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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Grandma Steblay and My Bojon Heritage

I told my cousin Mike who writes a fantastic blog called that I would join him during the month of July and post about our wonderful childhood in what we all affectionately know as "BojonTown"! We both come from good stock. Our people came from Yugoslavia. Today it is known as Slovenia. There are many wonderful stories about these people probably because they are smart, funny and very becoming! As I write these posts I will share some beautiful scenery from this place where my ancestors including my sweet grandmother (above) traveled to start life anew in America. This tiny grandmother, pictured here with many of her great grandchildren and one of  her granddaughters (me) holding my nephew Tony and my cousin LuAnne. My grandmother arrived in this country at the age of 18 all alone with ten dollars to her name . I found her at Ellis Island on a ship's manifest. My spine tingled as I thought about what she must have been feeling, traveling all that distance and being alone  She came to America with her father's blessings. He also arrived in this country later and I will share a photo of his grave site when I can get a photo. I have been unable to find any information about my grandmothers mother although I know she had two sisters, Anna who never left Yugoslavia and passed away when I was five. Anna was her youngest sister. My Tata Rose (tata sLOVEnian for Aunt) was also younger than my grandmother Cecilia and I will share some stories about her on a different day.  My grandmother settled in an area called "the Grove" in the city of Pueblo, Colorado. She was married to my grandfather Joseph and they had two sons and eight daughters, three of whom died in infancy.  Uncle Louie was the eldest , Tony, Mary, Cecilia, Anna, Elsie and Josephine. The babies that passed away were Frances, Agnes and Rosie. I am uncertain of their dates of birth but I do know that Rosie is buried at the Roselawn Cemetery in Pueblo because my father paid for her headstone. She is buried near the family plot of her sister Anna and her husband's family. I often wonder what went through their minds to lose so many children and to keep living their lives. They were a rare breed that generation of people, strong willed, hard working, honest and giving up their former lives to start a journey on a new life in a new country.
This is the front of my grandmother's home. My sister Mary inherited the house from my Uncle Louie and his wife Auntie Ang after their passing. The house was built in 1908 and features three bedrooms and one bathroom. It is near the Ruyon Field, which is a baseball field. Today it is considered a Sports Complex .
This is sort of how I remember Ruyon Field. This is a google image. I am thinking Hobbs Field must be related to the Hobbs Linoleum Co. that faced Santa Fe Avenue and sits in front of the ball field. As kids when we visited my grandmother we would search the field outside the ballpark for all baseballs lost and it was always a wonderful time and brings back lots of good memories. When we were kids a family named Spelich, also sLOVEnians a/k/a Bojons, were caregivers at the ball field and they were very nice to all the kids. You could get a hotdog for a quarter and a soft drink as well. My father played semi pro baseball in our hometown of Pueblo and I have stories about him later as well.
When a gal asks her sister to send her a photo of her home the sister never lets her down! My sissy is a sweetheart! She took this photo of her backyard for me. At one time Uncle Louie and Auntie Ang had the most beautiful rose garden in this yard where the grass now grows. I wish I had photos of that garden. If I close my eyes I can smell all the sweet and delicate scents of the dozens of roses they had planted in their garden. The two of them were master gardeners. If you look closely at this phot you can see the clothesline near the tree. My goodness, that tree has grown so much from the days of my childhood. Thank you Mary for sharing photos with me for my blog.
Uncle Louie and Auntie's Ang's wedding day, November  27, 1946. The Catholic priest, Father Daniel Gnidica (a bojon of course) and my precious and beautiful grandmother Cecilia.
This is the certificate of marriage for my aunt and uncle. You can see the priest's handwriting along with Auntie's niece Anna, who was the mom of my good friend Rob. Bojons all over the place.
Remember Father Dan because I do not have other photos of him but I will share a little something about him. He cleaned up nice when he was doing his priestly duties but Father was a Saint to me simply because he was also a carpenter and I always thought he was a cool priest because when he was not offering Mass or officiating at a wedding, he was on the church/school grounds in his workshop wearing his overalls! I thought he was terrific because I loved Jesus and he was a carpenter and I figured Father Dan must have wanted to be like Jesus! This old school priest had a very kind heart. I will always remember him fondly.
This photo of my sister's bojon home shows the path to her shed on your left and the garage which was a one car garage and Uncle kept it neat as a pin! I shared my Grandmother;s home with you first because the government has something called eminent domain. I don;t want to get into the politics of it basically they have the right or their agent has the right to expropriate property for public use, with payment of compensation. What bothers me about this particular home, aside from it being in my bojon phamily since the early 1900's is the fact that in June, 1921 Pueblo had a devastating flood . Not only did this sturdy home survive the flood my grandmother chose to stay in her home. There is some conflicting information when you read the local news reports because when they started this campaign and put a you tube video  titled :

Potica, Pints, and Prayers in Old Bojon Town

 Now in this video they say that the bojons moved from the Grove Southward to higher ground (my neighborhood) but many sLOVEnian or Bojon families stayed put including my Grandmother, her sister My Tata Rose, the Trontel's, the Ahlin's and the Meglens to name the families I can remember. I think rather than run a highway through this historic area they should deem it historical and preserve it. I am sorry I can not attach the you tube video. Some of my relatives are featured in the video and their homes as well. You can go to you tube and pull up the video by the name.

Until tomorrow I bid you lahko noč


Leovi said...

A beautiful family history.

NanaDiana said...

I love all the old family history. You are lucky to know so much of it---many families don't have that kind of trail.
Happy week of the Fourth to you, Anne! xo Diana

Edna B said...

Oh, what wonderful photos and memories. I think it's great that you are posting all this beautiful information on your blog. Once your book is printed, it will be a treasure for your whole family.

My ancestors came over on the Mayflower, and a cousin spent many years putting together a gorgeous book covering three hundred years of our family. (on my mother's side) The book is gorgeous, and once it was published, I got a copy for myself and each of my kids.

I just wish I had all our photographs to pass along. Unfortunately, most all of them were lost many years ago.

Anne, call me when you want to try a blog book. I'll be glad to help you with it. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

Dogmom Diva said...

Wonderful memories! Auntie Ang and Uncle Louie. Were wonderful folks..I remember their home!

Intense Guy said...

Oh this is a marvelous, marvelous post!

It is a long way from Yugoslavia to Colorado! That trip must have been quite an adventure!