When we first
came here (to America) we rented. Had two flats, then he got an
idea that there were some Spanish people having a hard time
finding work. So somebody coaxed him to buy a house at 15th & K
St., between K & L. He bought a four-story house and used one
floor of it as his school, we lived on the first floor and part of
the second, and the rest he rented. Spanish people took care of
the rooms and so forth and helped Mama.
was a little fellow who got very ill and there was a question
whether he would live. The doctor advised them to get out of the
city. So he rented the house, and moved to
Mt. Ranier for the summer. Ramon got well, and everything
was fine, so he got rid of the house and all the furniture. The
DC house was next to the corner on the west side of 15th Street
about 50 feet from K Street. The property was so big that they
rented the stable as well as the other parts. The rental income
covered half of their rental expenses.
We lived in Mt. Ranier for about 5 years,
from 1912 to 1917, then decided to move to
there rented for $25.00 a month, which was applied to your equity.
When you got $200 equity it could be applied toward the purchase
of the house. In about 1920, he had the house put in his name.
I can recall working in the garden there when the whistles began
to blow that we had declared war with Germany. By that time we
were established, we had chickens a garden and everything. It
was February when we went in.
My grandfather came from an illustrious
family. He was about the second or third child, so was too far
away from the title. There were two titles in the Granados family
— the count and the duke. I have pictures of my father with the
Duke and (the home?) that he converted to Corte Ingles, the famous
department store in Seville. His father became what was was
equivalent to the civil governor of the province of Huelva. He
laid all the groundwork for the city of (?) Huleva at one time was
part of Portugal. His wife and all the Muñoz and the Barrera’s
were all from (?) but Huelva is the capital of that area.
My mother’s people were builders and
architects. Antonio Rey Pozo was a very well-known architect. So
was his son. He (Antonio) went to examine a building under
construction and it was hot and sticky and he contracted
pneumonia. The pneumonia turned to tuberculosis and in about a
year he was dead. His son died the same way.
My oldest aunt (Emigda) married a young
lawyer who eventually became Justice of the Supreme Court, Manolo
Repetto Rey. He then decided he didn’t like the idea of sitting on
the bench hour after hour, so he went to school and studied
dentistry and became a dentist. Then he decided he wasn’t making
enough money as a dentist, so he got re-appointed Justice of the
Supreme Court. In the meantime, his son Manolo Repetto Rey was
also appointed Justice of the Supreme Court.
One of his brothers, Bernardo, became a
doctor. Another brother, Francisco, played a very important role
in the invasion of Sevilla when the Reds occupied it. He had been
fooling around with the radio and wireless, and was able to notify
the Spanish generals exactly what the Reds were doing inside the
During the capture of Sevilla, a very famous
general prayed to
Our Lady of La Macarena,
"If you will help me conquer Sevilla, I will make you a captain
general in the Spanish army." And she is. She wears the sash
of a captain general.
Another of my mother’s sisters, Flora,
married the painter Alperiz. They had no children. He was very
famous, and has had three pictures prized at the Paris Exposition.
I went to see Rogan (?) the famous fellow
that sells pictures in Sevilla, where I bought a copy of a Murillo.
I wanted a copy of El
Cuento de Bruja because I’m in it. ...and the woman
is my grandmother, my mother’s mother, Abuela Concha, but I couldn’t
afford it. Paco said to tell him (the art dealer) who you are
and see if he can help you. He said, "See that chair over
there? Your uncle sat in that chair, he’d come in in the morning
and sit there just to see if somebody would come around and buy
one of his paintings." Eventually he got a position painting
in Triana, the place where they make pottery and plaques and so
forth, and he was decorating vases. And it just broke his heart,
he just died of a broken heart.
Paco is the son of Mama’s youngest
sister, Maria. She had four boys: Franscisco, I don’t know; the
middle one is a lawyer, and the fourth one is either dead or I
didn’t meet him. Paco has an important position. The Internal
Revenue in Spain is divided into two groups: those things that
move and those that don’t. A train belongs in one group and the
track belongs in the other. For a long time, he was in everything
that was movable. Then they promoted him to everything permanent,
which includes real estate. He has that position for Andalucia,
which has five provinces. During the Spanish Civil War he was
commissioned an artillery General, and decorated by Mussolini. (an
ally of Franco at the time)
The Granados family home in Aracena is
called the Castillo, which was originally a Moorish castle, and
somewhere along the line Isabella or Ferdinand gave it to them.
Only the head of the family lived there. When I was in Spain, they
were renovating, so I didn’t get to go inside. My grandfather is
buried there. The Granados’s are all buried in graves in the
cemetery there, up above the ground in what’s called ovens. It’s a
wall where the body goes in. You can see quite a few of our family
there. In fact, my grandmother, Tio Juan, my grandfather’s brother
and the Munoz family members are all buried there. The cemetery is
at the foot of the Castillo, attached to the church.
At about the time Columbus came over to
this country, the Granados’s gave up the Castillo and made a
church of it. A bunch of Granados’s are buried under it’s floor.
My grandfather is there; his name was Granados-Gonzalez, so the
name Gonzalez is what shows.
Aracena is a very small town, just little
farms. No social life or anything then. They lived in the city —
practically all of them lived on one street. I didn’t get in to
see the old Granados home, but I’ve heard my father and mother
talk about it. The house is on the main street and everything goes
through the front door. It goes all the way back. In the morning
they let the pigs out, and a man takes the pigs over to the
acorns. They let the sheep out the same way. The front door is
bolted at night, and then you go another 20 feet through what is
called a consels (?) an iron gate that’s locked. Above the front
door is a room called a (?). If anybody comes, whoever is upstairs
looks down and if it’s okay, orders the iron gate to be opened and
they come in. When the guy bringing the pigs arrives, he comes to
the head of the street and blows his horn and each pig goes into
his home. I remember my mother saying when she went there to visit
that when that pig came through you’d better get out of the way.
When I was in Aracena, it had been judged
for the seventh consecutive time the cleanest city in Spain. It
was absolutely clean. I believe if you threw a match on the street
they’d kill you.
When Papa was three years old, he was
sent to school, since his father was the governor and a public
official. He would come home for Christmas for about 4 or 5 days
and he’d come home in the summer for vacation for about 4 or 5
days, then go back. He was never home.
Altogether, you could say he was home a
hundred days. He went from one school to the other. He and his
brothers got kicked out of one school and another. He’d tell
stories — one time he was in a military academy in Toledo, where
there was a big affair in the cathedral. He and a couple of other
boys took the holy water out of the fonts and put nitrate of
silver there. Nitrate of silver burns black, so as people came in
and crossed themselves they saw a black mark on each others
forehead. It upset the whole town.
Another time, he was in the
dormitory of a school conducted by Salesians, and the brother that
took care of them slept just outside the door. The boys got
together and smeared the outside door handle with crap. Then put a
candle to the inside till they had it red hot. Then one of the
boys went "Ohhh" and the brother came up and grabbed the handle.
They sent him home for that.
The students weren’t allowed to read
Jules Verne, but a Spanish newspaper had a section at the bottom
of the second page called a folletín, where they printed a section
of a book. Jules Verne was very well known in the folletín, so a
fellow outside would take the folletÍn, roll it, put it in a piece
of cloth, tie it to a rock and throw it over the wall. Then they
would read it. When I was young, I was very close to my father. I
was always with him.
In Spain, the Wright brothers tried to
sell an airplane to the Spanish government, which was at war in
Africa. They were going to fly it at the airfield in Sevilla. He
got a carriage and sent my Aunt ChaCha and Connie and me across
the river, and we watched that plane go up and circxle and land —
the Wright brothers plane. My aunt ChaCha took her skirt and put
it over her head — she didn’t want to see it. "If God had meant
for man to fly he would have given him wings." We were in the park
in the carriage on the side of the river which was about 300 feet
wide. The airfield was on the edge of the river on the other side.
In the states, I would go from school and
watch his school for a couple of hours and then he sent me home. I
never really had a childhood life. When the kids were playing ball
and all, I was watching his office.
When the World War I Armistice was about
over, he came to school and got me. In his way, he told the
teacher, "No, I want him, this is very important." And he took me
back and said, "Now I want you to see this because you’ll never
forget it the rest of your life. This is the greatest thing that’s
ever happened, the end of this war." The first day was a false
alarm. Two days later the real armistice was signed — people out
in the street kissing each other and waving flags. And I have
never forgotten that.
He played the horses and usually came up
a winner. You could tell. If he came home with a bunch of
packages, he had won. He’d take $20; if he lost $20 he lost. He
would come home with a headache and say, "Kill a couple of
chickens, I’ve got to have some chicken soup." So you knew he’d
He suffered from migraine headaches, and
had the finest set of teeth going, not a cavity. All of a sudden
he couldn’t move his arms. So he went to the dentist, who said,
Mr., Granados, you just have to have them pulled out." When he
returned home, we could see his street car coming down the line.
My mother said, "Look, look, look, he’s got his arm up, the first
time in three years he’s been able to raise his hand."
My grandfather’s brother was named Don
Juan. Incidentally the name Juan, is Juan Nepomuceno, a saint,
Ramon Nonatu. Nonatu means "not born." It was from him that
Shakespeare got the idea for "don’t fear any man from woman born."
in Macbeth. His mother had been dead for hours, when they noticed
a movement in the womb and opened her up and found him. He’s
called St. Ramon.
in Mt. Rainier, had trouble from the beginning. Her navel didn’t
heal and it would bleed. She lived something like sixteen days.
The first people to live in our house in
Riverdale were the Zollenhoffers, who were a pain in the neck.
They only lived there for about a year or so. It was a little too
modern. Ours was the first house with a bathroom in it. It was
built by Mr. Wilson, who’s wife inherited all the land from where
the car tracks were to the branch (Anacostia river). He built
Anne’s house and the house next door to it in 1901.
(Anne Granados - wife of Luis) My mother
bought the house before Joe was born, when Power was six months
old. they had come from Georgetown and lived in a boarding house
in Hyattsville while they looked for a house in the vicinity. My
mother drove to Riverdale in the buggy and their house was not
quite finished. My father would come out to Hyattsville on
weekends and that weekend she said, "I want to show you this
house." She took him in the buggy at night, and there weren’t any
lights, so she had to take him in with a lantern. She had already
bought the house but hadn’t told him. She’d signed up for it. So
he of course said okay, he’d buy it, and they had to wait until it
Alongside the house was a driveway from
the Calvert mansion lined with Osage Orange trees. Before my
parents were married they went dances there. At the time, the
mansion was nothing but a big farm. There was an octagon-shaped
barn that belonged to the mansion. I watched it burn down.
(Luis) When I got there, the stones were
there and they were taking the embers out. When I used to go up
and visit old man Massey, he bought this farm there, you had to
get to his place before dark, because the mansion gates at the
railroad would shut. There was no other way to get to Massy’s by
that road, it would take almost a day, so you took care.
My mother had one brother, Viriato. The
oldest girl was ChaCha, who never married. She was a governess in
a wealthy home for three generations. When the owner, Dona
Dolores’, son became deathly ill with a fever, Cha Cha got in bed
with him and held him all night.
In Spain, the originals of all birth
certificates are filed away. They have a series of notaries — very
important lawyers appointed by the government — who make the
original of everything. They then give you copies. You can go to
his file, if you know the cities, and get the notary file. For
instance, you can go to the files and pick the grandfather’s up
and that’ll show their father and grandfather. So you’re really
jumping two generations each time. There are plenty of people that
do that for a fee.
My father had two brothers, Luis and
Celestino. Luis was a lawyer, half starving, living on a little
bread they would get from the farm. Clelestino was a playboy. I
don’t believe he ever graduated from school. He didn’t marry.
The only thing I remember about Luis is
when he came to see us, he had a moustache like Kaiser Wilhelm. As
soon as he’d walk in the house, he’d take this little gold case he
had and wax and work that moustache. He was very nice, and once
gave me a stuffed pony.
Mama was taught in the regular way they
teach a girl — half a day spent in sewing and the other half
divided between music and a little grammar and a little math, but
mostly sewing and music. She graduated as a music teacher, both in
piano and in voice. I think I still have her diploma.
When I came to the U.S., I knew two words
of english. I was 8 years old. They sent me to St. John’s College
to learn english. They had a grade school then. All they did was
beat the hell out of me. I then went to Franklin School. There,
the teachers were patient, and gradually, and with the kids, it
wasn’t long before I could speak it.
NOTE: The house in Riverdale was bought
on March 2, 1920, from Walter R. and Blanche B. Wilson, and was
part of a larger parcel the Wilson’s bought from Benjamin
D.Stevens and wife on November 27, 1896. (Land records of Prince
Georges County, Liber J.W.B. No. 38, folio 68)
• It is described as: "all of lot No. 17
in East Riverdale, plat No. 2, recorded in Liber J.W.B. No. 5,
folio No. 692 of the land records of said county."
• There was a mortgage, dated March 21,
1912, of $1,600.
• The sale was recorded on April 3, 1920,
Liber No. 153, Folio 66