Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's December 1st..and who is Miguel de Vasconcelos..

It's the last month of the year...unbelievable as it may seem, the year is almost over. It's been a busy few months, and with Christmas coming up, even more busy. Today I took the afternoon off and took my mom to do some shopping. It's the first time she has "shopped" in a long time, due to her cracked knee incident, but although she was a little slower, she was feeling no pain. My mother LOVES to shop, so it's good to see her back in her element, not slowing down. I thought she wanted to do some Christmas shopping, but she seemed more content shopping just for herself. (Looks like I'll have to take her shopping again a few more times..)

So, today is December, 1st. When my mother was growing up in the Azores, she had to learn about Miguel de Vasconcelos who died on this day in 1640. In the car, on our way home, she started to recite a poem about poor Miguel de Vasconcelos, but could only remember the beginning of it. Apparently, back then, children were expected to recite important dates in history by memory. My mom said that it was very difficult, and half the time the children didn't understand what they actually reciting, but the dates had to be correct, and wording exact in order to pass exams. Back then in the 1940's children were expected to finish the 4th grade at the very least, and graduate at age 10. My mom "graduated" a year behind at 11--due to her losing a year of school due to her being sick when she was 8, as I previously mentioned in my earlier blog entry. After graduation, you were given the choice of continuing your education and go to high school for another 6 years. Most girls her age completed the 4th grade, and stayed home where they were taught the "domestication's" of life such as sewing, crochet, embroidery, cooking, washing and ironing...etc. My mother loved to iron, but enjoyed theatre. My mother participated in various community activities, which included acting in various plays, which involved a lot of rehearsing and dance routines...etc..etc.. My mother's father was a very well known playwright/poet on the island, who wrote various plays (dancas) and who died in his 30's when my mom was a baby. He would organize and direct plays, with my mother in his arms. Naturally many people expected my mom to continue in his footsteps. Although my mom was unable to know her father, her mother told her endless stories of him, and she was raised by a loving step-grandfather, who just happened to have been her father's best friend. My step-grandfather was also a first cousin to my paternal grandmother--but, that is another story. My mom sang, danced, and was told by a distant cousin, who had seen her perform, who was visiting from America that if she had been born in the U.S. she would have been another Marilyn Monroe. I think my mom wishes she hadn't disclosed this information (she has been teased about it quite often,) but back then, my mom at 13 my mom didn't think there could have been a better compliment.

My mom is the the second to the left, as a bridesmaid, 1948. If you look closely at the bottom right, you'll see a young man with a tie, and a older man below where the wedding party is posing. The young man would follow my mother everywhere wishing to be her boyfriend and future husband. If my dad hadn't showed up a few years later, according to my mother, that young man would have gotten his wish.

Okay, so what happened to Miguel de Vasconcelos on December 1, 1640? I just had to look it up: