Our brother Gilbert was born Jan 1952. I knew him only as an infant.
Gilbert was baptized at the San Gabriel Mission. My father's family grew up and attended this mission, those that live nearby still do. Who attended this celebration, just about everybody in San Gabriel. What I do remember is that I went to the Mission with Margie, Sandy, Gilbert, and my dad, Tom. Gilbert's godfather, who I have met from time to time was there too. I think all my dad's family was there. The priest went about his business, saying a prayer or two, and sprinkled holy water on Gilbert's forehead. Everyone hugged and shook hands. Gilbert was now baptized.
What I remember the most was the party held for Gilbert at my dad's father's home. I remember going over there after the baptism.
My grandfather's (Pablo) place was located in San Gabriel near the Mission on Pearl Street. It seemed large at the time, my perspective that of a 10-year-old boy. His lot measured 75 by 200 feet and consisted of 40 feet across for the building and 35 across for the garden space. There were two gardens on the 35 x 200 feet on the East side of the lot. Each garden measured 30 feet by 75 feet. These were vegetable gardens, and my grandfather would be found there at most times. This practice was carried on by my father also whenever he was able to garden. About 20 feet of space in front of his house was devoted to a walk, flowers, and a concrete pond with a bridge over it. My sister Sandy had her picture taken on the bridge when she was around three, dressed in a Mexican dress. The house occupied the next area. Behind the house was a flower garden, cactus garden, winding paths, and big urns planted with flowers. On the West side was a dirt drive and garage. On the other side were the vegetable gardens. Behind all this, there was a side veranda (covered pergola with grape vines). The veranda was not part of the house. It was measured approximately 25 feet by 45 feet. It was decorated with lattice work and Spanish arches, through which you could enter the veranda from any part except the vegetable garden side. It was painted white with ivy covering most of it. Hanging baskets of flowers were placed everywhere along the sides and some in the center. The concrete floor and Spanish tile made it ideal for entertaining.
When we arrived at Pablo's home after Gilbert's baptism, the men were standing around a beer truck which was parked in the driveway. They were busy carrying cases of beer to the far southern corner of the veranda. I found all my cousins and sister on the veranda. Sandy, my cousins Margaret Ann, Ron, Gene, and some others were there. They were all chopping at blocks of ice with ice picks. We were all proficient at this task. There were tables set up along the short back side of the veranda on the South side. Someone had placed butcher paper on these tables. These tables would later be used by us, the beer servers. The chopped ice was to be placed in four or more wash tubs, and the beer boxes were stacked in the two far corners. Our job after the ice was chopped was to fill each wash tub with beer, then cover the beer with ice to get it very cold. I knew there was soda pop there for those who wished to have some. The smell of beer was in the air.
As we were doing our jobs and having a good time, the band was setting up in the upper right North corner of the veranda. I forgot to mention the band. It was a Marimba band, with congas, violin, guitar, marimba and maybe some other instruments.
The party slowly evolved. As we were setting up, people would come up to our table and ask for a bottle of their favorite beer. Our job was to get the coldest beer and open it at the table. We would then hand them the opened beer. We would also dispose of empty beer bottles, by putting them back in the cases.
Other things were going on at the party. We were totally lost in our pursuit of passing out beers. The band was playing, people were dancing, and the young hoods were talking in the corner. Everyone was having a good time. There were a lot of Spanish yells throughout the day, a few extra singers, people leaning on friends, and then the party moved on into the night.
Tamales, Indian corn (our staple), rice, and beans were in the kitchen. If I knew my grandmother, she was there in the kitchen.
Pablo Diaz at the Mission San Gabriel
Mission San Gabriel
Gilbert's sister Sandy at the Pablo Diaz home in San Gabriel
Gilbert's sister Sandy (Cowgirl) and Margaret Ann Gomez (Gilbert's cousin)
Thomas Jesus Diaz and Family
Left to Right: Sandy, Tommy, Gilbert, Margie and Dennis
Pablo Diaz Home