Sunday, March 5, 2017

Day Two: Valpariso

We meet up with Chechi's sister Evita (also Alex's cousin), she is an English Teacher at an Elementary school in town so my limited Spanish wasn't such a handicap in the conversation department.

Here is a photo of us at the seaside restaurant where we were treated to the local seafood. Evita was a lively conversationalist and we had a lovely time

After dinner we walked along the beach

Then took a look at the Port from which my father worked in the 1950's. As you can imagine, it has changed over the years and even looks quite a bit like The Port of Tacoma

Finally we were invited for coffee and plantain chips at Eva's place perched up on the famous hills of Valparaiso. 

 And here is a Sketch of the inside of her place.

They talked for hours about their mutual grandparents. Augusto dad and mom, named Felix and Maria. I found two nice photo's of them in the apartment. Here they are below.

They were married by16 years old. They both came from Riobamba, a small town situated in Ecuador between Quito and Guayaquil.

 Maria Garz√≥n's family owned a ranch. Alex remembers driving up to that ranch a teenager and was amazed that his cousins met them on horses.  Chechi tells us that the family legend is that the Moreano's emigrated from a town called Lucca in Italy via Bueno Aires and were originally called Moreau or Moriano. In fact there is a Ponte Moriano in Lucca.

Grandfather Felix had many jobs and hobbies, the first of which was a grocer in Riobamba and in his spare time he started a soccer team as well. At the age of 18 he and his new wife moved to Guayaquil. Maria was a seamstress and specialized in wedding dresses. She became so busy that Felix sold off the grocery store and helped her with the business. He was great at promoting the goods, delivery and as he was good with his hands, he also helped on the production side. And so he dyed the lace and then later made shoes to match the formal year. Over the years their business evolved into a store for children's clothing and shoe store. Alex has always had a soft spot for shoes and now I think I know why.

Felix was also known for making his own liquor. Two flavors, Orange and Coffee flavored. He would make the concoction and then bury it in the ground for a full year. To this day it is still a secret recipe. One time someone brought him a liquor bottle shaped like a penguin. Something like this one, but older.

After the liquor was consumed, he used it to contain his own home brew.  For years the neighbors would stop by for a taste and then pretty soon they would bring over their own empty bottles. When he died, this bottle was fought over by both family and neighbors alike. Rumor has it that Graciela kept the bottle for safe keeping at her house in Ecuador.

Ironically, the only time I personally met Felix was in Queens. It was 1982 and my father  brought Keir and I over to meet him. My dad was always good about this sort of thing. Always thinking about family ties. In any case, the first thing he did was to bring out a fancy bottle of liquor to have a shot a celebrate.  Here are two photos of just that meeting.

Lastly, Felix like to write sports article for the local soccer teams and in 1982 he had just returned from Spain, doing just that.

In their spare time Augusto's family would play music together. The six kids played guitar, melodica, piano and ever the maracas. Augusto played the guitar at parties throughout Alex's life. No doubt the entire Moreano clan loves music.

Two more stories. This one is about Augusto's grandmothers. Felix's mom and Marie's mom lived together in their old age. One was nice and one was mean. They would fight and make up all the time. The nice one died and the mean one missed her horribly, although she did claim that even if heaven she was watching her every move!

The last story is mostly funny to me. Chechi had two uncles called Raul. When cooking him sunny side up eggs they would ask... Do you want an egg like a pirate or en egg of glasses?

I couldn't end without leaving you with one more photo. This is of Augusto's sister Yolanda and Lucy's monkey. When Alex's family emigrated to the US they left her monkey with Yolanda. Doesn't she look a lot like Eva? I mean Yolanda of course!

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