ME

ARIZONA HIGHWAYS

Grandma and Grandpa long before I was born.

James Frederick Davies and Katherine Rose Germonte.


Grandpa’s father was born in England and his mother in Ireland. Grandma was born in Lithuania with Russian, Ukrainian and Polish roots.

When Dad and Mom bought their old house and Grandma and Grandpa moved to one that was all on one floor, Grandma left behind in the attic stacks of old Arizona Highways magazines. I was in second grade and had no idea how she even got them.

I’d go into that attic that Mom was turning into a clothes closet, turn on the lightbulb and sit on the floor for hours looking at the pictures of all the Indians, wondering why Grandma had magazines about Indians who lived so far away. We lived in Massachusetts and these were Indians in Arizona.

Most kids dream of being somebody important. I wanted to be an old person sitting in a rocking chair on a porch in Arizona where people would come from far and wide for my wisdom. I never told anyone that before. It seems so foolish. I was in second grade dreaming of becoming an old woman. I rocked a lot. Dad had to bolt my crib to the floor. They’d get up in the morning and my crib would be across the room and they’d wonder how it got there.

When I got older I used to wish I didn’t rock. Now it makes me dizzy. I outgrew it.

You know, when you grow up you don’t pay much attention to how your family looks. That’s an outsider thing. When I received these photos a few days ago from someone on ancestry.com, and knowing that most American Indians migrated from Russia/Asia, I began to think that Grandma had those Asian roots.

I know this sounds funny now, but Grandma had sort of kinky hair. And we always said that she looked the same no matter how old. She never seemed to change. She was tiny, under five feet and never lost the so-called baby fat on her face.

When I look at her now, except for the white skin (and in person it wasn’t that white), she looks like those Indians I saw in Arizona Highways.

I think she enjoyed looking at ‘her people’ without ever knowing for sure who her people were, except that Auntie brought her from Vilnius, Lithuania when she was ten years old. I don’t know what Auntie’s name was; we all just called her Auntie.

This photo is of Dad and his sister Ann. Her real name was ANNA, but she Americanized it to ANN. Dad was Thomas Joseph. Grandpa’s and Grandma’s other son was James Frederick, like Grandpa. Dad joined the Merchant Marines during WWII.






 

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