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Category Archives: Family

We’re A Happy Family (8)

One of the stops on our trip that I had been looking forward to the most was visiting Tish’s sister Lilly and her husband Orin on their farm in Wakonda, South Dakota. Lilly is the youngest of Tish’s older siblings and one of the nicest persons on earth. Being twelve years older than Tish, she was the designated sister to take care of little Tish, whenever Cuquita (as everybody called Tish’s mom) wasn’t around. When Lilly left the family home in the mid-sixties, first to follow her older sisters to New Jersey, than to go to South Dakota to settle down with Orin on his parents’ farm, Tish was quite heartbroken. In 1970 Tish got to spend her 15th summer on the farm, which is still a very fond and lively memory to her (and the source for a bunch of great photos, like the one below).

By some lucky coincidence, Lilly’s daughter Tracey and her three children (whom you might remember from this post) were visiting the farm the same time that we were there, so we had a lot of fun hanging out with the extended Abild family (that’s Lilly’s and Orin’s last name). I’ll show you a few more pics of that and of the farm in my next post.

Tish, her sister Lilly and Lilly’s daughter Tracey in 1970 …

… and in 2012

The only persons missing were Tracey’s husband Larry and her brother Dean, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. And that’s where we met him a few weeks later:


We’re A Happy Family (7)

Top row, from left: Andreas, Kevin, Matthew, Cole, Sheila, Frank Jr., Kevin Jr., Frank, Sean. Middle row: Ally, Mary, Yvonne, Elizabeth. Bottom row: Paul, Kayla, Tish, Alice, Betty.

Memorial Day Weekend in New Jersey. Since that Sunday also saw the First Communion of their youngest son Cole, Tish’s niece Sheila and her husband Kevin invited us to a party which turned into quite a family reunion. Almost the whole Northeastern section of the family was present, which gives me a chance to tell you a little more about them.

You have already met Tish’s sisters Alice and Betty. Now Alice has three daughters, of which Sheila is the youngest. Then there’s Mary and Yvonne. Betty has a son, Frank, and a daughter, Elizabeth. All five of them have families of their own, and I am very happy to say that by now I know each member of the New Jersey branch of the Hinojosas (save for one grandniece who lives in North Carolina) and that I remember all their names (see the picture above).

The party at Sheila’s house was a lot of fun, especially for me, since towards the end I got really drunk (for the first and so far only time on this trip, by the way). Here’s a picture with our lovely host Sheila:

The next day, which was one the hottest Memorial Days in New Jersey history, with temperatures near 90 degrees (32 Grad Celsius), we had a great time hanging out and relaxing with Sheila’s family. My personal highlight was getting to ride Kevin’s lawn mover (Rasenmäher) and eventually mowing the whole lawn on their huge property.

(Written in Tigard, Oregon, July 14, 2012)

We’re A Happy Family (6)

Having a great time in Hillsboro, New Jersey with my sisters-in-law Alice (left) and Betty

It is time to pay some attention to the New Jersey family. No, not the Sopranos (although driving through New Jersey made us think of the series a lot), we’re still talking about the Hinojosa clan, which interestingly has its second strongest bastion (after Texas, of course) in the tiny state of New Jersey (the fourth smallest in the Union, albeit the eleventh most populous). Back in the 50s/6os, two of Tish’s older sisters moved to the „Garden State“, and their children now mostly live in New Jersey as well. Overall there’s about 15 Hinojosas in the state (none of which bear that name).

Tish’s sisters are Isabel (also known as Betty) and Alicia (who, to her dismay, is called Alice by most of her family members, including me, in order to distinguish her from Alicia, the widow of her brother Phil). They are number three and five in the “ranking”. Alice lives in Hillsboro, New Jersey, and she was the most generous host for us during our time of zig-zaging the Northeast: We came to stay at her place three times. Poor Alice must have been quite relieved when we finally left for good. Here’s a beautiful picture of her, ca. 1952:

Betty and her husband Frank live in Watchung, New Jersey, about 30 minutes from Hillsboro. We stopped by their lovely house for a short visit, knowing that we were going to see them again soon at a New Jersey family party on Memorial Day weekend. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of Betty from the 50s., so instead here’s one of her with seven of her siblings from around 1970:

From left: Stella, Gloria, Alice, Linda, Phil, Lilly, Betty, Hope

(Written in Rapid City, South Dakota, July 2, 2012)

We’re A Happy Family (5)

From left: Larry, Dalton, Tracy, Pruett and Harrison Wells.

North Carolina is home to a small fraction of the Hinojosa family: Tish’s niece Tracy, her husband Larry and their children Pruett, Dalton and Harrison. (There are actually more relatives in the state – Tish’s grandniece Julie and her family -, but unfortunately we didn’t get to visit them on this trip.) Tracy is the daughter of Tish’s sister Lilly, the youngest of the older sisters. Tracy and Larry are both teachers. We loved staying at their cosy home in Fayetteville and trying out a delicious selection of beers with them.

Tish and Tracy, ca. 1970, on Tracy’s parents’ farm in South Dakota (which we will visit at the end of June)

We’re A Happy Family (4)

This picture is just too good, so sorry ladies: The Gonzalez family will be represented by the men this time. From left: Rudy jr, Rudy sr, Phil, Paul (the bridegroom), Matt (photo by Sarah Beth)

Time to introduce you to the Houston branch of the family. This weekend we went to the wedding of Paul Gonzalez, the youngest son of Tish’s sister Linda and her husband Rudy. Paul’s not their only son, there’s three more of them. They all live in the Houston area, so that’s where the wedding took place. Good for us, because that was on our route to the East. Linda is the oldest of the five younger girls in the Hinojosa family (which makes her number nine in the overall ranking). Trivia for Tish fans: Linda is the one who wouldn’t let little Tish hang the icycles (Lametta) on the Christmas tree, as mentioned in Tish’s song “Arbolito”.

Not the wedding we attended: Linda and Rudy in 1972

The wedding itself was a lot of fun. Paul and his bride Lindsay made a beautiful couple. So did Tish and Adam in the photo booth that was provided for the guests:

Is it Y or M or C or A? I guess it depends on who you ask …

The alphabetical dilemma didn’t improve when Tish joined the dancing crowd

We’re A Happy Family (3)

From left to right: Tony, Christian, Christian’s mother, Jackie, Kaletchi, Sylvia, Jackie’s brother A. J. Sorry for the fuzziness!

Grand Prairie, where Tish played her band concert this weekend, is part of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex (6 million inhabitants!), so we decided to go a day earlier and spend some time with Tish’s niece Jackie and her family in Fort Worth. And that gives me the opportunity to introduce you to a very special part of the Hinojosa clan: the Texan-Nigerian branch! Jackie’s boyfriend Christian is from Lagos, Nigeria. Their cute little son Kaletchi just turned one year old. We were lucky to get introduced to Christian’s  charming mother as well, who had just come to visit them from Nigeria.

Jackie, by the way, is the daughter of Tish’s sister Sylvia (number 10 of the siblings), who lives with her husband Tony in San Antonio. Sylvia’s the one that Tish used to steal Raphael records from as a teenager. Some years ago, Sylvia discovered the albums at Tish’s place – one of them even had her name written on it (mysteriously spelled with an i). I could barely stop Sylvia from taking the records with her by promising that I would give her CD copies of the vinyl albums.

This wonderful album is now safely stored in Hamburg.

We’re A Happy Family (2)

Easter weekend in San Antonio, part two: After having brunch at Mark’s house, we moved on to the next party, this time at the house of Tish’s brother Joe (or José) and his wife Hilda – which gives me an opportunity to introduce you to this part of the Hinojosa family. Interestingly, after Alicia’s family in the last post, it’s the second family branch mentioned in this blog that actually carries the Hinojosa name – and it will be the last one. Since Joe and Phil were Tish’s only brothers and none of her sisters kept her maiden name, today most family members are not called Hinojosa. (By the way: Tish kept the name for herself, but didn’t pass it on to her children.)

Talking about my brother-in-law Joe is a good oportunity to explain the basics of Tish’s family, and who would be better for that than Tish herself? So as an introduction, here’s her trademark song “West Side of Town”, which tells it all. It’s a live version that was filmed in Bergen, Norway and aired on Norwegian TV around 1990 (thanks to our friend Yngwe for sending us a DVD with those recordings!). Note the interesting footage of the real West Side of San Antonio in the beginning!

If you listened carefully to the words of this song, you already know that Tish’s father Felipe Hinojosa had seven children with his first wife, who died in 1945 (not in 1943, as the song’s lyrics claim for poetical reasons). He then met Maria Coronado (called Cuquita by everyone), who had just arrived from Mexico “with one child of her own” – and that child was Joe. The rest of the story is quickly told: Felipe and Maria got married and had five more children, the last of which was named Leticia, soon to be called Tish by most people.

Tish’s brother Joe, ca. 1960 – and with Tish in 2012 (wearing a Prinz-Heinrich-Mütze from Hamburg)

Joe had two children with his first wife, and he is now very happily married to Hilda, who has a huge family herself. It was great to finally meet Joe’s sons and several of Hilda’s children this Easter weekend. I love their house in South San Antonio, which, by the way, is one of the very few non-suburbian houses that we stayed in on our trip so far.

Tish singing “West Side of Town” for Joe and Hilda in their garden