My maternal grandmother Marija Mattia Vulic Babarovich died on August 5th, 1953. She died the year I graduated from high school in Anacortes, Washington.Her life story is one of great courage and sacrifice involving immigration to America while not being able to speak English. I've previously talked about that in writing about my mother. I've also  written  about her brave travel  from a small island in Croatia to Anacortes, Washington.

I remember her vividly. A tall erect woman with hair piled high on her head, she looked regal and carried herself in a way that projected dignity and bearing. She spoke little English and we children spoke NONNAno Croation so communication was largely through my mother and sign language. In spite of the communication barrier there was a great deal of non verbal communication. When I would say good by after a visit she always said in broken English "Be a good boy," advice I should have taken more to heart in my youth. She was a religious woman who frequented the nearby Catholic church and often had rosary beads in hand or around.

Her story starts with, one of three Babarovich brothers living in Austria-Hungry on an Island. She was married to one of the brothers, Peter. All three brothers lived in the village of Splitska on the island of Brac'. The family operated a vineyard and made wine and olive oil which they sold to support themselves. One of the brothers made it to America and Anacortes. He provided money for the others to follow him.

They spent the night in Anacortes and the next morning their trunks and all the people were loaded on the boat which delivered mail to the Islands.

In 1904 she and her husband Peter, my grandparents, decided to move to Anacortes. Having no boat large enough for their belongings and the family, Nonno borrowed a scow from Ernest Kasch and Nonna made a sail out of an old sheet. He mounted it on a mast, built a rudder for the scow and loaded it with their belongings and the whole family. He was an excellent seaman and waited for the right tide and wind before shoving off for the trip.They traveled around Cypress Island and Guemes Island right to their destination in Anacortes. That trip amazes me having boated around this area so often and knowing the challenges.

In Anacortes, they located rental house and Nonno found work around the docks as well as fishing. My mother Mary was born in Anacortes, the youngest of eight children. She attended grade school for a time before having to quit and help take care of the family. The family always had a large garden and raised chickens, rabbits etc. Nonno provided fish and shell fish as well including crab, mussels, salmon, cod, and other food from the sea. The boys hunted duck as well as other food for them to eat. Everyone worked to support the family. 

Nonno,  her husband Peter, who was born in 1861, died at age 74 of a heart attack. He died a few months after my birth in 1935 so I never knew him. However, his photograph was displayed at their home and I used to admire it. Nonna was a living example of honesty, dignity and concern for others. So this is written in the memory of my grandmother.

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