Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Mi familia

Inspired by Meaghan's post of old photos of her mother, and also questions about my connection to Spain, I decided to do a post about my maternal grandparents. You see, they are originally from Spain, hence my Spanish connection. My Mum and Aunt were born over here, but technically I am half Spanish (I used to get into many arguments with kids at school who told me I was only a quarter Spanish because my Mum is really English although she's not, she's just born here.)

My Nana had this huge biscuit tin that was full of photos of my Grandparents and other family in Spain. I used to get so excited whenever we got to look at it and I'd spend forever asking 'who's this?' and 'where's that?'. My Spanish family seemed so intriguing to me as a child, rather exotic and mysterious compared to the little northern industrial town I grew up in. Now, that tin is in my possession because I loved it so much.


This is my Grandad Pepe. This photo was taken in about the early 50s/late 40s I think. Doesn't he look so suave? This is my favourite photo of him ever - when I was little I always used to think he looked so smart, he had to be a gangster or something.

nana and grandad

And this is my Nana & Grandad together. My Nana and Grandad's story is quite romantic/sad. My Nana's own mother died when she was young and she had a horrible stepmother. When my Nana & Grandad started courting, my Nana's stepmother decided that Pepe wasn't good enough for my Nana. They still carried on courting despite this and even got engaged. However, under the regime of Franco, my Grandad was very unhappy and decided to emigrate to England. (Well, originally he wanted to go to South America, but it was too expensive and hard to get there, so after a stint in Paris, he settled in England). My Nana & Grandad were still engaged at this point, and were actually engaged for 9 years (a very long time back then!). They got married whilst my Grandad was in England and my Nana back in Spain. They didn't have a real wedding ceremony, but once the papers were signed, my Nana was allowed to move to England to be with her husband. They've been married for nearly 60 years now. Sometimes I wish I could see the love letters that they sent to each other whilst seperated. The closest thing I've got is a photograph of my Nana sat on a boat and on the back in Spanish she's written 'I wish this boat could send me to you'.

mum and auntie ana

Once settled in England, my Grandad got a job working in the mines and my Auntie and Mum were born in the 50s. The photo above is a photo of my Mum & Auntie, on holiday in Spain. My Mum is the youngest one, doesn't she look cute? I really like my Auntie's coat too.


This is a photo of my Nana, Grandad, Auntie and Mum, on a visit to family in Spain. My Mum is the little baby on the left with a dummy in. The old lady in the middle is my great-grandmother, my Grandad's mum. My Mum says this is the only time that she met her and it makes me so grateful that I grew up so close to my Nana & Grandad.

I've been to Spain to visit family twice, and I am so excited because in March I'm going again. My Nana & Grandad don't go as much anymore, because they're getting old, so I am really excited about a big family holiday, with my Mum, Sister, Brother-in-law, Nana and Grandad (my Dad has to stay at home to look after the dogs!).

Do you have any interesting or romantic family stories?


  1. oh wow. that's so interesting. thanks for sharing this with us :p

  2. oh they're beautiful! I love the photos and your mum was definitely GORGEOUS!

  3. Lovely. Old photos are so evocative!

  4. I just checked your blog from another blog... hehe
    I'm from Spain! Do you speak spanish??
    Its so nice your family is from here :D and on the photos, they all look really spanish hehe

    follow you!

  5. me ha gustado muchisimo leer la historia de tu familia :) me gustaria a mi tambien tener origenes "exoticas" :D

    your story's lovely :) it's so nice to find out something about the people writing the blogs i follow :)

    thanks 4 this post Helen :)

    (i see you're my age :) i'd thought you were older)

  6. i think that quote about the boat is the sweetest thing (but heartbreaking too) its amazing what love can do. treasure that cookie tin!

  7. Interesting. I'm Spanish :)
    whereabouts in Spain is your family from?

  8. iris - i *can* speak spanish if i try but i don't much really! i understand it all though pretty much.

    pinkcherry - they're from valencia, i love that city.

  9. Ohh Valencia is beautiful! You're so lucky to be going there in March. Thanks for the fascinating family history. I love looking at old photos.
    My Nana and Grandad met at a dance and married when they were quite young. Then he got sent to Europe to fight in WWII when she was pregnant with my father. Grandad didn't come home from the war until my dad was almost 3 years old! But they were never separated again :)

  10. This is such a lovely post! I love looking through old photos of my family, it's so amazing how so many people have such amazing stories to tell if you just take the time to ask!

  11. This reads like a novel from Gabriel García Márquez, except it's reality which makes it even better. I completely understand why you would like to read their old love letters, they must me so passionate, so full of longing... And those pictures! How intriguing they are.
    Ahh, what a wonderful post this is. You brought a smile upon my face :)

  12. awww the story of your grandparents is so lovely! i love hearing those old love stories when two peopel meet at a young age and get married and stay together forever!

  13. This was such a beautiful post and story, I love old family photos! Thanks for sharing :)

  14. i love vintage photos. these are great! especially the one of your mom and aunt as kids- adorable!

  15. Gorgeous photos. I bet it'd be so interesting to plot your family tree!

    Unfortunately I think the furthest my family spreads is Liverpool. Considering I'm from Yorkshire, it's no great distance! :)

    Jen x

  16. i love looking at old photos. they're so romantic and they make me feel so nostalgic. :)

  17. I love old photos.. so nostalgic!

  18. What a great post, gorgeous family!


  19. Thanks for sharing such wonderful story and pictures. My grandparents have passed, but i recalled some of their stories during war (my granddad was a soldier and my grandma was a nurse) and after the independence (how they used to go dancing every night in the '50s and '60s). i wish i have their old pictures though

  20. I love these pictures; your family looks and sounds so cool. There are some good stories in my family. My parents met when my father was dating my mother's best friend...I always think that is a good story. :)

  21. I secretly love learning about other people's family history. They always seem more interesting than my own.

  22. thanks so much for sharing this with us; incredible post

  23. If your mum was born and brought up in England, then surely she is English. But in terms of your 'blood' you are indeed half Spanish x

  24. i always find family history so fascinating. the bit about the boat is SO romantic! Your grandpa reminds me of Walt Disney (in the best possible way of course!)



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