Sunday, July 5, 2009

Evaristo del Cueto

As I stated in the last post, the main reason for going to Asturias was to visit the two villages where my maternal grandparents grew up.

First up Infiesto

My Abuelo, Evaristo del Cueto, was born and raised in the village of Infiesto. Infiesto, which is a very small village, is considered the main city of Asturias' Concejo of Piloña and the Rio Piloña runs through it.

Very rural.

Growing up in San Marino, California, we had a big family but not in the usual sense. Besides my father, mother, sisters Marilyn and Linda, we also lived with my aunt Katica and my maternal grandparents.

While my father Jorge was easily the main influence for any redeeming social qualities I may have ever displayed, it was my Abuelo Evaristo who instilled in me my love of sports and sense of humor. "Fun Loving" should really be added to his gravestone.

His two passions were baseball and driving every female in our family crazy by smoking big Cuban cigars. He was at his best when the eight of us would load up the family station wagon for a trip and would proceed to light up a stogie forcing all of the ladies to complain and roll down the windows. The ultimate smoking experience would occur when the weather was colder or when his prayers for rain on one of these excursions were answered and the windows would only be opened partially. On long trips to Mexico he would come armed for battle with several Churchills in his arsenal.

I loved those trips. Our family came alive inside that smokey, 1959 Ford station wagon!

He also took me to my first Dodger game. It was a Sunday in April of 1958. The Dodgers were playing the hated San Francisco Giants at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It was the first year of West Coast baseball and opening the season with a three game set in San Francisco. The Giants returned the favor with three games in Los Angeles. This game he took me to was the final game of this series.

My great memory of that day was sitting in the super nose bleed seats in left center field. It was the perfect seat when the Giants' great player, Willie Mays, hit a ball into the HUGE gap in right that he tried to stretch into an inside the park home run. Play at the plate, OUT! Let the rhubarb begin!!!

The Dodgers would go on to win the game. Fifty years later I still have the L.A. Times report of the game at home complete with a series of pictures of the play at the plate. Over that first L.A. Dodger season in 1958 he would take me back several times to watch his favorite sport and my new favorite team.

Infiesto's village Church overlooking the village's Plaza

It was strange knowing that Abuelo probably played here in his youth.

There is also a remote chance that he went to church here once or twice.

It's possible.

Calle Covadonga, Infiesto's main, almost only, street

Looks important to me

As we sat down to eat, we suddenly realized that my Aunt Katica, in red, had followed us from California!

Not really, but the resemblance was uncanny.

Anyway, when we were in Oviedo earlier in the day I decided that I had to do something to celebrate Abuelo's memory, but what?

Suddenly it hit me!

I bought one of these Cuban cigars,
a Montecristo #4.


Some of Infiesto's finest citizens posed for this action shot in the small park by the Rio Piloña.

Infiesto, smack dab in the center of this map


A del Cueto in Infiesto from the University of Habana. I wonder?

Unfortunately this plaque is the only thing left of the practice. The building is now a Chinese mini-department store.

This was really a fun visit that stirred up a lot of fond memories from half a world away.

The Rio Pilaño

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