My maternal grandfather Peter (Petar) Babarovich was born April 12, 1861 in the village of Splitska on the island of Brac in the Adriatic Sea. He died in Anacortes, Washington March 5, 1935 see: https://paulluverajournalonline.com/weblog/2012/03/peter-babarovich-1861-1935.htm He died on March 5th 1935 and I was born 12 days later. It must have have been a very difficult time for my mother, to lose her father and then give birth to me.
He and my grandmother had seven children all of whom, except my mother, Mary, were born in on a small island Brac off the coast near Split, Croatia. I've written about their journey from the old country to America before as a result of locating a brother who had previously left for America and then lost contact with the family back home. (https://paulluverajournalonline.com/weblog/2008/07/mary-thelma-babarovich-my-mother.html) The picture is of my maternal grandparents.
In 1902 they sent for my grandmother Marija, who, along with her five children, traveled with Peter's brother, Spiro, in May of 1902 to America. They were picked them up at the Burlington RY station with a wagon. From there to Anacortes and then by boat to Sinclair Island where they had a homestead.
After tiring of farming my grandfather took the entire family on a scow rigged with a homemade sail to Anacortes. They settled at 1108 6thStreet in Anacortes where Marija ran a boarding house for Slavonian fisherman and Peter was a commercial fisherman. Their youngest child Mary, my mother, was born in Anacortes in 1905
Peter and Marija considered themselves Austrians. Peter had served ten years in the Austro-Hungarian navy before he married. He kept a framed portrait of Francis Joseph I and his queen in the parlor of the Babarovich home. He was proud of his service in the navy. The kitchen in the old house on 6th street was huge. The house was rectangular in shape and two stories high. The front of the house was kept very clean and neat where you entertained visitors, but everything else happened down the long narrow hall in the huge kitchen. I have clear memories of that house, the large vegetable garden next to the house and the back area. This was a wonderful and inviting kitchen where there were always unusual smells and food cooking.
Peter supported the family from the garden and ocean. He caught crab which were sold and fished for both income as well as food for the family. They had chickens and a garden to feed the family. He rowed a boat to place his crab pots and to get around. Peter rowed standing up with a forward roll of his wrists. He had powerful arms and shoulders.
They hunted duck and lived off the land in many respects. The photograph shows my grandfather rowing his skiff in the waters around Anacortes.
I'm sorry I didn't know this man of great character whose word was his bond. I'm sorry I never learned to speak the language so I could have talked to my grandmother directly instead of through translations from my mother. My father, an immigrant from Italy, believed, "this is America and everyone should speak English. We are Americans" so I never learned more then a few conversational words to my regret. This is my salute to my grandfather Peter Babarovich. May he rest in peace.