Monday, September 17, 2007

our precious Isabel

Isabel holding Augustus, May '06
Our precious Isabel. Those were the opening words my mom wrote for Isabel's obituary. We had finally figured out a name for Magdalena to call her, Tata Tita, a sweet great-auntie, we'd call her. As mama abuela, my mom, explained to Magdalena, she's gone home to Heaven.
Isabel died at 3:10am, Saturday, September 15. She was 90 glorious years old. She had flawless skin. She had trouble with her knees and hips. We have a fabulous photo of her when she was a dancer. She was my Nana Lydia's best friend. She was devoted to our family, her adopted family. She adored our babies. She could be very cantankerous. She was the last of the Puerto Ricanas. She made daddy's favorite red beans in the whole world. She always had ice cream for Magdalena.
Long live Tata Tita, our precious Isabel.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

veni, vidi, vici and ice cream

fine family dinner at fabulous Cap's on the intercoastal

but does he like it? (yes, but this is his pensive Augustus look)

Frida does not give up her cone for anybody

wet fountain feet

Magdalena and I play with Augustus while we shampoo his hair and it is hilarious

more ice cream as big as one's head

We spent one afternoon with my German brother Tommy* and my German sister-in-law Ilona hanging out in San Marco Square, in the neighborhood I grew up in, eating ice cream and playing in the fountain. A more idyllic day could not have been planned. We had quite a few meet and greets and dinner parties to introduce Tommy to the world. I've explained him to Miss Marie, the art librarian who host's family art time at the main library, I've explained him to my book study/club, I've explained him to random people I ran into in the Publix parking lot. Everybody is so warm and accepting.

But you know, Tommy must know. He must have proof. On his last day in Jacksonville, he and my brother went to have DNA testing done. Why do that? We love him, he's beautiful, I'm vested in my new long-lost brother. Why chance fate? But like I said he must know, he says he knows yes in his heart but for all the doubters for that tiny sliver of doubt that exists in us all, whether we care or not, he must know.

And today they left, my mom's house is quiet again. I don't have to go somewhere every day or have dinner with my extended family and guests every night. We miss them already, my brother Tommy from Berlin, Germany and sweet Ilona who makes a to die for salad dressing. And the results will come in and the mystery will be over and Tommy will have peace in his heart. Because his mother told him his father was Fernando Storch, and so he is.

*see earlier post

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

meet Tommy from Berlin Germany

Introducing Tommy from Berlin, Germany with his sisters Connor and Jeanna and brother Anthony

Tommy, Ilona, Frida and Magdalena at Family Art Time

Magdalena and Augustus with Tito Chuchi and Uncle Tommy

So really I don't even know where to begin. Meet Tommy, our brother. As in long lost brother that we didn't know we had. We didn't meet him until August 25th, 2007, but he's been around and looking for us a lot longer than that. He's daddy's son from his German girlfriend from his army stay before he met my mom. He's beautiful and funny and kind and his wife, my sister-in-law, Ilona is beautiful and wonderful and kind also. Daddy would have fallen in love with him, love at first sight. The first time I spoke to Tommy on the phone he said yes, hello, this is Tommy from Berlin Germany. As if he were just one of many Tommys I happened to be speaking to long distance from Germany.

What else can I say about it? Magdalena, Augustus and Frida adore them. We adore them. It is tragic beyond all measure that Tommy found us 3 years after daddy died. It's just all so fraught with emotion and joy and a terrible terrible sadness. Daddy would have loved him. My son, he'd say, my son from Germany. He's a cop in Berlin, you know, my dad would say, taking credit for Tommy's life and beauty and success as if he was responsible for it all. In a way, he was.