Nana lived a life that in retrospect some would call difficult, but I never heard her complain or whine about what life had given her. She started out with nothing and worked hard to become self-sufficient with many setbacks along the way.
Widowed twice, the first time after two months of marriage and the second time with six children, ages eighteen to three. She divorced her third husband, Antone Quadros, although they remained friends, because she felt she was the cause of friction with his children.
His oldest daughter, Marie, who had lost her own mother had been caring for her five siblings for years. Marie resented this new woman taking her place with her father and being the woman of the house. Nana would say, “Two women in a household is one too many.” She told Antone Quadros before they married that he needed to discuss with his children, and especially the eldest, Marie, that he was remarrying a woman with two children still at home. He said he would, but never did, so when Nana arrived with Palmeda and George, Marie was rightfully resentful. This was a situation that Nana felt could not continue, and would cause irreparable friction so they separated and later divorced. Divorce between two Catholics was frowned upon in the 1930’s. When talk came up about the ‘divorce’ in the family, the conversation would quickly change to another subject. I did not know for years the status of their relationship. I knew they were married, good friends, lived separately, but the word ‘divorce’ was never mentioned. In fact, my mother’s step-sister, Elidia Quadros, had lived with Nana from the time she was eighteen until she married. Then Elidia and Artie her husband lived a couple of blocks away and would drop in every Sunday. Elidia always called Nana, Mama, and I always considered them my Aunt and Uncle. They came to all the family gatherings until old age and illness forced them to stay at home.
Mr Quadros, had a ranch in Nord, above Chico, and in later years had a trucking business. On his trips past San Rafael, where Nana lived, he would stop by and visit each time he was in the area. I remember him as a large man, with a bald head, and warm smile. He wore a short sleeved shirt and pants that were held up by suspenders over his large belly. Sometimes on our way home from Bolinas we would stop in San Rafael and his large truck would be parked on the street in front of Nana’s house. My parents would visit and I would sit on his lap in Nana’s kitchen and felt very secure in his arms.