Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Holidays, a Tragedy, and a Blessing

My grandmother, Zaida Barahona Retana; great grandmother, Angela Retana Rojas;
and great uncle, Walter Barahona Retana

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had great Christmas and New Year celebrations! It has been an interesting holiday break for me. To begin with, Christmas was fantastic! My dad came to visit from Georgia and spent about 2 weeks with us. My kids enjoyed themselves as we had a candlelight service at our church on Christmas Eve.  The day after Christmas, I received some great family pictures that I shared in my last blog post. So all in all, it was a joyous holiday for my family.

Every year, my mother takes a trip to Costa Rica in December to visit her family and spend her birthday, Christmas, and New Year's in paradise. This year was no different. On New Years Eve, I received a call from her on Facebook Messenger. In my mind, I imagined she was calling to wish me a happy new year, but I was wrong. Through tears, she proceeded to tell me that her cousin had died in a plane crash. 

Juan Manuel Retana Chinchilla
You may have heard it on the news, as the crash became a headline across various news sources. Mom's cousin, Juan Manuel Retana Chinchilla, was a pilot. The plane he was flying that day was a small single engine Cessna. He was transporting ten American tourists when the plane went down and engulfed in flames shortly after take off. Sadly, there were no survivors. Needless to say, my family was devastated. 

President Laura Chinchilla Miranda
Mom had grown up with Juan and his siblings. They played together as children, lived nearby, and remained in close contact even after some had left the country. My mother proceeded to tell me that Juan was a first cousin of the first female president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla Miranda. For a second, I thought I was related to the ex president, but she told me it was only by a marriage. However, Mom met Laura Chinchilla Miranda a few weeks before and had dinner at her cousin Lucy's house.

Since Mom had gone back to the land where she was born, I commissioned her to gather pictures and information on our family. Naturally, after the accident, I didn't want to sound selfish and bring it up by asking if she had found any pictures. I didn't have to ask. 

Yesterday, my Facebook Messenger was flooded with old pictures. Some of my mother as a baby, other's of her father, and there were some even older. There were quite a few that were taken at first communions, including my mother's. I called my mother on Facebook Messenger to ask her about the pictures she had sent and I was able to video chat with my 87 year old grandmother that I haven't seen in about 25 years. Thank you internet!

Lastly, over the holiday break, I started a new hobby. As some of you may have seen from the Kindred Roots Facebook page, I have started colorizing antique photos. Perhaps I will share how I go about adding color to these photos in a future blog post. Let me know in the comments if you would like to see this.

I want to end this post by wishing everyone a happy new year! I truly hope you and your families will be blessed this year! Here are some of the pictures my mother shared with me and a few that I have colored. Enjoy!

My 2nd great grandmother, Eduviges Rojas Castro
My mom, Marielos Salas Barahona
My uncle, Alberto Salas Barahona 

3rd great aunts
Ester and Lola Retana Albarez

My grandfather Luis Alberto Salas

Grandfather Luis Alberto Salas

My mother, Marielos Salas Barahona

First Communion of Mom and Uncle
pictured are: Marielos Salas Barahona, Alberto Salas Barahona
Zaida Barahona Retana, Angela Retana Rojas

3rd great uncle, Rafael Retana Albarez

Great grandmother, Angela Retana Rojas

2nd great aunt, Dora Retana Rojas

2nd great aunt, Carolina Retana Rojas

Luis Alberto Salas

great aunt, Eida Barahona Retana; great grandmother, Angela Retana Rojas; grandmother, Zaida Barahona Retana

Aunt Dorothy Pauline Sapp Canova

Grandmother, Zaida Barahona Retana

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