To Read on the Journey

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We're Come'n To America {Part 2}

This is the story of my family, the Teodosio family {isn't that a cool name}, and how they came to America. 

My grandmother Josefina Greves was one of 17 children. My grandfather Antonio Teodosio was one of 12 children {11 biological and 1 adopted sister}. They lived on the westernmost point of Europe, on the Portuguese island of Flores.  A beautiful, but poor island.

My grandmother's grandfather Jose (pronounced "juh zeh") Greves had come to the United States, lived, worked, and obtained citizenship, and returned to the Azores.  In the early 1900's her father also Jose Greves, followed in his father's footsteps and came to America.  When he returned to Flores, Azores he married and began a family. His wife Marie Amelia, had no desire to leave her home, and so they lived the rest of their years in Faga Grande, Flores.

I wonder how a village on an island so small could hold a man who had seen so much of the world.  I am sure that he spoke of his adventures to America. I believe his adventure ignited a passion in his daughter, Josefina, to one day live in America. 

My grandparent's story isn't a fairytale, they grew up along side each other, and
married in 1947.   They had 6 children; Violet, Marie, Victoria, Vera, Joe, and Hilda {These are their American names, changed when they moved here. Btw- with exception to Violet, all of my aunts first names are Marie}. They continued living in Flores for many years, but my grandmother wanted more, and they made plans to move their family to the Unites States.

On March 19,1961, 4 days after her 35th birthday, my grandmother, Josefina, arrived in
California.  She entrusted her husband and sister to care for her 6 children (ages 12-4), so she could go ahead of them and establish a home in the U.S.  Upon her arrival she stayed with her uncle and aunt who helped her find work in a cannery, and loaned her money to send for her family.  In the meantime, my grandfather, Antonio, aunts and father, traveled from Flores to Sao Miguel to wait for their passports and airfare.  
The family was reunited 4 months later on July 31st  {the day after my grandparents 13th anniversary} in San Francisco, CA.
I once asked my grandmother what it was like to go to the San Francisco airport to get her husband and children.  She laughed and told me she had been advised to fix herself up as the American women do.  She wore a pretty dress, fixed up her hair, and painted her lips with red lipstick.  When my grandfather saw her he was livid.  After 4 months apart, he wouldn't speak to her
{I think he may have been more upset that she left him with 6 children}. My Aunt Violet, shared that when she got off the plane in S.F. and saw her mother she didn't recognize her, "she was so beautiful."

After their arrival in America the entire family went to work picking peaches, and quickly paid off every borrowed cent that brought them to the U.S. 
My grandfather {42 years old} obtained a job at a dairy, and a few years later my grandmother at Hunt's tomato cannery {where she worked for 25+ years}.
My grandparents have been generous with their lives. In addition to raising their 6 children, my grandparents also raised my sister and I.  

Their family of 8 is now a family of 53!!! 

The newest member of our family was born Monday. Welcome, Ian Silva!!

In September of 2005 God took my grandfather, Antonio Teodosio, home and made him new. 

{for the last 10 years of his life he slowly faded away from us as he suffered from Alzheimer's}.  I miss him terribly.

The name Josefina, comes from Joseph which means "May God add." God has certainly added so much to our family because of my grandmother.

I feel blessed to be a Teodosio.  I am honored to be part of a family that pursued a dream; a family with courage.  

My grandparents have given me a rich heritage, a deep value for family, and were the first to model victory {overcoming obstacles} to me. 

I praise God that He wrote me into their story {tears}.

My gratitude is expressed by living a life that honors them and Him. 


Top: Family photo at Aunt Violet's wedding. 
top row l-r: Marie, Violet, Victoria, Vera
bottom row l-r: Joe {my dad}, Antonio, Josefina, Hilda

Middle: My grandfather kissing me at my wedding reception (My grandfather gave me away}.

Bottom: My grandmother, sister Toni, and I



hannah singer said...

denise this is amazing!!
i love the photos and the story is just grace-filled. love learning more about you! blessed to be a blessing, i'd say! xo

Thea Nelson said...

Beautiful! So was your sister named after your grandfather? I love this!

Denise said...

yes, toni was named after my g-pa. my middle name is also toni. my 1/2 bro's middle name is tony. my dad's middle name is tony. half of my cousin's middle names are a variation of tony... you get the picture.

Linda Z said...

Patrick has 4 cousins all with the first name John... that was really confusing for a while!

I love that you wrote out this history!! It will be a such blessing for your children and grandchildren as God continues to add even more!!

I also love this line..."I wonder how a village on an island so small could hold a man who had seen so much of the world." It could have been pulled right out of a book... it's that good!! :)

{cuppakim} said...

loving the story.
and the photos.
what a treasure to have.

and celebrate.

and that bridesmaids wore veils.

i'm going to suggest that for the wedding i'm in in november ;)

Leslie @ top of the page said...

this is seriously the lovliest thing. what an incredible tribute. i'm so thankful you shared because it not only gives honor to your grandparents and your heritage, but also of course to God. He works throughout generations, and His faithfulness endures!