Tuesday, November 29, 2011

DeTevis Pew

I have been going through hundreds of my mom’s old photos, scanning as many as I can. Needless to say, many of the photos have brought back many great memories. I’ll share some of those memories on this blog. Today, I want to tell a story about an uncomfortable, but great old wood bench that sat on the front porch of my childhood home for as long as I can remember.

I’ve been writing about my Great-Grandfather Antonio DeTevis, and when I saw this photo of the bench (with my father, Gilbert Gallegos, Sr., fixing what appears to be a catcher’s mask), I immediately called my dad. He confirmed the story that I remembered, which is that the bench used to belong to his Grandpa Tony, and that it was apparently the DeTevis family pew. My dad said he believes the pew was used at the church in the village of San Ignacio, just north of Las Vegas.

The pew eventually made its way to the front porch of Grandpa Tony’s home in Las Vegas. This is a photo of us sitting on the bench. Grandpa Tony is seated on the left; his daughter (my Grandma Rise) is to his right; followed by my father, Gil Sr., my mother, Beatrice; Domingo Romero, a foster son raised by my great-grandparents; and me, probably around 1980, based on the fact that I was wearing my little league hat from the team for which I played when I was 11 years old. (It just occurred to me that my oldest daughter, Carin, is now 11 years old, and she is very close with her Great-Grandmother Rise.)

My family went with me to San Ignacio this past summer. I told my daughters that I wanted to spend Father’s Day with them, while exploring some of my family history. I know they dreaded it because I also wanted to stop at the cemeteries in Las Vegas. But they went, anyway, and we all had a great time. (We hit both cemeteries in Vegas and the old cemetery in San Ignacio.)

At the time, I had forgotten about the DeTevis pew. I primarily wanted to visit San Ignacio because that is where my dad’s paternal grandfather, Luis Gallegos, was born and raised. So, I wanted to see where my Gallegos roots were firmly planted. My dad’s maternal grandfather, Antonio DeTevis, also had property in San Ignacio, and my dad recalls going up there during summers to help with chores like building a wall on the property. He claims he did all the work, while his grandpa drank beer. My dad also remembers a beautiful stream running through the property, and that a German man bought all of the surrounding property before his grandpa finally sold his, as well.

My Grandma Rise said her father built a small, but very comfortable house on that property. She also remembers going up there during summers. One of her fond memories of San Ignacio was helping to paint the walls of the church.

This is a photo of my daughter, Isabella, and me in front of the church.

I asked my dad whatever happened to the bench. He doesn’t remember. I last remember it being painted brown, I think to match the trim on our old house at that time. But it seems like we eventually replaced it with more modern (meaning comfortable) outdoor furniture. I wish we would have been able to salvage that bench. At least we have the memories.

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