Mondays with Melitas – July 14, 2014

Michael Forster welcoming all the family!

Michael Forster welcoming all the family!

THE REUNION, PART 1 AND ONE-HALF                                           JULY 14, 2014


Last week I was so into my Aunt Mae’s Rosewood Square Grand Piano, and barely mentioned the REUNION. The piano threw me for a loop when there it was for my eyes to feast on. The years have taken their toll to some extent, so it did not appear to me like it was when I lived with it — in all its glory days with the basic white Spanish shawl embroidered with beautiful, colorful flowers draped dramatically over one side. And each day there was the tall, elegant cut glass vase with fresh flowers from the gardens. I know Tom Forster and his son, Tony took good care of it, and Tony is the one who probably put it at the Mission where it languished in that tiny space without a dust rag ever giving it some loving swipes. It has been restored so I have to compliment those who took care of that for its return for public viewing.




Don Juan and Ysidora Pico Forster had 3 sons. One, Francisco, was put out of commission early in life when he spurned his señorita lover of the moment, a lovely Indian maiden, and just like that! she shot him dead on the steps of the Los Angeles Mission. He had probably dillied when he should have dallied. It is not too wise to pull a stunt like he did. You just never know who might have a pistol, and furthermore that person knows how to pull the trigger and can hit the mark. You can end up in very deep trouble, maybe like 6 feet deep.

So that left Juan and Marcos to carry on the Forster-Pico name, and now  in June of 2014 here we are over 200 descendants, gathered to celebrate the 200th birthday of Don Juan. One descendant was only 3 weeks old, while another was 96, with all ages in between. I think the old ones outnumbered the young ones. On the first afternoon, there was a reception held at the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society on Los Rios Street across the railroad tracks and the picturesque Depot. In one of the accompanying photos, nephew Michael Forster is shown delivering his welcome speech. He is one of the instigators of this entire weekend, and he deserves a lot of praise to get this show on the road. I can’t just give him all the praise — he is a grandson of my brother, Buddy — there were so many others who had their parts in this, like Pat Forster, son of Tom, and brother of Tony. Pat’s family was all involved. Juan Forster, descended from Juan Forster, brother of my grandfather, Marcos was also a big help for the cause.

It’s a good thing this committee had the foresight to furnish nametags, all secure in a plastic cover with a safety pin for one’s clothing, and be large enough to read in case you forgot your eyeglasses. I would be talking to someone, and all the while reading their nametag, and then trying to figure out who it was, then running into them 10 minutes later, and having to use the tag prompt all over again. Everyone mingled around, and of course, they were in the same quandary I was in — which was trying to match them up to their families. The setting was perfect for this get-together. Loads of shade trees, and plenty of space for tables and chairs, but there were lots of them vacant. Everyone was just too busy bustling around, hoping they wouldn’t miss anyone. You could stop and talk to someone by the loaded down tables of food, eat up as you catch up, so to speak. Good grub, and with that there were liquid refreshments, wine and Corona, and soda pop.

We received a big sack, containing a good-looking deep blue T-shirt with Don Juan’s cattle brand over one’s heart and a likeness of Don Juan in color on the back. Then there were some historical articles for the folks to read when they got home to while away the time as they regained their voices, also the much-needed name tag.

Quite a few folks were beginning to tire around 7 PM. Well, they had been gabbing non-stop since 5 o’clock, no wonder. The invitations said from 5 to 8. I was still shooting the breeze at 8 with Michael, and I finally had to be asked to leave because the crew was trying to clean the place up. Sounds like my bars when I would be the one to get rid of the “hangers on” at 2 AM.

I am going to bring this to a close because I had better get busy on next week’s, and the next weeks, etc. because there is still the visit to the Mission on Saturday, a visit to Uncle Frank and Aunt Ada’s home ( where I made it well known to all my younger cousins that there was no SANTA CLAUS after all) Saturday afternoon, then the big dinner bash at the El Adobe Saturday evening. And the coup de grace, the trip to Camp Pendleton where we visited the Ranch Home of Don Juan and Ysidora after their years spent living at the Mission San Juan Capistrano.



MELITAS FORSTER                                                  MONDAYS WITH MELITAS


9 Comments to “Mondays with Melitas – July 14, 2014”

  1. Thank you Mel. Entertaining and informative as always.

  2. Melitas,

    Are all your stories real, or a little made up? they are so vivid I know that i must have attended all the places and parties that you described!!!!!

    Love Ya,

  3. You took me on a wonderful trip last week and I felt like I was there with you. One of these days I am going to have to take a tour of the Mission as I would like to see the piano, etc..It now has a special meaning to me.
    Part I and a half of the reunion sounded like you were enjoying yourself. You should be able to share more interesting things with us. Sending Love and happiness to you, my friend

  4. Melitas.

    I loved hearing about your reunion and hope to hear some more. I hope you had a picture made with the 3 week old – that’s probably 5 or 6 generations! What an amazing family.


  5. You are SUCH an excellent writer, as Marge said, I felt as if I was there with you.

  6. Dear Mena,

    I loved this continuing story of the reunion. It must have been so memorable for everyone.

    I love you,

  7. Thank you for your bright mind and crisp memories, and taking us all along with you on your journey.

  8. Ms. Melitas….you did it again.
    Your stories are awesome.
    I love reading them and enjoy your
    writing as always.

  9. I am following along with every word, every story and waiting, always for the next one. Never fear your number one fan is here. I want to attend one of these celebrations. How can any of us not want to experience what you so eloquently relate?

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