Thursday, December 24, 2009

Amuma Love

Elliot loves his Amuma.

Amuma loves her Elliot.
Last night Debbie told us the story of her Amuma, Elliot's great-Amuma, Delores Echeverria. The story goes that her husband came to the states from the Basque country to herd sheep and make money to send back for his wife and their son, Leo, to join him. He did make it to Idaho, and he did make money herding sheep, but he did not send it back to help bring his wife and son to join him. Instead he spent it on the local "sporting gal." When the money never came, Delores set out to make her own money to get her and her son to the states. She worked as a wet nurse, maid, and cook and got enough to pay their way. They came through Ellis Island and made it all the way to Idaho, where the story goes that upon their arrival her husband had the nerve to point out the sporting gal that had gotten all of his money! Amuma, who was obviously one tough cookie, "chased that gal all the way to California." She and her husband then settled in Idaho to raise their children and love on their grandchildren.

Elliot's Amuma has great memories of her Basque Amuma singing to her and cooking for her, all of the things Debbie loves to do for her grandsons. Elliot is so lucky to have such a wonderful Amuma.

1 comment:

Malia said...

Stories from Debbie: It was a sunny cold Christmas Eve in Boise.....

Christmas Even in our big, loud, loving Basque family was always at my Amuma's house in Mountain Home, Idaho. My four uncles and two aunts and various spouses would fill the house with me and my six siblings and three cousins and, of course, Amuma. Amuma and Tia would cook Basque Rice, Chicken, chorizos, bread, beef tongue, cod fish and other dishes I can't remember. Flan was a favorite desert. Adults enjoyed wine. There was a lot of singing and my Uncle Benny would strum his guitar. I never met my grandfather, Ixtixta Zoilo Leon Echeverria because he died before my parents were married. But tradition has always lived on. My Uncle Leo (my favorite uncle) always sang in his beautiful baritone voice and others would join in. Basques are Catholic by tradition and traditional Christmas songs would be part of the Basque songs that would be sung. My dad, Isaac Echeverria, was the youngest son and favorite child of my Amuma, Dolores Marie Echeverria. Dad tells stories about his mom and dad running a livery stable near Bruneau, Idaho. Travelers going from their farms could stop at their livery for food and to rest on their way to Mountain Home, Idaho or Boise. Dad remembers his father being able to jump up onto the bar top from a standing position on the floor. Alcohol may have been involved. He describes his dad as being like the much loved character, Gus McCrae, in Lonesome Dove. Amuma was a very hard worker who saved what little money they had to make ends meet. She was known to be tough and no nonsense. She was a wonderful cook. I used to love watching her push heavy pots and frying pans around on the top of her iron wood burning cook stove. Even though she never learned to speak English, I learned many good lesson from her. So, from my house to yours, we all wish you a very Merry Christmas. We thank God for the blessing this year of Elliot and Malia. Life is so good.