Always regretting that his family was too poor to continue his education past 6th grade and wanting to be a surgeon, Lito nevertheless taught himself to read, write and speak English in San Francisco.
Lito’s mother Cruz ~ an orphan, who immigrated to Costa Rica from Colombia, opened a cantina in the capital San Jose, together with a friend from her orphanage who in 1898 made the journey with her on horseback from Bogota.
A feisty little woman that resembled “Granny” on the 70’s show The Beverly Hillbillies, Cruz was known for her mercurial temperament and would not tolerate any respectless behavior in her tidy establishment.
No doubt ~ she was the chief parental influence on my grandfather’s stoic perfectionism and controlling attitudes.
Hans ~ also an orphan born in Cologne, Germany and an acclaimed artist in painting church ceilings Ala Michelangelo, sailed to Costa Rica in 1898 together with the Archbishop of Berlin.
An extremely kind, sensitive, fair-skinned and blue-eyed gentleman, Hans was demonstrably loving with Lita, my mom and aunt.
He enjoyed sitting both Granddaughters on his lap and let them sip coffee with milk, while they would pull on his walrus-like mustache.
Not knowing the exact details of how they met, I romantically imagine that Hans and Cruz met in her cantina, where he would often enjoy her hot home-cooked meals and an occasional beer after laying on his back all day painting ceilings.
Lita ~ 3rd born of Rosa & Camilla Sanabria’s 10 children (after her sisters Amalia and Ines), gave birth to my mother Maria Cecilia in 1925; followed shortly by my Aunt Yulia in 1927.