We’re all short!

[Fearless Females-Women's History Month, March 24--Shared characteristics]

No doubt about it. We’re all short. My whole family takes after takes after my Grandma Lassalle, my Dad’s Mom. She was a small woman, only about 4 ft 9 inches tall. Grandpa wasn’t much taller, maybe 5 ft 3 inches.

My Grandma was a very youthful adult. She had a young face. When combined with her short stature, people mistook her for a child. My Grandpa joked often about when they first got married and he would take Grandma places. He always got her in for the child ticket price wherever they went.

I take after my Grandma in this way. When I was a teenager, people often thought I was 8 or 9 years old. In my 20s, I was handed the children’s menu at restaurants on a regular basis. There have been a few occasions where I have been mistaken as one of my sibling’s children. It hasn’t been until my 40s and my greying hair that people take a double take and think before they speak.

So, I’ve got Grandma Lassalle to thank for constantly having to tell people that I am, in fact, over 40 ;) It does have it’s benefits. You can really throw people off guard when the under estimate your abilities based on your height.

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Fearless Females: The Gift of Laughter

[Women's History Month Fearless Females Prompt, 24th of March, Shared Traits]

My Grandma Shellabarger lived through alot.  Her life was a rough road, one that might have crippled others very easily.  Through it all, Grandma could still laugh.

The trait I share with her is the gift of laughter.  Not just any kind of laughter…hysterical laughter.  It’s a trait that my Grandma, my Mom, and all my female siblings share.   I believe my young nieces have the gift as well. Maybe it’s hormonal :D

All that needed to happen is for one of us to start laughing.  It doesn’t matter who.  The laughter would spread like a chain reaction.  It didn’t even matter if you were in on the joke.  You could be in the other room, walk in, and catch the laughter train.

I’m not talking a couple guffaws or a chortle.  I am talking deep within the pit of the stomach with tears streaming down your cheeks with stomach muscles spasming got to catch my breath kind of laughter.  It happened almost every time we were together.

Others thought we were a little weird.  Maybe we were.  But, once we got going we could not stop.  Sometimes all we had to do was look at each other to start laughing all over again.

There are so many traits my Grandma could have shared with me.  She was stern, tactless, obstinate, and bossy.  It is her ability to laugh hysterically from the confines of her wheel chair that I hope to remember the most fondly.  Whenever my Mom, my sisters, and I get on one of our rolls, I think of Grandma and all the good laughs we shared.

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A Mini Brick Wall: Ana Jacinta

[Fearless Females-Women's History Month, March 20th:  Female ancestor who is a brick wall]

My female ancestors have been good to me.  They have left pretty good trails despite being woman.  There is one female ancestor I consider a mini brick wall.  Despite the fact that I can go back beyond Ana Jacintha de Melo Pacheco, I can’t seem to find out details of her life.

Ana Jacinta was my Great Great Grandmother.  Her parents were Jose Francisco de Melo and Rosa Pimental.  She married Jacintho Pacheco, a shoe maker.

I can take Ana’s line back five generations.  Technically, she is not a brick wall.  Yet, she leaves me somehow bereft.  Though the records for Sao Miguel Island have revealed many details about my family, I can find when and where Ana Jacinta was born.  Nor can I find when she married Jacintho.  The birth of her first son, Antonio, is also a mystery.

It is peculiar to say the least.  I have Jacintho’s information.  In fact, I have information on her parents and two of her siblings.  I’ve search the records for Achada, Fenais da Vera Cruz, and other nearby villages.  Ana Jacinta seems to be invisible.

She does appear 27 Feb 1863 to give birth to Manoel Pacheco, their second son.  His birth took place in Achada and was recording in the town records.  From there, Ana is everywhere, popping out babies left and right.  I can track her to her last child born in Jun 1876.

She goes on to get a passport in 1882 and makes the voyage to Hawaii with six of her eight children.  She then manages to avoid being recorded once again until her death.  She died 4 Dec 1902.  Beyond a story that she contributed to the death of one her grandchildren by accidentally dropping him, her tombstone is the only proof she was ever on the island of Kauai. She wasn’t even recorded in the Kauai Death Register book.

I don’t know why the lack of information bothers me so.  I feel like I’ve let Ana Jacinta down somehow.  Her life story can’t be written because their are too many holes in the narrative.

I hope someday to find her birth, baptismal, or marriage certificates.   Then I will feel I’ve done right by her.  For now, she is family group sheet with alot of blank spaces.

Note:  I wrote this post last year for Fearless Females.  In that time, I am still stuck, but their is hope!  Slowly but surely the church archives for Sao Miguel Island are becoming available online.  Someday, they may post the churches that I need.  When they do, I hope that the secrets about Ana Jacinta’s life will be revealed.

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