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Months ago I purchased my first ever Groupon. For just $40 I was entitled to $100 worth of digitized pictures. Though I didn’t have any old family pictures at the time , I knew this was a great deal worth buying into.  Plus, I figured that once I had spent the money I would actually get myself to work on obtaining old photos to have scanned. And that’s just what happened.

As the June 15 deadline to use the Groupon neared I remembered having looked at an album full of old family pictures at Tito’s house last Thanksgiving.  These pictures originally belonged to his mother, Lydia, who is first cousins with my mother (on the Colomb-Mondesi St. Lucia side). Mere days before the groupon expired I borrowed the album and sent some of the pictures away for digitizing (I didn’t thinking I would have enough on my account to have the entire album).  Continue reading

A Mamá By Any Other Name

In previous posts (like here and here) I discussed the tricky tradition of using nicknames in my mother’s family. Well, here’s more on that thorn in the side of this genealogist.

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When my mom and her siblings would talk to or about their mother they would often refer to her as Tere (short for her nickname, Teresa).  Their cousins also called their mothers by their (nick)names.   Weird that they didn’t just call their moms some version of “Mom,” right?  

Nonetheless, there was someone else that my mother, her siblings, and their cousins called Mamá: their grandmother, Catherine “Edelanive” Mondesi.  Though Catherine’s actual children were Julio (a.k.a. Papa Gil), Clemintina (a.k.a. Clemina), Fide (real name: Maria Sebastiana), Tere (real name: Maria Anastasia), and Isa (real name: Elizabeth Juana) it was Catherine’s grandchildren that knew her so affectionately as Mamá.  Continue reading

Hurricane Devastates Soufriere

An important part of my genealogical research involves learning about the places my ancestors came from by learning about their histories, cultural traditions, and contemporary social and political conditions.  As a start, I am posting the following “breaking news” regarding St. Lucia and Barbados.

Not only has a hurricane hit one of my maternal islands of origin, St. Lucia, it has apparently caused the most devastation in Soufriere, the part of the island we believe my great-grandmother once called home.  You can read about what is known of the damage here.

Another one of my islands, Barbados, sustained the most damage.  Even though they the Bajans will have to undergo their own recovery effort, they will also be offering aid to their neighbors that were affected – St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Igmar at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival

Somewhere in the family DNA lies the talent for things musical.  While I did not demonstrate overwhelming proof of it during those few years I played the clarinet in middle school, my younger brother Igmar has definitely gone much further ever since he discovered his love for the trumpet.  His music has taken him all over the country and world, including destinations as exciting and far away as Shanghai and Paris.  This weekend he will be performing with a fellow Berklee College of Music alum, Esperanza Spalding, at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival.

Continue reading