said...

wow love your story about europe seen from your grandmothers eye ( well kind of!)

likeschocolate said...

Love these old photos!

:) said...

Wonderful story... and roots. I like to think we have a lot of similar connections around the world...

ibb said...

Beautiful story...you should come to visit Barcelona and find a bit more...;)
Maria de las Candelas Concepcion...is a long name. And if you want I can send you the receip of flan.

jgy said...

Beautiful story and the photos are treasures to go with it! I love all the invitations to Europe that are popping up in this weeks posts! Lucky you to get one from Spain! (smile to ib:))

Reena Walkling said...

Great story ... very brave to begin anew.

fuoriborgo.com said...

what a nice family story about your european roots, and thank you for sharing the photos and memories.

♥ w o o l f ♥ said...

bev, what a delightful post, this bit of your personal history so touching, and tangible. it must be so comforting to hold on to proof of your grandmother's spanish inheritance, close to you. the photos are stunning.
so, is it your mum, with your grand parents in the second image, and your gran in the first?
by the way, love the sound of her full name, i'm only a little upset immigrants were forced to pare their names down!
n♥

Kari said...

it always amazes me how people are connected to places. thanks for sharing your story, your history.
Those photos are precious.