MAMA Day – The Present

P25_825_888Since arriving in New York I have been spending a lot of time with my Grandma Isabel (which I just discovered is actually spelled Ysabel) as many of us fear her time is coming to a close. I have to say though that I’ve found her to be quite strong willed and still full of energy considering her state.

She would sit with me and tell me stories of her youth and that of her children. Stopping along the way to read a verse or two from the bible that lives by her side. When done reading she would continue with her story right where she left off as if she placed a mental bookmark in just the right place.

On one occasion she told me the story of when she first met my grandfather. When she was in her twenties Petan Trujillo (Dictator Rafael Trujillo's brother) was in charge of education for the country. He hired my grandmother to teach at a school in Los Martines, approximately an 8 kilometre walk (one way) from her home in Maimon. She made the trip everyday, twice a day – through mud, gravel, and unattended wilderness.

When she had had enough she searched for other work and found a shop, a household really, which sold fabric and cooked dishes. A strange combination but it seemed to work for the owners as they were able to hire staff. My grandmother began working selling the fabric and in the kitchen she met a man who she describes as the most intelligent man she has ever met, my grandfather. They worked together for a while and eventually fell in love and got married.

Later on, Petan Trujillo would call on the services of my Grandfather and everyone’s life changed. The times were good but they would be short lived as Petan would play an integral part in my grandfather’s assassination after several years of service.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day here in the US. For the first time since I was a teen a good portion of my family got together to spend the day with Mama Ysabel. All her children were present (for the first time in over 20 years as my last uncle has only recently migrated to the US from DR) and almost all her grandchildren and great grand children as well. Those that were not present were due to being in other states or countries.

The day was fantastic and I knew that she felt good having her family around. Since arriving in DR I started working on a major project which I would hand in to her yesterday. She opened the gift and found a complete family genealogy report covering 6 generations with her generation at the centre of it all. She was thrilled and started reading it line by line. Considering it is a 145 page document we insisted she only hit the highlights and continue reading  the rest at a later time. She didn’t care, she wanted to read it now and there is no telling Mama what to do. Eventually we pried it away from her so that she could talk to the others present and eat some food.

Everyone was pretty pleased with it and asked for personal copies, lucky for them the info has been placed online (http://rosariopena.myheritage.com). The original document which now sits next to my grandmothers bible can be found here. (English translation here). Note that it’s a fairly large file (50MB) so it may take a while to load.

A Happy Mother’s Day indeed.

The night ended with the discussion of what is going to happen next. Mama is adamant on returning to DR. She is going to die in her own house and there is nothing anyone can say or do to stop her. Tío Joel and Tía Olympia are flying back to DR at the end of next week. They will take her with them.

I have yet to decide on if I am to return to DR or stay in New York.

Escaneo3 2011-05-08 19.10.412011-05-08 13.19.192011-05-08 13.55.54

**All pictures taken on a Galaxy S Android Phone**
MAMA Day – The Present MAMA Day – The Present Reviewed by Unknown on 17:38 Rating: 5

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