Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Cuenco Cousins in Paris #Cuenco, #CebuPhilippines, #ParisFrance

 It was strange that the four of us cousins would be together in Paris. While we had been close as children, we became absorbed in our own lives and didn't see much of one another. Then suddenly there we were, enjoying Paris in October.

It was Celine Gonzalez Conejos who learned I was in Paris and arranged a meeting at Les Deux Magots for dinner.

My cousins in Paris were: Manny Gonzalez and his sister Celine, and Chickie Reyes Feraren.  Our mothers were sisters, daughters of Mariano Jesus Cuenco and Filomena Alesna.  The black and white confirmation picture shows Chickie in the center holding a little boy who's Manny. I'm the girl on the far right. Our mothers are in the back row. Chickie's Mom is third from the left, and Manny and Celine's Mom is fourth from the left; my mother is fifth from the left. (Celine was not yet born.)

The other old photo shows our common maternal grandmother (Filomena Alesna Cuenco), standing far left; our great-grandmother, seated far right (Remedios Lopez Cuenco), and our great-great-grandmother (Juana Lopez), seated holding a child (my mother) second adult from the left.

The cousins and I come from a political and complicated family, the Cuenco family. We share many bonds; we understand one another in a way that other people couldn't. We know our gifts and our limitations, our brilliance as well as our neuroses -- there are familial traits that seem to be shared by members of the Cuenco family.

And so it was with comfortable familiarity that we enjoyed one another's company in the gorgeous city of Paris: dinners, shopping, and endless chatting.

Sometimes we talked about our dead relatives: the girl who had been accidentally killed by a ceramic pot that fell on her; a granduncle Jaime who had a disability (down syndrome?); our Great-great-grandmother Juana who loved to dance and who (reportedly) had an affair with a Spanish admiral -- these two were parents of our common Great-grandmother Remedios. We talked about these family secrets and more, and we laughed at matters that had been serious and taboo in the past, and which we now released into the Paris air and on to the universe.

It was time to let them go.

To honor some of these ancestors, I'm posting pictures of Juana and Jaime.

Juana Lopez, who loved to dance and who (we surmise) had an affair with a Spanish Admiral

1895 photo showing Jaime, boy in front, holding a hat

The picture of the four of us in front of Les Deux Magots shows l-r: Celine Conejos, Chicken Feraren, Manny Gonzalez, and me Cecilia Brainard. There are pictures of other dinners, a shopping expedition to the Paris flea market, and shots of their apartment in Saint Germain.

Read also
Heidelberg, Jose Rizal, and A Las Flores de Heidelberg
Frankfurt, Germany: Dinner with Dr.Michaela Keck
Notre Dame Madness!
Eiffel Tower Madness!

Tags: Paris, France, Cuenco, Cebu, Philippines, travel, family, #Paris, #Cebu, #Cuenco
This is all for now,

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