Sentimental Sunday: Not Just Another Name on a Family Tree

My Mother, Joan Joyce Schiavon (1928 – 1987)


Far from being “just another name on the family tree,” my mother was the reason for my passion for our family history and traditions.  She came from a long line of storytellers and entertained us with her tales of not only her own family but my father’s as well.  She loved history and literature and faith and believed it was important to understand all three in the context of one’s own family if one was to appreciate his or her place in the world. 

A year and a half after she died of lung cancer on September 11, 1987, my bereft father decided to publish her unfinished autobiography.  His introduction, below, shows his devotion  to his wife of 33 years.  

In the preface that follows, my mother shares the passion she had for life, faith, and family, which endeared her to all she met. She also shares a universal hope: that she be remembered.  Though the preface is relatively short, it speaks volumes about the person she was and the mother I miss.

My parents, Gilbert and Joan Huesca,
at my sister’s home, February 1981, Santa Clara, California



          This is a copy of the original preface written by my darling wife, Mrs. Joan Huesca.  She typed it on June 24, 1987, two days after she learned she was terminally ill with cancer.

          She wanted to revise the original copy, but as much as she wanted to, she never again got the chance.  However, I know she could have affixed her signature on this preface.
          Her autobiography was her gift of her heart to her family, and her legacy to the world of the thoughts and high moral values of a true lady.


                                                                                        Gilbert Huesca
* * * * *
I hope that I will not be just another name on a family tree, hanging precariously on some obscure branch.  I am dedicating this autobiography to you, my dear family; my darlings who are here now, and my precious ones to come, who may be able to know me, while I am praying for you in heaven.   I want to share my life with you.  For I have truly lived for you.  To you, my future descendants, I was here, I lived, I felt, I thought, and yes, I acted.  And as happens to all of God’s creatures, I left this earth to join our Lord, Mary, our Blessed Mother and all the Saints in heaven.
I have not been gifted with a literary talent, so dear reader, I do ask your indulgence with my poor attempts as memories or thoughts may not be written in a correct sequence of events, but will be written as they are recalled.  Ideas and life styles may change as you read this, but I beg of you to keep your standards and morals on the highest plane.
In the years of the 1980s, much is said about “woman’s independence.” Remember, my dears, that one cannot ever be independent of another.  To some extent, through our lives, we must lean one to the other. Therein lies our strength.  We must support one another.  My dependence has been on my dearest husband, Gilbert Huesca, the companion and love of my life, and our four precious, darling daughters.  For me, they have all been a very special blessing and gift from God.  My life and my being have been enriched with their love.  Through the experiences that I have lived throughout my life, I pray that you will build your lives about your family.  My prayers are that you, too, will find that same love and enrichment and that God’s blessing will be with you throughout your lives.

                                                                                          Joan Huesca

Copyright ©  2012  Linda Huesca Tully

4 Thoughts to “Sentimental Sunday: Not Just Another Name on a Family Tree

  1. Thanks, Jacqi. She did everything that way. It probably would not surprise you that one of her favorite sayings was "look before you leap." This applied to words and actions alike. She reminded us often to choose these wisely, not just looking at the present but anticipating who and what they would affect in the long run.

    1. My mother was a marvelous writer, Jamie, and her writing reflected her love and values eloquently. I am deeply honored to say for the record that she was the mother everyone dreams of – I am so grateful she was not only my mother but my best friend. Thanks so much for your kind comments!

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