Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Antonio Rodriguez Torres

"People who matter in our lives stay with us, haunting our most ordinary moments. They're with us in the grocery store, as we turn the corner, chat with a friend. They rise up through the pavement; we absorb them through our soles."
-Orphan Train
This is my paternal grandfather. 
 His name is Antonio Rodriguez Torres
Born March 1, 1914 in Gurabo, Puerto Rico
This is one of my most prized photographs.This is the only photo I have ever seen of him. Unfortunately he died before I ever got the chance to meet him. I'm so grateful to at least have this. I love this photo because my grandfather reminds me so much of my Dad. Everything from his smile, to his hands & even the way he is dressed.

Antonio was the first child born to his mother Maria Ana de Jesus Torres Torres. I haven't been able to locate Maria's birth record yet but according to her death record she was born in about 1886 in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico. She married my great grandfather named Primitivo Rodriguez in 1912. After Antonio they have one more son together named Juan Ramon Rodriguez Torres born in 1916. I'm not positive but it was either at his birth or shortly after Maria gave birth to Juan Ramon that she passes away from anemia. Antonio would of only been about 2 years old when his mother passed.

According to census records my great grandfather does not marry again. This would mean that Antonio & Juan Ramon grew up without a mother. I've often wondered who helped raise them. I feel like there had to be a motherly figure involved that helped watch them while Primitivo went to work. 

Although census records show that Antonio did not attend school, unlike many around him at that time he was able to read & write. I was actually able to locate a social security application for him which shows his signature. It's cursive, neat & beautifully written.  

By June 1937 Antonio is 23 years old when he marries my grandmother Andrea Pabellon, you can read more about her here. I wish I knew how they met. I imagine since they both grew up in the same town that maybe they lived in close distance to each other or maybe they even grew up together.

In the 1940 census he is working in a sugar cane field. My father says this is where Antonio remains working throughout the rest of his life, cutting cane.

Antonio & Andrea stay married for the rest of their lives. However sometime before Antonio's death in January 1978 he becomes heavily involved in alcohol. My dad says sadly Antonio also separates from his wife (although they are never legally divorced) & lives with another woman. 

I asked my Dad to tell me what Antonio was like & he says that he was strict & hard on them when he was little. They had several confrontations where my Dad intervened because Antonio would hit my grandmother. This created a wedge between my Dad & him.

This is all I know of Antonio. I know there is so much more to him then what I've typed. I hope to one day learn more about him.

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