A Little Look Back Before My Time; Sepia Saturday

Hacienda San Francisco, Sisga Colombia South America

Sharing a few pictures and memories, not necessarily mine.  This will be my first Sepia Saturday post, a quick and simple adventure into the pictorial history of my Mother.

Growing up, we were always entertained by stories of my Mothers time growing up in Colombia South America.  My Grandfather was an engineer, and made his living building dams.  One of his jobs took him and the family to Colombia South America, where they lived until completion of the dam.  It was a time that apparently left an impression on Mother, for she had many fond memories of that era of her life.  Even dedicating numerous chapters of her memoirs to the eventful time of her youth.

Mother was 10 Years old when they first moved to Colombia.  Much like many kids her age, even in this era, she knew very little of anyplace other than “home”.  Home was of course Denver Colorado, or more appropriately a farm on the outskirts of the city.  That now, is well within the city, and could hardly be called the outskirts of anything.  At this tender age, she set out on an adventure of a lifetime, accompanying her mother, sister, and little brother to a country, fresh out of a revolution.
Mother and Gitano
1949 / 1950 the adventure began with a series of flights on Delta and Eastern Airlines DC-4’s, and Pan American Clippers. The first few months in country, were spent in the capital city of Bogota.  They stayed in a hotel there in Bogota, The Continental, while awaiting the arrival of the remainder of their luggage that had been shipped by sea.  She spoke of the buildings that lay in ruins from the recent conflicts, and how they were not allowed to go anywhere alone.  She also speaks fondly of her first “culinary adventures” in Colombia.  The food must have been fabulous.  

After they moved to their home near the work site, Hacienda San Francisco, in Sisga, Colombia, she spent much of her free time riding horses.  Her favorite horse was Gitano, provided by a nearby hacienda for their riding adventures.  Schooling was tutored by her parents, my Grandmother grilling her on her spelling, and making her practice her handwriting.  Grandfather would provide her with the specifications of the dam project to instruct her in mathematic.  Requiring her to complete graphs on the completion of the project and learn percentages.  What time was not spent riding, or learning was spent reading. 

Cyhthia 1950All the food was cooked on a “carbon” stove (coal).  they had a garden in which vegetables were grown, along with chicken, lambs, and other live stock for meat.  The butchering was completed by servants.  She remembers my Grandmother asking them to chop the chickens head off instead of wringing their necks, I suppose she thought it was more humane.  They never bought meat from the markets other than to feed the dogs.  All fresh fruit purchased at market was pealed prior to consuming it.  Clothes were washed in a washing machine when they had electricity, and by hand when they didn’t.   Water for the house was supplied by collecting rainwater in an averca (concrete container) and overhead cistern.   

Mother speaks fondly of “the most romantic event” of her young life, a midnight, moonlight ride from Sisga to Las Fuentas, a neighboring hacienda. Dancing to a small band, in a setting among the kerosene lamps of hacienda life was a first for my young mother.  I have a feeling she had a few suitors, some she wrote about, and I would bet many she didn’t.

I would love to be able to post actual excerpts of Mothers memoirs, but I promised her I would not.  I don’t think she would mind this  


CrazyasaCoolFox said...

What an adventure for your mother. I've never been to South America but I would love to visit one day. Thanks for sharing and thanks for visiting my crazy blog!

Eric S. said...

Thanks Cool Fox, I haven't either, but would love to go see the area, and perhaps the Dam my grandfather built.

Crystal Mary said...

What beautiful photos and memories of your mother and her early life. I sounds enchanting and very happy. The house had loads of character and that wonderful bird feeder out front catered for many. A lovely interesting post. Bless you.

jinksy said...

Interesting snippet from another time and place.
(Love you little row of hats at the top. I'd like one of each!)

Eric S. said...

@ Crystal Mary, thank you, and to hear her tell it, it was an idyllic life. I love that hacienda picture, your right there is a lot of character.

@ Jinksy, Thank you. those little hats are available. I have them posted on my photobucket pages. Here's the link Here

kylie said...

a moonlit ride followed by dancing...


Alan Burnett said...

What a fascinating story - you manage to provide us with a flavour of your mothers' life in Columbia in words and pictures so well that I could almost picture her "dancing to a small band, in a setting among the kerosene lamps of hacienda". Welcome indeed to Sepia Saturday, please join in again .... and again and again.

gibknitty said...

sounds like your mother led an interesting life. thanks for sharing this, and for visiting my sepia saturday post.

Kat said...

First of all, what a fabulous look to your blog! I've been transported to the Old West in an instant (and Westerns are my favourite films, by the way).

What a fabulous adventure for your mother! I think that moonlight ride followed by dancing must have been incredible. Thank you for sharing her story.

And thanks for visiting my blogs! Y'all come back now, ya hear?


FireLight said...

Eric, this is a fabulous first for Sepia Saturday! I very much enjoyed the details of how your grandparents taught your mother at home! She was a darling girl! How wonderful that she could have a horse to ride and to love!
Things we have in common:
My husband was once involved in building a bridge in Ecuador; I once sat next to W.E.B. Griffin at a formal dinner; I love stories my mother used to tell me about her childhood; and I love my dogs!
Thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the blogosphere!

Eric S. said...

@ Kylie, I'm sure she felt the same way. Her entries in her memoirs and extravagant about this evening.

@ Alan, Thank you for your kind words. I'm sure I will be back.

@ gibknitty, Thank you, I think she did,

@ Kat, Thanks, the background picture is Front St. in my home town taken in the mid 70's. She did have a grand adventure that stuck with her and still does. Thanks for the Twitter follow, and facebook request.

@ Firelight, First off, I'm envious, W.E.B. Griffin is one of my favorite authors, many of his series are what I call comfort novels. I read them over and over.

I liked hearing about her tutoring also, I thought it was an interesting aspect. We always seemed to have horses growing up, and I'm sure this is part of the reason.

Lyn said...

You are very lucky..such a lovely mom, who had a most adventurous life..the stories you must have heard!! Thanks for sharing..

Eric S. said...

Thanks Lyn, and we did hear many a story.

Nancy said...

Having living in a Latin American country for a while, this post made me wish I could go back to your mom's time and place so I could have experienced her life in Columbia along with her. How wonderful for her to have had the experiences she did. Even better that she shared her memories and photos with you.

Eric S. said...

Thanks Nancy, I would have loved to travel in those times also. I have never been south of the border, but did manage to see Germany, although it was in camouflage, LOL.

Christine H. said...

Your story absolutely transported me. I felt as if I were there. How wonderful that you can write so well to bring that whole experience to life. Thanks.

Christine H. said...

oops, I meant ERIC, not Nancy. I had just read Nancy's comment. Sorry.

Eric S. said...

Thanks Christine, and no worries, I've done the exact same thing before.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

What an adventuresom life your mother had; living in SA sounds exotic and glad she shared good memories. Her photo looked great against the backdrop of your blog which has a fascinating background!

Vixen/Apron Frenzy said...

Wow, what a wonderfully fascinating life your mother must have had. It is too bad she won't let you publish them, they sound like an excellent read!

Hope you are having a good Monday, Eric.

Eric S. said...

@ Pat, yep she sure did. Some of her stories a fabulous. Plus she learned Spanish very easily down there.

@ Vixen, I wish she would, they are a very interesting read. I learned things about my Mother, I never knew.

tashabud said...

Eric, your mother is beautiful.

What an enchanting evening that had to be. Sounds so romantic. My kind of stories to read and hear about. If I were there when she was telling her story, I'd be all starry and dreamy eyed, imagining the scene and sighing internally.

Is your mother's memoire going to be published soon? I'd love to read it.


Eric S. said...

Thank You Tasha, She sure made it sound nice. You know, I could picture you sitting there all dreamy eyed, LOL. I think she wants to get it published, but she's going to have it edited first. Right now though college is taking priority. She's studying for her masters in nursing, been a nurse all her life. Now that she's retired, she wants her masters.


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