Maria Concepcion Granados - Connie

On January 14, 1906, Maria Concepcion Granados, second child and first daughter born to Ramon and Concepcion was born in Sevilla, Spain.  At age 5, she left Spain for America with her mother, older brother, Luis and two younger sisters, Rose and Clara.

Nick-named, "Connie", she spent her childhood in Mt. Rainier and Riverdale, Maryland.  On December 8, 1927 Connie married Arthur McKnew in Holy Redeemer Church in Berwyn, MD.  Together they had six children; Mary, Arthur,  Louise,  Roxsena (Roseanne ),Joanne and Richard.

Connie died December 3, 1997 and is buried in Ft. Lincoln Cemetery in NE Washington, DC.

The Second child in the First Generation

Main Page
First Generation
Cuento de Brujas
Coat of Arms
Emigration Narrative 
Family Index
Feedback Form























































































































































Connie Granados McKnew
Click for larger view




By Mary, Artie, Louise, Roxsena and Joanne
children of Connie Granados McKnew


MARY – “Her life was shaped by the years living at home caring for her nine sisters and brothers. Her mother, a beautiful, gentle Spanish daughter of privilege, was a maker of lace and an accomplished pianist before moving to rural Maryland via Cuba and Washington DC.  Her father taught the Spanish language to diplomats and lived away from home most of the week. Momma was responsible for much of the cleaning and cooking to be done in her parents’ house.  Because of this dependency by the family, Daddy asked her father for permission to marry.  Momma said that her father did not bring her mother to their wedding, for what reason I do not know. They were married just under one year when I was born. Daddy and Momma lived in a tiny bungalow in Bladensburg MD, which backed up to the B&O railroad freight spur line. The thundering freight cars used to make Artie and I scream in fright, so they moved.

Her mother, (Abuela) died of peritonitis (appendicitis) when Artie and I were very small, leaving Uncle Tony, the youngest boy, needing a stable home to care for him.  He lived with Aunt Kitty and Uncle Ramón until he was old enough to make his own way.  Abuelo ran the house until his sudden death in the 30’s. 

Visits to our grandfather were frequent. There were chicken coops and rabbit hutches, and a huge vegetable garden which provided meals for the table.  He also grew grapes for wine.  Abuelo, (“Way-lo”) had large barrels of wine fermenting in his basement. One fall day, we found our Uncles Tony and Johnny stomping grapes in a huge tub under the walnut tree.  They wouldn’t let us help! Another favorite treat at his house were the ghost stories told best by Beano and Tony in a dark closet, which left us wide eyed and scared.

“Way-lo” would steam the then plentiful Blue Crabs. The families would gather to eat them in the big kitchen. Once they turned the basket of live crabs over to see us scramble screaming for the chairs. We also sat with the family to eat Calentitos with sugar. What a treat THAT was!

On the disturbing side, I remember the loud arguments between “Wa-lo” and my mother.  His words were punctuated by a pounding fist on the table, which made the coffee cups rattle. (Mediterranean men were raised to be in total control of the lives of their children. Should they differ with him, in any way, he would become the dictator demanding they change their lives or leave. Young adult Spanish-Americans would not tolerate this.)  So our mother was the mediator and protector of her brothers and sisters when there were conflicts between them.

The Great Depression caused a lack of jobs, forcing our parents to move three or four times.

The move from Riverdale to Branchville MD, found them trying to fit all their furniture and beds into a four-room bungalow with a big fenced yard.  The three of us children slept in one room.  Louise, Artie and I never knew cold or hunger or being deprived.  We knew we were loved, because we were disciplined quickly when we needed it, mostly for quarreling among ourselves.  There was no permissive rearing in Momma’s family.

The Depression years forced a mentality of “Do it yourself” when one wanted an unaffordable goal.  Momma was resourceful.  She raised chickens for a meat and egg business, made candy, and sewed our clothes as well as our own. 

Daddy made screens and did any kind of work available until he found work once again as an electrician.  Daddy and Momma experimented with bottling root beer.  Occasionally, they would hear corks pop and bottles break during the fermenting process.  Momma would run down the basement screaming in frustration.  We knew money was scarce, we heard it all the time.  However, birthday gifts were still bestowed, although very practical.  She made our Christmases magical, yet our presents were useful.  Socks, warm mittens and hats, pencil boxes, crayons, box games were the usual gifts.  For entertainment, we visited friends and relatives and played while our parents played cards and talked.  Birthday parties for cousins were a major picture-taking event, bringing us second-generation Granados’s ever closer together.

On Saturday, Momma would drive with us into Washington to the Farmers Market.  Farmers, fishermen, orchard owners called out their wares and prices. While we experienced sights and smells of vegetables, fruits, live chickens, turkeys, she got the best prices possible.             

Our parents insisted on the best education available for us, which was the Catholic elementary school, Holy Redeemer.  Some of our Granados cousins also attended there.  While we received a good education from the Sisters Providence (discipline, too), Momma was an active part of the Mothers Club.  She and the other mothers served monthly school luncheons for a brown-bag student body.  The savory hot dogs on rolls, cakes, popcorn balls or candy apples on a stick were a lot of work and so-o-o much enjoyment for the students.  She helped with school bazaars, May Processions, and raffles, whatever it took to assist the school.

Our Grandmother, Abuela, had been an accomplished pianist before she married and moved to the United States.  Although we lived in a country village, our mother was determined to educate us in the culture of a musical education, because it was the RIGHT thing to do.  Somehow, Momma acquired an upright piano, then squeezed it into our tiny living room.  A local piano teacher and our mother conspired to ruin much of our playtime.  Louise and I hated practicing, hated the daily nagging, and the guilt trips for wasting $2.00 a week! We battled with her for what seemed to be years until finally she relented and we stopped.  Daddy played violin with his musician friends.  In those growing years, we often heard classical and religious music in our house.  Better late than never, as adults, Artie, Louise and I have played guitar, and piano.  I sing in the church choir.  Louise branched into organ and bell choir.  Daddy loved his violin! When he was a very sick old man, he sold his treasured instrument in order to keep it from being set aside in a closet somewhere as a revered memory and souvenir; maybe even to keep us from fighting over it!

In the 1930s, during the Spanish Civil War, Momma and Uncle Luis had infrequent letters from Spain.  This caused a lot of anguish about the safety of their grandmother, Chacha, our many cousins and aunts.  For the most part, her proud heritage was hidden away; and, no Spanish was spoken at home.  In those years, the United States was not the multi-cultural society we know now.  No one wanted to be different, because you were discriminated against.

I learned more about Momma’s Spanish years during her nursing home days.  At that time in her life the past was more real than the present.  She talked about the death of her baby sister, Angelina.  She resented the fact that her mother never was permitted to return to Spain to see her mother again, although “We-lo” went there often on business.”

LOUISE -“I’m not sure what kind of a childhood Momma had.  She seldom spoke of her childhood.  I expect that Momma had to be there to help her mother raise the younger children.  Her mother, she would tell us, would always know whose feast day it was that day.  Abuela would talk to her about the saints and what they were noted for.”

MARY –“Momma never went out of the house to go to work, although she worked long and hard, sewing, washing, and cooking, to keep the family clean and dressed.  In 1941, when I graduated from Holy Redeemer Elementary School, we moved to a very large house in East Riverdale.

That one hundred-year-old house was intriguing, but it cost dearly to heat.

Our school tuition, dental bills, and the cost of Daddy’s car often had them making ‘Robbing Peter to Pay Paul’ choices.  Resourceful as always, Momma and Daddy rearranged our home to make two bedrooms available for boarders. She provided them with a private room and weekday dinners. We met teachers from Maryland, a government clerk, and Italian bricklayers from New Jersey.  We learned quickly to knock on the one bathroom door and wait.”

ARTIE – The big house on Riverdale Road was the center of our world as we grew up with our dog, “Boy”, a black and white English setter. I do not remember where he came from or what happened to him but he was a good dog.”

LOUISE – “World War II started and the house was opened up to boarders.  Jobs were plentiful and housing was scarce in Washington, DC.  Mr. Lee, the clerk, was a quiet, shy man.  We were cautioned not to irritate him.  He helped Artie with his reading. We helped Momma keep the house clean and helped her with the dishes (no dishwashers in those years).  The one bathtub in the house seemed always to have a grimy ring around the inside.

Momma had chickens under the back porch until they got too smelly.  Then, she had Daddy and his carpenter friend build a chicken house way back in the yard.  Feeding the chickens fell to us.  Cousin Bob and I used to go in the yard and hypnotize the chickens. We would tip toe out of the yard and leave them there on the ground mesmerized.  We would then pick up a rock and throw it in the yard; and, they would wake up, squawking loudly and run around.

Momma thought nothing of grabbing a chicken, slapping it on a board, twisting a bent nail around its neck, chopping off its head and tossing it over in the weeds. Then she would pour boiling water over the feathers, pluck the chicken, clean and dress it for dinner. 

She loved her flower garden and spent a great deal of time out in the yard.  It was her therapy. In the spring, she had a big semi-circle of daffodils blooming. We all waited for them to come into bloom.  Later, she planted a rose garden with a Blessed Mother statue and trellis.

In those days, we had a “Victory” garden, canned tomatoes, and made apple sauce from our apple trees. We always had summer tomatoes and green beans.  We picked wild blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries from our yard.  Sometimes Momma came home with a bushel of peaches and we would all have to help her can them in the summer heat of a steamy kitchen. They tasted so good during the cold winter months.

During those war years Aunt Beano came to live with us.  Uncle Johnny joined the Army and served in Africa in the infantry that eventually took him through Italy.  Uncle Tony joined the Marines and got into pilot training.  He had the task of transporting fighter planes from one location to the other.  Whenever he could, he would deviate from the flight plan, fly over our house and buzz us.  After a few minutes of circling the house and hearing the low drone of the plane, we would all scream at each other and run up the stairs, up into the attic and up the ladder to the flat roof on the house, grabbing something to wave on the way.  Tony would waggle the wings and fly off.

One Easter, our Aunt Dorothy McKnew was given three baby ducks as a gift.  They came immediately to live in our chicken house and grew into large white ducks that would act as “watch ducks” whenever a car drove into the yard. We had to feed and clean them, two died, but by Thanksgiving the one remaining duck had become our “pet duck.”  Momma saw it as DINNER duck!!  Our pleadings fell on deaf ears; and, our pet met the same fate as the chickens.  The baked duck sat there on our Thanksgiving table, but none of us would eat it!  He had been our pet; and, it just didn’t seem right.  Momma got so mad, she said, “I’m never going to try to fix a good duck dinner for any of us again!” But she did.

I remember Momma always working, washing, cooking, cleaning, sewing, and ironing. She seldom stopped. She raised six children in the old Jefferson Avenue (renamed Riverdale Road) house and on occasion some grandchildren. That house saw birthdays, weddings, Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners.”

JOANNE – “When I was born in 1945, my mother and father already had three children, half grown and a baby girl, Roseanne, 18-months old.  In 1948, when I was two years old, my brother Dickey was born.  As I remember, I stayed outside a lot.  In the winter, we did not miss our nap and went to bed at 8:00.”

MARY – “Dickey was the apple of their eyes.  He was the youngest son, born at a time in their lives when they were older and secure in life.  He received their best as their youngest child and grew up thinking the world was his for the taking.”

JOANNE – “Thanksgiving was a wonderful time.  It was the time of the year that all the kids and grandchildren shared the good times, watched with wonderment while Daddy, on his birthday, said the grace and craved the turkey sipping a glass of Sherry on the side.  Each year, we added another table, until we were around the corner of the dining room and into the living room. 

At Christmas, when I was little, Momma would drag out the movie camera; and, Daddy held the million-watt spotlight as we were called down to open our presents.  After our eyes adjusted to the spotlight, we opened our presents.  Mom would be saying in the background, “Smile. What did Santa bring you?  Hold it up for the camera!”  This was an extra special season in our house.  When we got older, there was Midnight Mass.  I remember, one year she made Roseanne and I Christmas skirts that had decorations (tinsel, bells, holly, and little colored ornaments).  Dickey showed his cowboy hat, outfit, and toy gun.

Momma, along with a number of other parishioners at Saint Bernards, was instrumental in putting together a manger scene, made of mechanical figures with angels signing “Panis Angelicus” in the background. I remember how proud she was!

Growing up, I remember when my sisters married.  Louise gave us all her stuff that she didn’t want.  I still have the wooden cedar box she gave me.  Our old house on Riverdale Road was a big house with a very interesting attic.  In the winter, we played up there a lot and also in the basement, which was an old-fashioned huge place with an oil- burning furnace.” 

LOUISE – (the house) “It was a haven for all of us, especially the ones who had to come home to regroup.”

JOANNE – “Daddy was so proud of a boat he built in the basement from a kit.  It took him a very long time to finish.  When he finished the boat, it wouldn’t fit through the door to bring it outside.  Artie and Tim had to dismantle the basement door to get the boat out.  

Momma was the boss, but Daddy was always on call and always right there when she needed him.  We had a very large yard.  He cut the grass every week with a hand mower at first, then a gas engine mower.  He changed the storm windows every season by himself and fixed all the small appliances.  He was a good electrician.

Our parents were devout Catholics, brought us up in the church, sent us to Catholic school, paid tuition for each of us, and, made sure we went to Confession and Mass each Sunday.  Even though the money was very tight, Momma stayed at home, raised her six children and helped Louise raise her children.  They, as well as several of our aunts and uncles, were very active in St. Bernard’s Parish.      At that time, we knew almost everyone in the parish.  My father and most of the men in the parish used their skills to build the church and the school for their children.  These buildings are still standing today (50 years later).   With her movie camera, my mother photographed the parishioners building the church.  This was her way of preserving the history of Saint Bernards.  Her film is preserved to this day in the archives of the church. 

Another important part of what made our mother special was her Spanish upbringing.  After she had made several trips back to Sevilla, Spain, her birthplace, she spoke often of the customs there and played the music of her country in our house.  This became her passion.  She instilled in all of us her love for her family through her love for her dear homeland.”

MARY –“As the result of one trip to Spain, her cousin, Paco, allowed one of his daughters, Lili, to live with them, attend school, become a Girl Scout and generally become an American girl. When the time came for Lili to return to the Spain, she had a difficult time becoming, once again, the submissive Spanish daughter.  In later years, Lili majored in English literature and is presently a professor in the English Department with the University of Sevilla, Spain.

JOANNE –“In the 1960’s, Momma and Daddy sold the house in Riverdale and moved to a brand new house in College Park Estates”.

LOUISE – “A developer wanted the land to build apartments.  By that time, Riverdale Road had become very noisy and busy.” 

MARY – “We came back sadly one day when the fire department, in a training exercise, burned down the empty house.  It was old, we had moved on with our lives.  Momma would not go.”

LOUISE – “…we felt that we had to be there to give homage to a house that had been a home to so many of us.” 

JOANNE – “They were aging and things changed somewhat.  I was older, attending Catholic high school.  I didn’t interact with Momma or Daddy much, because I was mostly making my own path in the world.  Momma also had changed her interests somewhat and accepted an offer to work at one of the local libraries.  She learned from Aunt Lola how to make beaded flowers and made flower arrangements and sold them for many years.” 

ROXSENA (formerly Roseanne) “Our mother’s life was an expression of family values, as well as love and respect for tradition.  She was the ultimate Grandma.  However, she also had the drive and determination to strike out on her own.  When it was evident that there would not be enough money for their retirement, mother found a job in the DC school system.  She moved on to become a popular employee at the Public Library in Hyattsville.”

MARY –“Momma continued to show maternal concern for her sisters and brothers throughout her life. She hosted and attended wedding and baby showers, birthday parties, and grieved with them when tragedy marked their lives.  In her last years, she prayed with their families at their funerals and when her mind became confused and memory was erratic, her sisters and brothers faces were always recognized.  She was so glad to see them.”  

JOANNE – “ Daddy’s health was not that good.  He retired and created a few hobbies of his own.  They eventually sold that house and moved to old Greenbelt until his death.  She later moved into an apartment at Green Ridge House in Greenbelt, where she was highly respected by the other senior citizens in her building. When you walked into her apartment, you could see all the love she had for her dearest things.  She loved her pictures of the family, her Spanish statues, her Spanish paintings and her African violets.  I will never forget, whenever we visited Momma, the loving look she gave you when you came in the door.  She never let on how her poor back felt. She enjoyed immensely her collection of Spanish folk song tapes and opera music, even old lullabies and Spanish poetry.  

She sent birthday cards to each child, grandchild, and great grandchild like clockwork. Momma’s later years were lonely, but she did not let that stop her from keeping busy.  She suffered in silence with the loss of Daddy and my brother Dickey, which affected her deeply when he died suddenly at 39 years of age.

MARY – “Dickey’s drive and intelligence made him a competent and highly regarded electrician. He was always looking for other challenges.  Momma and Daddy were frequently dismayed at his escapades.  He gave Momma three fine grandsons of whom she was very proud.

ARTIE – Dick was a very smart electrician and was quite good at articulating the details of electrical power systems to our customers. I wish I had spent more time with him.

ROXSENA – “Dick cared for all of his children.  He took care of his young son, Matthew, when his first marriage failed.”  

CINDY MCKNEW BEAKES  (Dickie’s first wife, mother of Matthew)  -  “We married in July of 1971 after a whirlwind courtship. In that time period I had the wonderful privilege of getting to know Dickie’s family. I came from a very small family so it was quite a shock to me to be surrounded with so many people. It was difficult to put names with faces, but the one thing that was not difficult was to receive all the love that was given to me, especially by Connie and Arthur.

During the time we lived in College Park, I was indoctrinated into the rich Spanish culture that Connie was raised in. She showed me home movies of her trips to Spain. She fixed the most wonderful food I think I have ever eaten. She gave me the most beautiful lace scarf that I wore at our wedding. I met many of the Granados clan at the reunions and again had trouble remembering all the names and faces, but I always felt warmly loved and accepted into the family. The next chapter was the birth of our son, Matthew. They were so proud and were doting grandparents.

Sadly, our marriage was short lived and we divorced about 1975, a very sad time. Connie and  Arthur although very disappointed were supportive and loving throughout this difficult time. They had moved to Greenbelt and I had my own apartment there, just about a block away from each other. I would often visit them and continued to do so after Connie moved to Green Ridge House.

In 1987 when Dickie died, it was such a shock even though we were divorced. We had forged a friendship and respect for each other. I cannot even begin to imagine what it did to Connie to lose her youngest son, and felt sad for her and the rest of the family. Blessedly, she had her deep faith and the love and support of all her children to help her through it. Her faith was such an inspiration to me.

Years later when she left to move closer to Mary, I remember something that she did for me. It so touched me and epitomized her loving spirit and loyalty to family. During the time Dickie and I lived with them, she spend her evenings making beautiful beaded flower arrangements. I marveled at her patience and skill. Connie asked that an arrangement of beaded daisies and cattails in a beautiful green glass vase be given to me. When Joanne brought them, I sat down with those flowers and cried. It touched me so deeply that she would do this and did not surprise me at all. That was all she did, give of herself to others and love to her family. Those flowers sit on a dresser in my bedroom to this day, reminding me of her so I am thankful for the precious days with her. She taught me the wonderful gift of faith that those who pass on share in the lives of loved ones.”

MATTHEW (oldest son of Dickey) - "Where shall I start? My greatest memories of “Grandma Connie” were all so wonderful.  I remember going to visit her and

Granddaddy in Greenbelt, playing with her dog “Toby”. She was always cooking something and you could bet that if there was something cooking in her kitchen it was going to be good. She was always there for us (Scott, Chris, and myself), when Scott was born she came and stayed at our home in Cheverly to help out while his mother recovered in the hospital.  

I really began to get to know her when she was living at Green Ridge House in Greenbelt. When I would visit, she would take me out to the garden there and put me to work. There was always a reward after work, some Gazpacho soup, Tomatoes and Peppers, or if I was lucky some Paella.

She was fair to all of us and always stressed that we do well in school.  “Make sure you keep those marks up” she would say, ‘Without an education you won’t be able to get a good job.’ If I had only listened to her!” 

JOANNE - “I can say now that I didn’t get to know my mother until I got married and came back home to visit.  We seemed to get along well and, for the first time, I didn’t feel like I was in the way or making her mad.  This was because I never really got to know her.  We never talked together much up till then.  I know how she felt and could almost predict what she was going to say.  All through her life, she had a good sense of humor when things irritated her or went wrong.” 

LOUISE –“Momma loved all of us with a kind of ‘bound-up love.’  It wasn’t expressed in words or hugs, but we knew she loved us.  She was an independent woman who loved to sew, read, and made the best of her failing health when her eyes and arms weakened and she could no longer do the things she enjoyed. When life dealt her lemons, Momma made lemonade.”

ROXSENA– “From her beginnings in poverty, she was able to leave her children a generous spiritual, as well as financial, legacy.”

ARTIE – “Our mother was a special lady. She was from the old school who taught her children how to be successful the old fashioned way. We were showed that a job well done can be very rewarding both economically and psychologically. This was not always my opinion. I can remember as a captive audience, her saying that my standards of excellence were far below what she expected. I told her, “If you were my boss in the working world, I would quit!” Momma was the heart and soul and chief motivator of the McKnew family. It was only through the example of loving parents that we acquired the tools that we needed to raise our own families.      

JOANNE – “In closing, I truly believed that she loved her life every second of the day and was truly devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary up till her death. We will all miss this woman, whom we call Momma.”



back to First Generation Page


Website created by lowershore.netEmail questions and comments

All photos and text copyrighted by The Granados family, 2003 - 2004.  All rights reserved.