My maternal grandfather, German Corzo Perez, was the youngest of ten children and Pica Pica, the farm that inspired the title of my blog, was his inheritance. From what my mother told me about him, he was a true country gentleman, well dressed and with impeccable manners.
He died of cancer after a long and painful illness. He was hopitalized in Havana for his last surgery. My father was attending medical school at the time and although my parents were from the same area, they actually connected at this time and their romance began. I will give an account of this in a future blog.
At the time of his death, December 8, 1939, my parents were engaged and their wedding was planned for May of 1940. I have the letter my father wrote to my mother upon his return to Havana after the funeral. In it, he mentions that when he last spoke to him shortly before his death he expressed to him that his greatest concern was leaving his family behind and not being there for them.
Although the farm Pica Pica is now gone, its spirit lives in the hearts of those of us who were fortunate enough to have been there and I hope we pass it on to the next generations.
I feel a great connection to my maternal grandmother, Elvira Garcia Larrieu, although I never knew her. She died a month before I was born and although the name Maria Elena had been chosen, in her honor I was named Elvira Maria Elena. When I was very little I had two recurring dreams about her. In one I was trying to get across the patio and although I couldn’t see it, there was a rabid dog lurking and I was very frightened. She was at the other end of the patio and she took a basin filled with water and put her thumb in it and made a sign to chase the dog away. In the other dream I would see a giant neon sign of her image above the roof of our house.
She died in our house after a long battle with cancer. She told my mother that she knew she would never get to see me and she would kiss my mother’s stomach, a sign of the love that I would miss. Lolita has a vague recollection of her in her sick bed while she sat in her little rocking chair. Once I asked my cousin Yolanda if she remembered her and her response was that she had never again felt so loved in all her life. What a beautiful legacy.
Her father died on her birthday when she was still a child. From then on her birthday was not celebrated until years into her marriage and after all her children were born my grandfather put an end to it and decided her birthday would again be celebrated each year.