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Showing posts with the label family stories

Things I Know About Daddy’s Younger Years

Being that July is Daddy’s month, many of my posts this month will be about him. Today’s post is the first, about his early life. I wish I knew a lot more. We both were born in the lunar year of the Snake, Daddy, 48 years before me. Daddy’s baptismal document, his only formal proof of birth, was written in Spanish. It states that the infant being baptized on July 25, 1905 had been born ten days earlier.  Daddy was baptized on the feast day of St. James, aka Santiago. I speculate that Daddy’s parents may have named him such because of the day.  It is possible that my grandparents also chose Santiago because that’s the name of their town. Santiago, Ilocos Sur, along the western coast on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. In my whole life with Daddy, we celebrated his birthday on July 25. Did he know his real birthdate? I can’t recall. He did enjoy celebrating his birthday with a big traditional Filipino party, that always included a roasted pig, which he turned on a spit for hours 

So Reported the 1950 Census

The U.S. 1950 Census was released this month, if you’re into genealogy. Unlike the last census, which we answered online, hired hands went house to house in 1950 to note certain information about the residents. I found my family in Section 35-8 of San Benito County, California. That section’s enumerator began her or his (first name is either Alma or Alan) task of interviewing households on April 5, 1950.  On the day of the interview, the enumerator noted that Daddy was 45, Mama, 28, and    Brother, one year old. They lived on a ranch on Wright Road, just northwest of Hollister, where Daddy was a farmer’s helper who had worked 50 hours the previous week. I wonder if they paid rent or got their housing for free. The federal    minimum wage in 1950 was 75 cents an hour, according to the Department of Labor. Mama’s name was spelled wrong, Francisco instead of Francisca. Our surname was written with two r’s rather than one. No big deal there. I don’t know why Daddy spelled Echaore, while Un

Big Baby

 I’m seven weeks old in this photo. The Husband thought I was about a year old. A huge baby, was I! Mama said she ate a lot of French bread while she carried me. Could that be why I like crusty bread so much? Cookies? Cake? And all things floury and sugary? Years back I found my birth announcement in our local newspaper. It was on the front page. At the time, the county population was around 14,000, with more than a third of the people living in Hollister, the county seat. I figured the publisher needed something to fill a one-inch gap, because why else would my birth be on the front page rather than an inside page or the back page like every other newborn’s. After all, the birth of a farmer’s helper’s daughter wasn’t important or relevant to anyone but my family. Flash forward to 2021 (although only last year, it seems so long ago). While doing research on gestational diabetes, I came across an article about fetal macrosomia, a condition in which a newborn is larger than average at bi


While traipsing through the backyard early one morning last week I came across first-time visitors. Mushrooms! Mama would've harvested them. She would've thrown a quarter into the stewing mushroom pot, and if the quarter didn't turn black, then she would've eaten them. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a scientific basis behind the coin changing color to signify mushrooms are poisonous. When I was a kid, I ate the mushrooms my parents gathered on the oaks and sycamores along a certain creek in the hills right after good winter rain. They were tasty but kind of slimy, what the Husband might say in jest, "Awful mouthfeel." Daddy taught me which mushrooms to look for and where to find them, but I could never trust my judgment so I mostly held empty buckets and carried full ones back to the car. I love those times.