Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day 175. La Familia Ferriz

Old photographs, visits with the family, and the arrival of my sister give me a good reason to introduce to you the Familia Ferriz. To start by the one dearly remembered of whom I have no photograph handy, I will tell you that my maternal grandmother, Guillermina, was a plump and no-nonsense lady with whom I crossed swords more than once (or rather, she was wielding a broom while I tried to defend myself with a cooking spoon—I was a rather trying child). Mi Abuelita Mina had three children, Guillermina 2, Norma, and Othon.

My parental grandparents were Alfonso and Catalina, in this photo with their three oldest children Alfonso 2, Armando, and Carlos. My grandma died when I was 10 years old, but my grandfather lived to the ripe age of 92 years, and everyone says that I inherited his love for mountaineering, adventure, and misleading others into accompanying him in death marches. He taught me a very valuable lesson: No matter how tired you are, as soon as a camera comes out stand erect and smile; all others will look like whimps to posterity.

In the following photo you can see my Dad when he was a little kid!

Norma and Armando met while working for Palmolive, which was well known for two products: Hand soap and marriages. Indeed, my Dad fell in love with his pretty secretary, and married her in 1950. They had three children, Armando 2, Horacio (yours truly), and Norma 2.

Armando 2 married Noemí, and they in turn had two boys, Renan and Armando 3. Renan married Sandra and they have one son, Angelito. As you can see in the photograph he is a lively little devil who adores his grandparents.

Armando 3 married Monica and they also have one son, Armando 4, who you saw yesterday. In this trip I was able to squeeze a visit to them, in Monclova and Monterrey, to enjoy their warm hospitality. Here is a photo of Armandito 4 together with his grandparents, Noemí and Armando 2.
Norma 2 met Evan in a rafting trip down the Colorado, and after their marriage they have made their home in Napa Valley, California. Both of them are health nuts, bio, and crazy about extreme sports. My little sis is very lively and adventurous, and it is rare to see her without a huge smile.

In addition there were a lot of uncles, aunts, and cousins, here seen around my grandparents 50 years ago. I am the second from the right, in the front, and was grumpy because I had to be still for the photo (in modern terms I would have been described as a super-hyperactive kid). My brother is to my left. My Mom is the second from the right in the middle row, and my Dad is the second from the right in the back row.

Over the last three days I have been lucky enough to visit with some of my favorite relatives. Let’s start with my Tía Reina, the cousin of my Dad, who is the happiest person on Earth. She lives near my parents, and when we were kids we used to visit with her and her family almost every week, to sing along, tell jokes (she told the jokes), and laugh like crazy (we did the laughing). My Tía Reina is the baptism Godmother of my daughter Fabiola, who always referred to her as “my Fairy Godmother”. In the photo, from left to right, are my Dad, my Tía, and my Mom.

Another big favorite is my Tío Poncho, the older brother of my Dad, who at 85 years of age is as strong and dynamic as a young man. He was my idol as an engineer, and always seemed to be thinking on something new to research or invent. Even now, he has interested himself with the process of aging, and is conducting experiments with mice (much to the distress of my girl cousins) about the effects of different compounds on longevity (he is a Chemical Engineer). My Tío Poncho is also a gifted chess player and teacher, who in many occasions has been National Chess Champion (you know, the kind of guy who can play with 30 other players simultaneously by walking around the room, beating most of them). In the photos you see him with my Dad (the original hermanitos Ferriz) inside of his Chess School.

We also gathered for a festive dinner at the house of my Tía Marisa, together with my Tía Nevia three of my cousins, and a dozen of nephews and nieces. It was a typical Mexican gathering, with everyone talking at the same time and laughing a lot. I am glad to be able to say that we are the type of family that enjoys being together!

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