Talking about my great-grandparents and how they married

Chapter 2… The García girls’ wedding


City streets Leon City. Leon, Nicaragua
City streets
Leon City. Leon, Nicaragua

He was the third of five brothers, and she was the third of five sisters. At the time, the main church of Chinandega, the beautiful parish of Our Lady of Santa Ana was going through repairs. Sadly, the church had sustained heavy damage during the main earthquake of 1925. For that reason, they married at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, in El Viejo, a small town near Chinandega. They were my grandfather Jairo’s parents. That was my great-grandparent’s wedding (though some of the cynics called it an alliance).

My great-grandfather’s name was Leobardo Salvador Díaz Alvarez. His family was originally from Chinandega, where he was better known as don Leobardo. Together with his brothers, they owned sugar cane and peanut plantations, and two small sugar mills in the small town of Chichigalpa. My great-grandmother was doña Eduviges Leónora Garcia y Hernandez. Her family was from the port of Corinto (the main port on the Nicaraguan Pacific), a half hour drive from Chinandega. There everybody simply knew her as doña Leónor. Even though the Garcia family was originally from Corinto, at the time, they were living in León. Their father owned huge cotton plantations close by and was successfully exporting the cotton to the markets in the United States. At the time, Nicaragua was considered as the cotton capital of Central America. People say the American dollars were so plentiful, that in the mornings, the women swept them off the streets with the rest of the rubbish. There are those who still think of these times as “the good old days”. When both families joined in matrimony, their fortunes were also tied together.


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My broken toys

Chapter 1… My poor broken down worlds



Visión histórica                  Parque de Héroes y Mártires, León, Nicaragua
Historical vision                  Parque de Héroes y Mártires, Leon, Nicaragua

When I think of my grandfather and his influence, profoundly imprinted on me by his passage through my life, memories of my broken toys come to my mind. Those damaged playmates of my early years, which life had ravished and invariably ended in his delicate hands searching for help. It was enough that he saw me walking towards him, possibly carrying one of my knick knacks or a broken down toy, for him to drop everything on the spot, in that same instant, and no matter what, rush to my aid.


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Grandfather Jairo

Chapter 1… My poor broken down worlds


Calles de centro ciudad de León, León, Nicaragua
Downtown street                   Historical Centre, Leon, Nicaragua

Grandfather Jairo was the comet that suddenly appeared or disappeared from the skies of my childhood. Constantly traveling, Grandfather was born into this world, bearing the gift of being present in different places at the same time, tucked neatly under his arm. Even when he was far away, I always felt him next to me, as I pictured his smile in my mind: a smile as eternal as it was untiring.


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My poor broken down worlds

Chapter I    My poor broken down worlds

Childhood dreams Central Park, Baños de Agua Santa Tungurahua, Ecuador
Childhood dreams          Central Park, Baños de Agua Santa  Tungurahua, Ecuador

Grandfather Jairo was the comet that suddenly appeared or disappeared from the skies of my childhood. Constantly travelling, Grandfather was born into this world, bearing the gift of being present in different places at the same time, tucked neatly under his arm. Even when he was far away, I always felt him next to me, as I pictured his smile in my mind: a smile as eternal as it was untiring.


En español

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    Chapters: In the land of volcanoes

  Chapter II

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The García girl’s wedding

Chapter II  The Garcías girls wedding

At the cathedral. Medellin City, Antioquia Colombia

He was the third of five brothers, and she was the third of five sisters. At the time, the main church of Chinandega, the beautiful parish of Our Lady of Santa Ana was going through repairs. Sadly, the church had sustained heavy damage during the main earthquake of 1925. For that reason, they married at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, in El Viejo, a small town near Chinandega. They were my grandfather Jairo’s parents. That was my great-grandparent’s wedding (though some of the cynics called it an alliance).


In Spanish

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    Chapters: In the land of volcanoes

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    Chapter I  Chapter III

                                                                    …………………………………….

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Baptizing the celebrities

Chapter III:  Baptizing the celebrities

The town church           Vilcabamba, Loja, Ecuador

Grandfather was baptised in a small town called El Viejo, which literally means The Old Town. The old church had a well-known baptismal font, and it was quite famous as a matter of fact, as it dated back to the year 1560. The beautiful font’s antique base had been completely coated with hand-crafted silver, elaborately crafted. It was precisely in it, that Grandfather was baptised. The baptismal ceremony was held during the week that followed a popular annual festivity, known traditionally as ‘The Cleansing of the Silver’.

This festivity was widely celebrated each year on the sixth of December. Part of the most important religious celebrations in Central America, its significance had transcended far beyond Nicaragua’s borders to most of the Central American countries. For a space of twenty days, this small town becomes the religious center of the country; when thousands of people visited El Viejo to participate in its ceremonies. Visitors gathered from every nook and corner of the country, and there was no lack of pilgrims that even made the difficult journey, from faraway lands in other countries, to finally converge together, as part of the massive annual religious peregrinations to Nicaragua.


In Spanish

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    Chapters: In the land of volcanoes

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    Chapter II  Chapter IV

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The Chinandegan Magpies

Chapter IV   The Chinandegan Magpies

“My Hope Store“.     Leon City, León Department, Nicaragua

“When I was a child, I learned an important lesson, and I believe it’s helpful still. I discovered that we all need our own personal space, to be alone with our thoughts, our feelings, and with ourselves. The bicycle ride, to the port, in the mornings was my personal space. It was a moment for reflection, I could go through the things in my mind, look back at all that was happening and sort them out. When I arrived to the wharfs, I had found my balance and my inner peace. By then the fishermen were returning from the sea and the day’s catch. The waves gently tossing the boats to and fro, those crazy seagulls flying around, excited and filling the air with their calls and shouting, and we would catch sight of each other. They would be out in their boats, tired and hungry; and I sitting on my bike and standing on the pier. Our lives were so different, yet there we were, all together, present and accounted for, ready to talk, to laugh, to joke, and to smile a big, warm smile, at the beginning of a brand new day


In Spanish

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    Chapters: In the land of volcanoes

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    Chapter III  Chapter V

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Of poor lovesick poets

Chapter V:     Of poor lovesick poets

Heading out towards the sunset             Moyogalpa pier, Rivas, Nicaragua

Grandfather was about to become twelve years old, and in those days, he was considered young but of age. As it happened, don Ernesto, his grandfather on the maternal side, was not growing any younger, and, more to the point, his health was slowly failing. For that reason, and against his wishes, his father decided to leave their lovely colonial house in Chinandega, the home where Grandfather was born and raised, and to move out to León, one of the oldest and largest cities in the country.


In Spanish

 

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    Chapters: In the land of volcanoes

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    Chapter IV  Chapter VI

                                                                    …………………………………….

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Manuela and eternal love

Chapter VI:  Manuela and eternal love

Dusk           Bahía Blanca, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

It could, or not, be said, that in the life of every great man, there is a great woman to be found at his side. In a few words, Grandmother Manuela was certainly an extraordinary woman, and Grandfather Jairo was also a great man. Her sweet disposition and the cool serenity of her mind, combined to distinguish her with a special kind of inner loveliness, forever present every moment of her life. Moreover, her physical beauty and charm (legendary since she was a child in Honduras), together with her internal presence, manifested themselves in a most definite magnetic personality. Without ever intending to do so, she painted herself into such a beautiful living picture, so absolutely and stunningly captivating, that she invariably attracted the world towards her, and there, as it was held involuntarily trapped, it would gravitate revolving around her.


In Spanish

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    Chapters: In the land of volcanoes

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    Chapter V  Chapter VII

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About the trenches and the multiplication tables

Chapter VII:  About the trenches and the multiplication tables

The beach, Isla Ometepe, Rivas, Nicaragua

A few years after their marriage, Grandfather Jairo bought the stately and colonial mansion from his mother. She had inherited the house from her parents after her own marriage. The house was in the historic center of the old colonial city of León, and it was only two blocks away from the Central Park.Although the house was more than a hundred and fifty years old, and many people lived in it, the splendid house, with its three spacious living rooms and the four pleasant and copiously tree-covered gardens, was in perfect mint condition. It would seem the house had been tailor-made to order for my grandmother Manuela.


In Spanish

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    Chapters: In the land of volcanoes

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      Chapter VI  Chapter VIII

                                                                    …………………………………….

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