Monday, May 31, 2010

Mi Tata (my Grandpa)

Mi Tata was born on November 28th, 1915 in a town called Bacanora, Sonora, Mexico. It was the middle of the Mexican Revolution. Pancho Villa was about to enter the town which meant that the town was going to be robbed. Unfortunately for my Tata, my Great-Grandma (Trancito) died during child-birth. Fortunately for the town, Pancho Villa spared the town of his visit in respect of their mourning. My Tata's name was Nicolas Galindo Arvayo. First last name is Spanish, the 2nd is Irish and he had the red-hair to prove it.

He worked in his father ranch the first years of his life but he did learn to write and read so he became the town's teacher for several years. When he was a teenager Mexico's government was against religion and a lot of churches were burned to the ground. Tata entered his church and saved a statue of St Ignacio de Loyola, the patron of his home-town. The statue is still in his house. During that time he and my Nana (Grandma) started dating, they were cousins in the 2nd degree. Tata and Nana married on January 23rd, 1943.

Before my mom (their eldest child) was born, Nana & Tata moved to the capital. My Nana's parents had a liquor store there and Tata went to work in it. Then, my mom was born, quickly followed by 13 siblings. Tata also had 3 more children with another woman, we met them a couple of years ago. Only one of my aunts has passed away and it was one of the biggest sorrows of my Tata. Aunt Isabel died of Lupus when she was 24 years old.

Tata enjoyed watching Box, every Saturday, when my Dad was alive, they would get together and watch it. He wasn't so much into it after my Dad passed away, the only time I remember seeing Tata cry. He did continue to watch Baseball, he was a passionate fan of the Naranjeros, Hermosillo's professional baseball team. He loved to drink beer, do crossword puzzles and write poetry. The liquor store eventually became a convenience store where Tata would pass his days up until a few days before he passed away.

I was born on November 28th, 1977. From that moment on Tata and I shared our birthdays and a very special bond. I loved to dance with Tata when I was very little. Don't ask me why I took that weird position, never been much of a dancer. Tata loved to dance and to listen to music. His favorite song "Valentin de la Sierra" spoke of a man that fought for freedom of religion during the prohibition years.

Me sharing birthdays with Tata also explains why I had a can of beer for a piƱata on my 3rd birthday.

As far as I know, I am the only grandchild to have ever received a Birthday present from Tata. It was a bag of M&M's but it meant the world to me. Tata always loved children and he had a nickname for every child born into the family and for our neighbors as well. My nickname was Teresa Tusa, for a lady in Bacanora who used a lot of necklaces and bracelets, just as I did when I was little. He was always the grumpy old guy at the store, yelling at children passing by but we all loved him very much.

Tata took my Dad's place at my QuinceaƱera and I always dreamed he would do it again for my wedding. He was the one to approve or disprove my cousin's and my boyfriends. He didn't approve of my College boyfriend. He didn't tell me anything until we broke-up though. After I moved to the US almost every time I went home he would ask: "So, did you get yourself a gringo yet?".

This was our family in 1993, during the celebration of Nana & Tata 50th anniversary.

We have probably doubled since then. 16 children, over 50 grandchildren and over 20 great-grandchildren is the legacy of Don Nicolas Galindo Arvayo. He passed away on May 3rd, 2010 at the age of 94. He missed his "vieja" (Nana) too much.

This year will be the first one that I do not share my birthday with you. Sometimes I resented that but now I know I'll miss it, just as I'll miss you.

I haven't found a gringo yet Tata, I'll keep looking.


  1. Such a touching post; thank you for sharing your Tata with us.

  2. Ciao! Thank you so much for sharing this lovely story Deray! You wrote it with so much feeling, it brought tears too my eyes, since my granddad is not well lately and I don't know what the future will bring now (it's also the other reason, next to thesis, why I stopped blogging for a while).

    I really loved the pictures and you were so cute! Still are tho! Don't worry ^_^.


  3. What a beautiful face he had and what happy memories you made together. I'm glad you had so many years with him and that they were good ones. My heart goes out to you in your loss, but I'm glad for your Tata. Now he and your Nana are together again.

  4. What a beautiful tribute to your family. I understand so well this burning hurt that never leaves, but it will be easier to bear with the passing of time. You can always share your birthday with him. Talk to him. Who's to come forward to say that our loved ones cannot hear us? I know for sure I receive signs and they visit me in my dreams. So do not be lonely little one, they are with you and when it is our special time to leave this world, be certain they will all greet us in the next. Hugs!

  5. Lovely photos, Diana! And what a family! Wonderful! He must've had such a rich life. People are everything.

    "The dead are not dead. They look on and help."-DH Lawrence

    Tata will always be there when you need him.

  6. Loved this post xxxxxxxxxxxx

    At Heathers wedding my grandparents where certainly missed :(

    My dads parents died ten years ago within two months of each other, so I did this for heather

    She cried within about two seconds of unwrapping it. I cried just scanning the photos.

    My mums dad was too ill to travel, so him and my Grandma couldn't go, so heather is travelling down to their church and she will wear her wedding dress and John will wear his kilt while the vicar does a private blessing just for the four of them.

    So on the night before your wedding, you can have a beer, do a crossword and write some poetry :)

  7. Oh, hon...What a very sweet post. I only wish I'd had your family growing up!

  8. Durante.- Thank you!

    TJ.- I hope your Tata is doing better ((hugs))

    Melody.- Yes, I'm sure Nana & Tata are dancing together all the time :-D

    Theresa.- Tata has visited me in dreams, he seams happy ;-)

    Marty.- What a lovely quote, thank you for sharing it with me

    Claire.- I promise I'll drink the beer and do a crossword, can't promise I'll write poetry though, I didn't inherit that talent :-P

    Lana.- Thank you so much, I wish you had had a great family too but, hey, you are building your own fantastic family now ;-)