Mondays with Melitas – January 19, 2015

DEAR GEORGIA                                                  JANUARY 19, 2015


I’ve been trying to get a new computer up and going, and am having a terrible time of it. Why the old one let me outlive IT, I will never know. My brain is just getting too old for these kinds of cranium calisthenics. Maybe I’d better go back over to the Senior Center for some beginner classes. We’ll see …..


The story which follows popped up on me while working on the new machine. My friend, Georgia, from Sun Lakes asked me some questions about the mansion over in San Juan because she had been there with family sightseeing the Mission San Juan Capistrano, and was wondering about it; so this was my answer for her. This took place a couple of years ago. I know a number of you have already read some of this stuff, but bear with me, there may be a few new readers out there. It may even make them want to go back and find some of those old blogs of mine to read. Glory be!

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MELITAS FORSTER                                         MONDAYS WITH MELITAS


Dearest Georgia, Of course, the San Juan Capistrano Mission was the first “mansion” when great grandfather, Don Juan Forster and wife Ysidora Melitas Pico made it their home for 25 years. The US Gov. evicted them after 25 years.

The nerve!!!!


The next mansion was located in back of the brick home of Judge Egan which is located across the street from the El Adobe Restaurant. The picture I am sending       you, is that mansion which was called La Casa Grande. On the right, standing very tall, is my grandfather, Don Marcos Forster, his wife was Guadalupe Soledad Avila. When I enlarge the photo I can distinguish my 2 aunts, Ysidora and Lucana, on the left, standing. This mansion had 11 bedrooms, so with 4 sons and 2 daughters one would need plenty of bedrooms and still have guest rooms.


The “mansion” you saw belonged to my dad’s next to oldest brother, Frank and his wife, Ada Guirado. Uncle Frank was the family Santa Claus, and that home was the gathering place for Christmas Eve.


The next REALLY mansion for Christmas Day was Titán (Uncle John) and my Aunt Mae’s home on the hill. It was built in 1926, designed by world-renowned architect Paul Williams. His work can be found the world over. Down the State Hwy. to San Clemente you will find several gorgeous homes, and that was the reason Aunt Mae contracted Mr. Williams. Ole Hanson, the founder and developer of San Clemente, used Williams for his mansion, as well as other big-wigs. There is the Rasmussen home, still a showplace, and then there is the Ham and Victoria Cotton spread at the south end on the ocean bluff. Ham (Hamilton)

was a horse breeder, and raised race horses, so there was the race track and barns. You might remember President Nixon bought it, and it was called The Western White House.


By asking me to clarify about “mansions,” you got me off my duff.


I could spend every day just writing the wonderful, beautiful history. Well, some it is not so beautiful. Don Juan and Ysidora had 3 sons: Juan, Marcos, and Francisco. Francisco was shot to death on the steps of the Los Angeles Mission by a spurned, beautiful Indian lover. Many years later, my grandfather, Don Marcos, disinherited his eldest son, Marquitos, because he married an Indian maiden.


And the beat goes on.




blog 1-19a

Outside La Casa Grande. The left 2-some — on right is my Aunt Tota. Her real name = Ysidora, and her husband Cornelio Echenique, a real dictator, was only one who called her that. On right lower, my Aunt Lukie (Lucana) Don’t know who the gent is.


 Line of people on north side of home. Don Marcos, very tall, just left of horse, then 2 young girls, Lukie then Tota.  Grandmother Gudalupe in front of steps, holding forth which she passed on to granddaughter Melitas.

Line of people on north side of home. Don Marcos, very tall, just left of horse, then 2 young girls, Lukie then Tota. Grandmother Gudalupe in front of steps, holding forth which she passed on to granddaughter Melitas.

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