Puerto Rico: The centennial of my grandfather’s house
My grandfather didn’t come to America; America came to him.
Like many young Spaniards over the ages, he – along with his brother and two cousins – left Spain. They left their sisters in Northern Spain, arrived in Puerto Rico in the late 19th century, started businesses, married, started families, and thrived.
When the Spanish American War ended Spain’s rule over Puerto Rico, my grandfather was a justice of the peace and owned a farm.
By the early 1900s, he was an executive with the tobacco company at a time when Puerto Rico was producing around 35 million tons of tobacco a year. He was provided housing and housekeeping staff as part of his compensation, but, as his children grew in size and number, decided to build a house.
It was 1917.
The two-story house he built in a prime location facing Comerío’s town square was huge. Have you returned to a place as an adult that you remember thinking was big when you were a child, and realizing it was small? The house had the opposite effect: When I visited – after years of absence – it was even larger than I remembered.