Well I’m back. Took me this long to decide what I wanted to write about. It’s my maternal grandparents. It’s kind of funny the amount of family history on that side of my family that none of us(mom & her brothers) have ever known, some of the things that we did find out had more to do with the fact that my grandma’s sister forgot there were things that weren’t talked about, not that anything was being kept secret, they just weren’t talked about. But this is about what I do know, two of the biggest facts, one I loved them both & miss them everyday, secondly, they loved each other very much & they loved all of us with no judgement. So here goes.
My grandmother was Hester Rose Johnston Banda, she born 0n April 1, 1907 & died May 16, 2004. She was born in a small town here in Georgia called Snellville, fact is she was born there before it was even named. She had four brothers & one sister. Two of her brothers died when young & none of us don’t even know their names. Her two brothers that lived were Oscar & Pleaman(no idea) & her younger sister was named Lawrence, my granddad called her Flossy so that’s what we all called her, Aunt Flossy, she was a hoot!
Grandma always considered herself a country girl, well she was from the country, but they had a home they lived in during the summer & a city house for the winter. I know she worked as a milliner(hat maker) & that she was married & divorced before she married my grandfather, this bit is only known because Aunt Flossy let it slip to my mom once but that’s all we’ve ever known. One other thing that we all knew but my grandfather never did, she hated the color red.
My grandfather we knew a bit more about, but not much. My grandfather was Juan Abel Banda & he was born in Puebla, Puebla, Mexico on May 12, 1903 & died August 6, 1981. He was born in Mexico but was Spanish by blood, both sets of his grandparents immigrated to Mexico from Spain, I think they were teachers. But anyway, his mother died when he a baby & his father remarried & they started having kids, boy did they have kids. His step mother wanted to name the children in alphabetical order so she decided that she would change the order of his names so that she had her A, then came Breatrice, Celia, David, Edith, Felicia, Guido, Hugo, Inugo, Julietta, & Leonelia. For whatever reason there was no K name, I have a feeling there was a baby who had the K name & it didn’t live. A whole lot about that family we never found out because when my grandfather was about 19 he left his family, left the church & left his country & came to the United States to become a citizen & start his life. Somehow he wound up & in Georgia & married & divorced then married my grandmother. He worked for Fulton Paper Co. in exporting. He traveled to Cuba & South America as part of his job, my husband likes to tease & say that granddaddy really worked for the CIA & the other was just a cover. He was a Mason & a Shriner(I now have his fez, fez are cool). In 1967/68 he went into the hospital to have some sort of bowel surgery & after the surgery he had a major stroke that mostly paralyzed his left side. the older of my two uncles had gone home to change clothes & head back to the hospital & while he was at home the phone rang & the person on the other end said his name was John Banda & he was looking for Juan Banda, his father! Well this was never mentioned to either grandparent then or at any time later. This is something that we’ve all wondered about but sometimes that just the way things happen.
For me this is when things changed in my world. I was 7 or 8 when all this happen & I remember being taken into his hospital room to visit but no one prepared me for what I would be seeing, there were tubes & machines & bags with things in them(I now know that he had a temporary colostomy) & I freaked out! I remember screaming in fear, here was the man I loved most in the world & he had been changed, I so hope he was drugged up & never realized that, I know I was a child & that he would have understood but I still feel very guilty about that to this day & that was over 43 years ago.
But anyway, after that he retired. The working with stroke patients back then was not like it is today, neither is the medications & testing. Over the years he had mini strokes & at one point they removed part or all of the artery in his neck because of a blood clot. Now through all of this he never lost any of his mental functions. He was still all there.
Through all of this my grandmother continued to work & to take care of him. For some of the time my two uncles lived at home & helped when they could. Then in 1970 grandma was in a bad car wreck & fractured her pelvis so she was laid up & I had had plastic surgery on my leg & stayed with them while I healed. What a trio we were. Well grandma healed & went back to work, that woman lied about her age for years & continued working until she was 86 or 87.
I don’t remember Christmas’s before the stroke but I do remember the ones after & every year granddaddy gave grandma an article of clothing that was red, his favorite color & one he thought she would look good in & every year she would open the gift & tell him how much she loved it & then she would put it up but never once told him she hated red because she didn’t want to hurt him. And here we come to the point of all of this. He tried to never complain to her & wanted to give her gifts that he thought suited her because he knew how hard she worked & she never complained about any of it, he loved her til the day he died & I’m sure beyond. And she took his gifts & told him she liked them because she loved him.
It doesn’t matter how much you know or don’t know about your family so long as you know one thing, they loved each other & that’s really all that really needs knowing.
Twenty three years after his death, 4 days after what would have been his 101st birthday grandma died. Before they lowered the coffin into the ground I laid 2 perfect red roses on her coffin so that she had something red with her when she saw him again.
Thank you for sticking with this rather rambling story, sorry for any mistakes but I can’t proofread, I’ll wind up deleting the whole thing if I did so I’ll just let be. And if you take anything at all away from this let it be that These two people loved each other & they loved me & I loved them.