Monday, November 16, 2009

The Other Mayflowers Series

An Iberia Airlines Lockheed Constellation, how my husband's parents arrived in America The Newlyweds 1960 Madrid, Spain 1960 Lockheed Constellation- Madrid to New York City This week before Thanksgiving will be dedicated to blogging about my other family members and ancestors who came to the New World, not just my Mayflower ancestors. There are a lot to choose from, but I’m going to start with my mother and father-in-law, who arrived in New York City in 1960 aboard an Iberia Airlines Lockheed Constellation prop plane from Madrid, Spain. It was 340 years after my ancestors came to Plymouth, Massachusetts, and the most recent of any immigrants in our combined family trees.

My father-in-law had been working at the United Nations for a few years, and went home that winter to be married and bring his bride back to the United States. They left their families, and Spain under Franco, to come immediately to New York City. My mother-in-law found herself soon as a new bride, pregnant later that year, in a strange new country. They were married in January (yes, a fiftieth anniversary is coming up soon!) and my husband was born in Manhattan in November of that same year. (Yes, count the months, it works out OK!)

The Lockheed Constellation was a four engine airliner that won fame for its service in the Berlin Airlift. The Constellation had one of the first pressurized cabins, and was used by TWA, Pan Am, and Eastern Airlines in the USA. It was also President Eisenhower’s presidential aircraft named Columbine II and Columbine III. By 1967 it was no longer being used by airlines, and new jet airlines such as the Boeing 707 and the Douglas DC-8 made their debut. There is a Super Constellation on display at the National Air and Space Museum Center at Dulles Airport in Virginia, and three years ago our family saw it there. It was sort of like visiting Plymouth and seeing the Mayflower for the Rojo family!

Flying in a pressurized cabin across the Atlantic as an immigrant to America seems pretty posh compared to some of the horrid shipboard conditions earlier immigrants to America had to endure. However, anyone who had the pluck and bravery to start out a new life in a new country gets my applause. Especially a move where new customs, language and traditions are involved. Most of my own ancestors from my own side of the family tree removed from England to English speaking Massachusetts, which was difficult enough in the 1600’s and early 1700s, but at least the culture remained very similar. From 1960 Spain under Franco to New York City in the United States was a very brave voyage.

For more about the Rojo lineage, and the Spanish Civil War, see my blog post on September 3, 2009 "Mass Grave at Monte Costajan"

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Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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