Family Portrait

This is my family tree for my now series of novels. I’m trying to work on Rachel’s story for this year’s Nano. I’m actually working through some ideas that I have for the story, hopefully I’ll have a direction and some serious writing done on her story.

Meanwhile, here’s the family tree that was born after I started writing Under the Milky Way. It’s all Isabel’s fault that this world emerged. If she had never said she was named after he aunt, Isabel, I probably never would have connected the dots that Aunt Isabel was Lena’s mother.

It all started with a woman named Beatriz who is the matriarch of this family of women, whose stories are living in my head right now more than ever.  While I know who most of these characters are, some of them are totally just made up to fill in background details and will probably never see the light of day, so to speak. Yet, who knows will talk to me and start telling me a story.

Beatríz—born 1895, died 1988.

Beatríz, the matriarch of this family, who in 1912, left Spain at 17 to come with her older sister, María del Pilar—called Pilar—to marry a much older widower in New Mexico. Alvaro something or other. This widower was from a noble Spanish family that had been in New Mexico for at least two or three generations, but still had ties to Spain.

They came from Valencia, Spain and Beatriz left behind a fraternal twin brother named Jacobo. There were several younger children, and the father sent the two oldest daughters to America. His eldest son, Jacobo, also left Spain at 17, looking for adventure. Eventually he became a Jesuit priest. He studied in Rome and traveled with his order. At some point, he and Beatriz saw each other again. He probably came to America once or twice and he saw her and met his two nieces and his grand nieces and maybe their children. Then in 1976, they both returned to Spain, having not been in their homeland in over 60 years.

The oldest sister never returned to Spain. She was very unhappy in her marriage and wanted more for her younger sister than to marry an old man, just like she did. Though her husband had plans for Beatriz to marry one of his compadres, Pilar helped a young man court her sister and eventually Beatriz and a young New Mexican named Gabriel Delgado were engaged, much to the dismay of Pilar’s husband.

Meanwhile, Pilar had several miscarriages, two stillborn babies and one daughter who lived, whose name was Adelina. She was born in 1915. When she’s 5 her mother dies.

In 1916, Beatriz married Gabriel (Delgado) in the St. Francis Cathedral. In 1921, their only child Estela Isabel was born.


In 1922, Adelina, Pilar’s young daughter, will be taken in and raised by her Tia Beatríz and Tio Gabriel when her father dies. They’ll raise her as their daughter and she and Estela will be as close as sisters. Adelina, for whatever reason will never marry and never have children. The home where she lived as a young girl will be left to Ana, Estela’s youngest daughter, because she was the one who took care of her in her older years. This will be the building that becomes Ana’s art gallery.

Estela, born 1921, died 1996. She will grow up, become a school teacher and marry Andres Olivas, who will become one of a few native Spanish doctors at the time. They will build a house on a piece of land given to them by Andres’ father, who at one time owned a lot of property between Canyon Road and Acequia Madre along Delgado Lane and Garcia. This house will go to Isabel and her husband, Miguel, after they die.

Estela and Andres will have four daughters: Isabel, Rita, Ava and Ana. They will all be very different and end up leading very different lives, two staying close to home, while two leave home altogether and never

come back.

Isabel Gabriela Olivas Vigil. Born 1939. Marries Miguel Vigil in 1962.

Together they have four children. Two boys and two girls. Isabel is the oldest. She’s the most serious. She’s the caretaker. While she is liberal and open minded, she’s easily offended. She is a devout Catholic, she’s protective of her children, her siblings and her family always comes first. She is articulate, well-liked, and very smart. She’s a nurse.

Margarita Marie Olivas. Born in 1942.

Rita is scandalous, non-apologetic, smart and sexy. She’s fun and everyone loves her. She’s independent, free-thinking, gregarious and the favorite aunt.

In 1964, she graduated from UNM with a Business degree, but married right out of college to her college boyfriend, Anthony Bello. They move to Washington where he gets a job on the Hill. They were married probably four or five years and then divorced, to the dismay of her Catholic parents. She went to see a priest for counseling and he told her that she was sinning greatly, because her divorce was not recognized, and in the eyes of the church she was still considered married and would not be granted an annulment because her husband was also a Catholic. She could not partake in communion. So, with that she quits the church and church shops around.

She stays in DC where at a Protestant church with a lot of former Catholics, she meets another man. He’s rigid and quite fundamental in his religion, but at the time she thinks she needs it. They get married in their church in 1969 to the dismay of her Catholic parents who are heartbroken she’s left the church. Rita divorces him a little over a year later. She also quits the church and stays away from religion until she discovers Judaism. She ends up taking a job in Baltimore at a hospital and meets the man who will become her 3rd husband. He’s smart, he’s patient and he loves her for just who she is. He’s a busy doctor, the son of immigrants from Poland, who came to the US, shortly before and just after the war. On his mother’s side he’s Jewish, his father was raised by a Catholic mother and a Jewish father, who escaped from Poland before the Nazi invasion. His mother’s family, what was left of it, came to the US just after the war ended. He didn’t grow up in a religious home. He knew a little bit of both religions but didn’t claim to be of either.

Rita, meanwhile was in the process of converting to Judaism when she married Aaron Sokolofsky (or Sobol or Sokolof) in 1978. He’s 5 years her junior. He’s a successful surgeon. She’s a business manager at a medical clinic. They live in Baltimore and have two children. He’s really not religious one way or the other and even so they raised their children Jewish.

Ava Rosalie Olivas (Fairchild or Barton) born 1944.

Ava is the family beauty. She’s reserved, she’s bright but not well-educated. She hated school. She likes pretty things, she’s easily scandalized, overly sensitive. She’s an interior designer/decorator. She’s the most sheltered and protected.

She’s been married to Al, (Alfred.) He’s a CPA, originally from Texas. He comes from a staunchly conservative, Protestant family. They were a very working class family. Ava dropped out of college to marry him, they moved to the Dallas area where he was from, she became a housewife and worked to take care of his small family. They have two daughters. When they married, they married in the family parish, with Father Patrick presiding over the marriage. They baptized both their daughters and raised them Catholic. The older is still a Catholic, while the young is not. The two daughters are like night and day. The older is a successful (something) and the younger bounces around from job to job constantly. At 17, she had twin daughters, who Ava and Al have been raising.

Ana Lucia Olivas Sena. Born May, 21 1947.

She was the youngest daughter of Estela and Andres. While successful in her own right, she’s not very satisfied. She’s prone to sadness. She’s incredibly well-read, she tends to put everyone else first, she never does anything for herself. She’s smart, opinionated, and wants the best for her children. She’s the most secretive and guarded.

At 20, she became pregnant while a student at UC Berkeley. Their biological father was Ana’s college boyfriend, a young Czech named Michal Procházka (Born May 5, 1945) who had been living in California with his family since he was 15. He was a student Ana met in class and then graduated and became a journalist. Her parents, weren’t pleased about what happened but they vowed to support her. She came home midway through Junior year and the twins’ father came with her. They planned to get married after the twins were born. Her parents were supportive and allowed them to live at home until they got on their feet. The twins’ father found a job at the local newspaper and was incredibly thrilled to become a father. However, shortly after the twins were born, he was called home to tend to his sick mother who was back in Czechoslovakia, meanwhile, he got caught in the Russian invasion of the country and was unable to return to the states.

Distraught, Ana nearly fell apart. She wrote letters, made phone calls and kept up with the news hoping he would come home or get word to her. It never did and he didn’t come back until four years later. By then, she had let go and moved on.

Meanwhile, David Sena, (Born April 11, 1947), her high school sweetheart, came around and found his way back into her life. He still loved her and asked her to marry him after he graduated from college. They married in 1969 making the twins legitimate. He claimed to be their father—and no one really questioned it—though Ana’s family knew otherwise, they never revealed the truth. The twins were baptized that day as well. Ana had two more children with David.

The great grandchildren of Beatríz.

Isabel’s Children:

  • Miguel Andres (Mike) (October, 1964)

He is divorced and then marries again. His second wife is also a doctor. In 2008, they have twins, a boy and a girl.

  • Maya Rose Brennan (April, 17 1966)

  • Magdalena Estela Beatríz (January 1, 1968)
    • Milagra Isabel (July 22, 1998)
    • Juan Javier (June, 18 2008)

  • Gabriel (July, 7 1972)

Rita’s Children:

  • Joshua  (1979)
  • Rachael Suzanne (1982)

Ava’s Children:

· Robin (1965)

who has twin daughters which Ava and her husband raise.

· Faith Charity (1984)

· Hope Grace (1984)

  • Lori Ann (1967)

Husband is Jaime and they have two children. A boy and a girl.

Ana Lucia’s Children

  • Isabel Sofia Caterina (May 30, 1968)

  • Andrew Michael Francis (May 30, 1968)

  • Angela Jean Maree (June 12, 1976)

  • David Christopher Dominic Jr. (Feb 14, 1988)

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