The state of this box and how my grandma had kept it hidden and safe would not have had a bigger effect on my curiosity even if it had been jewel-encrusted, golden and covered in dusty catacomb somewhere, with Harrison Ford in the next room trying to get at it. No, nothing could compare, this seemed to be part of our family history, something that had been kept hidden, and kept safe by my Mimi for many many years by the worn but preserved look of the box.
“This belonged to your Grandpa mijo, he wanted all of his family to see this.”
My grandpa had passed away two years earlier, and in all our time with him, while he graced our lives, never did he reveal this box, nor talk about his early years as an adult very much. It’s understandable, as he served in one of the worst wars to ever befall the planet in the loss of human life. He was a great man, who loved my grandma with all his heart.
My Grandma Ysabell Hernandez is the mother of 5 children, 7 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren; to say she has seen a lot is a tragic understatement. (She had lived through 5 great wars that our country fought in)
Her first and only true love was my Grandpa, in fact, she jokes, she was off to a nunnery school before he wooed her out of it. He would travel to their little village of Capitan every week from Hondo NM to sell fruit, a neighboring mountain village 25 miles away. My grandpa, Albert Hernandez was handsome, a smooth talker, and all around manly man, even at a young age. He grew up on a farm like so many back then, toiling with the lands and livestock, thriving off of necessity, he learned what is truly valuable in life. He was an artist when it came to re-using something for a different purpose when it seems like all the use had been sapped from it. Their courtship was cut short as nations were testing their might against each other in what would eventually become the second great war. My grandpa was pulled away from the life that he had known, and thrown into a whole different world.
To be concluded…