My wife is a member of Familian Le’le, one of many matrilinear Chamorro clans on Guam. Her great grandmother was a Mendiola who married a Benavente. Her grandfather Benavente had a Mendiola cousin who married a Manibusan. Her Benavente mother grew up very close to her Le’le first and second cousins. And my wife has kept up with a lot of the Le’les in her own generation. One of her third cousins was celebrating her birthday during our stay in Guam in April and she invited us to her house for a family dinner party. And what a party! There were five generations of Le’les at the party. It was one of the most memorable events on our vacation.
Ana (center), her sister Lydia and their sister-in-law Margarita. Margarita’s husband (and Ana and Lydia’s oldest brother) Tony was a noted journalist, historian, professor, author, politician and senator. He died a couple of years ago. Ana and Lydia have another sister, Eloise, who lives in Alameda, California — not too far from us.
Ana and Lydia’s father died several years ago and their mother Lydia married Jack late in life. Lydia died in 2001. Jack, 92, came to Guam from Texas in the 1940s. He is the only one left from his generation.
Ana and Lydia’s brother Benigno (left) followed in his brother’s footsteps and also served as senator in the Guam legislature. Ana’s husband Joe is on the right.
Another Le’le sports a Guam Museum Foundation shirt. Ana’s brother Tony was the director of the Guam Museum for several years.
My grandson and some of his Le’le cousins.
My daughter and some of her Le’le cousins.
A Le’le family portrait.
Fifth cousins. Their mothers share the same birth date and were childhood pen pals.
Three generations: Ana, her daughter (my daughter’s pen pal), and her granddaughter.
My wife and some of her Le’le cousins.
My son-in-law and grandson enjoyed the party.
Ana’s grandson Adam and one of his zillion cousins.
It seems that Adam is the comedian in the family!
My daughter and granddaughter also enjoyed the party.
Ana’s first husband died several years ago. Joe is her second husband.
Some of the happy party goers.
I don’t think you have experienced the real Guam until a Chamorro invites you to their house, introduces you to their family and serves you some delicious Chamorro food!