In the Spirit of Christmas…I am Going to Talk About Santa…


….but not that Santa…..

While this site is dedicated to my dad, running and Disney, if I were to stray a bit on the family history side of things, I would hit other parts of family. And with that, I am letting myself stray for a moment and appreciate my Grandma Stengel. While Grandma Stengel may not have been around in my life as long as many other peoples’ grandparents (she passed away when I was 3 years old) she is someone who I treasure and recollect back at the moments I was able to spend with her.

Let’s start by noting my Grandma’s first name was Santa. For real. Santa. Middle name Maria. My grandma is Santa Maria Stengel. And before being married she was Santa Maria Basci. Her parents are both direct off the boat from Sicily and that is my direct, blatant connection to the Deep South of Europe. I have so much to learn family history-wise in regards to my dad, that the details of my maternal Grandmother could take me another lifetime…I know my Auntie Susie has already begun to collect family letters between my grandparents during WWII, and she longs for a visit to Sicily,…so hopefully in my future, I can head this way too.

I have been a clinger and possessor of old photographs….much thanks to my mom inheriting all the old family photos. These were all in old cardboard boxes and albums deep in my parents’ basement, and I am glad I was a freak of a child who spent hours on end just sorting and staring through old photos from the 40s and on….if not, I would have never found these gems of Grandma:



My Grandma Stengel was a strong woman—she raised my mom and her two younger sisters on her own after my Grandpa passed away from a heart attack when he was 50. My mom was 15 at the time, and her two younger sisters were 9 and 10, respectively. My mom helped out a lot and took over a maternal role in the house, helping raise her two younger sisters. My mom and her sisters are still incredibly close—I was fortunate enough to live most of my life only two blocks away from Auntie Debbie and my cousins, and got to visit Auntie Susie and her family tons.

My Grandma passed away from lung cancer at age 67. She, like many people from her time, over-used and never quit smoking cigarettes. This was the cause of my Grandma Lammers’ death also, close to the same time too. I am glad I have photographic memories and stories to hold on to of time I was able to spend with Grandma Stengel.



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