So, I’ve been in Spain the last week. Part of our trip here was to visit my father’s Basque relatives and, specifically, the house where my ancestors lived in the Basque Country (in the northern part of Spain) before migrating to the United States.
I’ve always wondered what brought them to the US all that time ago—but the truth was way more exciting than I thought it would be.
My great great grandfather’s brother was the first to immigrate to the US. But once he got there, he was murdered by a “blue-eyed Irishman.”
The news traveled back to my great great grandfather, Benito Arrizabalaga, who still lived in the Basque Country. After hearing it, he vowed to avenge his brother.
Benito stowed away on a ship crossing the Atlantic to the US, but somewhere along the way, he was discovered. The Captain gave him two choices: work as a cabin boy to pay for his passage, or get thrown overboard.
He obviously chose the first option.
Once in the US, though, Benito never did find that blue-eyed Irishman who killed his brother. Though he did get into some other trouble, I was not surprised to hear, that included accidentally driving a wagon and a team of horses off a cliff.
I see where I get it from, though I have yet to lose my whole wagon yet.