A New Beginning
A cloudlike mist rose faintly above
the ground typical of fall mornings in southern California. The de la
Vega's cook was busy at the stove preparing the first meal of the day
as Don Alejandro and his guests gathered around the dining table. After
they were comfortably seated a servant began to serve some refreshment
as Don Alejandro explained his daughter-in-law's absence. Following
his explanation Dr. Avila, who had remained overnight at the hacienda
with Anna Maria, answered all questions about her condition.
Maria continues to improve," stated Dr. Avila as those listening
breathed a sigh of relief. "I am confident she and the child are in no
danger and with some much needed rest Anna Maria will be fit to rejoin
Later that morning unable to convince his daughter
to return home the governor bid his friends farewell and returned to
Monterey accompanied by his guards. Standing outside the courtyard
Leonar watched tearfully as the carriage carrying her father pulled
further out of her sight. Leonar's decision to remain was not an easy
one for she loved and respected her father but she could not leave the
man who had captured her heart. Somehow she must prove to the
commandante that their love was strong enough to withstand anything.
With tears filling her eyes she reached out to Don Alejandro who took
her hand for support. Together the two returned to the hacienda.
a short discussion with Leonar, Don Alejandro consulted with Dr. Avila
and then spoke with Anna Maria. Once alone Alejandro tended to some
business in the library until his concentration was lost. The danger
to his son and daughter-in-law's unborn child had brought back burning
memories of his beloved wife, Isabella and their life so many years
before. Leaning back in his chair Alejandro surveyed the many books in
the library brought by his parents during the long journey across the
ocean to the new land called "Spanish California". In the new world
Alejandro's father established a legacy for generations to come that
began with a small cabin on the land given him by the government of
Spain. Alejandro grew to be a fine, respectable young man with a great
love of his new homeland. However, it soon became apparent to his
proud parents that Alejandro lacked the polish and refinement of a
caballero. A short time later it was decided that Alejandro would
attend the university in Madrid as his father before him.
the final arrangements were made Alejandro took his leave and embarked
on the next ship leaving for Spain. With the help of family members
still living in Spain, Alejandro quickly settled into the university.
It took a while for the naive young man to get accustomed to his new
environment but soon he thrived. Alejandro loved his academic studies,
fencing, social life at court and the many close friendships he made
among the students. One such comrade was a young man from a well to do
family named Carlos Ramirez. Carlos was helpful in turning the young
Californian into the man his parents believed he could be.
a visit to court his friend, Carlos, introduced Alejandro to the most
beautiful girl he had ever seen. This was Isabella de la Cruz. Once
Alejandro met this lovely young woman he could think of none other.
Within a few months Isabella and Alejandro were betrothed. The years
at the university went by very quickly and soon Alejandro was finished
but not before a lavish wedding was planned. The de la Cruz family
even though somewhat "flamboyant"was held in high respect by court
society. Isabella's parents bestowed the finest wedding on their only
daughter and her intended. In the weeks following Alejandro prepared
his wife and himself for the long voyage home.
California with its lush green trees,
aromatic colored flowers, and grand mountains mesmerized the newcomer
as she stood on the bow of the ship. A little fearful of the new life
she was to begin once they landed, Isabella pressed her body close to
that of her husband for support and comfort. Unbeknown to the young
couple an accident a month earlier had taken the life of the elder de
la Vega leaving Alejandro to pick up where his father left off. With
trepedations the young couple took over the rancho but soon all
uncertainty melted away as Isabella found herself swept up as the wife
of a haciendado. The Dona de la Vega took great patience in teaching
Isabella the social graces that were expected of a young woman in the
The years that followed brought a new heir to the de
la Vega fortune and saw the death of Alejandro's mother. It was the
Dona's love of California and it's people that were her greatest gift
to her grandson, Diego. The rancho continued to grow with each passing
year until it was one of the finest in Spanish California thanks to the
astute business endeavors of Alejandro. Yet the riches he accumulated
never came before his love of his family and friends. When Alejandro
discovered he was to become a father for a second tine he could barely
contain his pleasure.
It was a month prior to the birth of
Alejandro and Isabella's child when everything began to go wrong. A
dry spell had caused the loss of much of the de la Vega cattle and a
riding mishap caused minor injuries to young Diego. Isabella had taken
to her bed stricken with severe abdominal pains from worry over the
rancho and her son. Once again the doctor was called to the
hacienda...this time for Isabella. Diego was too young to understand
the severity of all that was going on but he could sense his father's
"Father, I am to blame," sobbed Diego. "Mama is feeling bad because of me."
"No, my son," Alejandro tried to console his son. "Sometimes people become ill. We must accept these things."
the doctor arrived Alejandro was sent from the bedroom under protest
with his young son. Alejandro passed nervously back and forth outside
the room while his son sat by the door his head resting on his knees
sobbing. Slowly the door opened allowing the doctor to pass through.
With deep sorrow the doctor revealed his news.
"I am sorry
Alejandro but the baby is dead," uttered the doctor looking into
Alejandro's shocked face. "Isabella is very weak...you should go to
Alejandro looked down at the frightened child and
reached for his hand. Together father and son walked silently into the
bedroom...but it was too late. On the bed laid Isabella, pale with her
eyes closed, embracing the child she would now love in death. Dropping
to his knees Alejandro wept...there would be no final good-bye. This
was not supposed to be the end for there should have been years they
shared loving their children and grandchildren together. Alejandro
turned to his son and took him in his arms. He tried to reassure the
trembling child that he would always be there for him, to love and
protect him but...
Alejandro placed his hands on his desk and
stood up. How could he protect his son from going through what he
had? There was nothing he could do but say a pray for Diego, Anna
Maria and the child to remain safe and well. With sadness in his heart
Alejandro left his work and walked out to the graves where his dear
wife and child were buried.