Turinia Family History

Discovering snow, Minnesota, c. 1938
Discovering snow, Minnesota, c. 1938

Determined to merge with American society my Grandfather went to Minnesota (from Watsonville, CA). Public sentiment wasn’t much better there but one historical event did occur, my Grandfather met my Grandmother and they fell in love. The pain of discrimination intensified for my Grandpa – my Grandmother was a Caucasian. And, although my Grandfather won’t speak of it, my mother recalls overhearing stories of the looks of disgust and distasteful words that were hurled at them. They would go into restaurants and be refused service, and in order to attend a movie they would have to sit in the back of the balcony. My Grandparents couldn’t marry because there were laws forbidding such a union between a Filipino and a Caucasian. Even worse, my Grandmother’s father disowned her. Then, my Grandmother discovered that she was pregnant. There was nothing left to do but travel all the way to New Mexico, one of the few states where a Filipino and Caucasian could marry.On June 2, 1942 a child, my mother, Karen Turinia, was born in Phoenix, AZ. And on June 29, 1942 when my Grandmother was fit to travel, they were finally married in Lourdes, New Mexico. “How happy I was,” my grandfather told me with his smiling face and sparkling eyes attesting to the happiness. “I had a wonderful wife and a beautiful daughter.” 

Place(s): Minnesota, California, New Mexico, Arizona

– Krissie

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant