Wednesday Women 11.9.11

I'll be honest with you friends, I just sat here and stared at this photograph for the last twenty minutes, sipped on some egg nog (I know, a bit early...but I do love it so), and tried to think of a story or even a witty one-line opener for this photograph.
And I just can't do it.

For you see, the small but stately woman in the photograph is my great-grandmother.  But since she was long gone years before my arrival, all I know of her are the stories my mom has told me my entire life.  To my mom she is simply Avo, which is grandmother in Portuguese.  Growing up I would hear this strange little word quite often (pronounced aaah-vowh) and my mom would usually get a twinkle in her eye, tell a story, sometimes sad, often funny, and then heave a big sigh and say how much she missed her.
For the longest time as a child, I had no concept of who this woman was or what she had to do with me, but I just kept thinking 'Oh my goodness, when is she coming over? She sounds fun!'

My mom should really be the one narrating this evening, since her Avo played such a huge role in her childhood.  Her Avo taught her how to knit, embroider, clean a house, take proper care of fine china. 
My mom distinctly remembers the day she finally figured out how to unlatch the kitchen door, quietly open it, and move her little toddler legs as fast as she could over the hot, dusty valley dirt and across the ranch to her Avo's house for a visit.

Once a year Avo would apparently go out to her shed and spend three whole days and nights making linguica--a delicious Portuguese sausage--getting up every few hours through the night to stir a giant, bubbling cauldron full of heavily spiced meat out in said shed.
And the little lady wasn't even five feet tall!

Her husband emigrated to the United States a year or so before he came back to the Azores Islands to retrieve her and her belongings.  One of those belongings being the gorgeous domed steamer trunk she packed up and brought with her when she sailed across the sea.  It makes me quite giddy that the very same steamer trunk is now practically bursting at the seams with family photographs.  I will admit I have never  actually seen the bottom of that trunk for it contains so many photos that I never have enough time to go through them all on my infrequent visits home!

My mom, the cute toddler in the photograph with cute braids wrapped around her cute head, remembers when this photograph was taken.  Growing up, the family would take trips to Pismo Beach, on the central coast of California.  The trips were initially taken at Avo's urging because to her Pismo Beach reminded her of where she grew up on the Azores Island of Terceira.  Something in the expression on her face is almost melancholy and wistful to me...perhaps she was missing her home...

Even though I never knew this wonderful woman, I know she is a part of me.  Her stories, family heirlooms, mementos, photographs-all of these I have seen and heard my entire life and I can't help but wonder what it would have been like to have known her.

But, in a way, I kind of feel like I do.

Sweet dreams!

**And don't forget, I would love to feature one of your favorite vintage family photographs here on my blog!  Just click here for all of the details!**

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic photo & post. Whenever we visit Cape Cod the first thing my husband buys is linguica. Now I'm craving it!


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