I can see her hovering over the outside barbecue pit in her Guam ranch house. Maria Flores Sablan Leddy is flipping over some flattened dough as it cooks on an old fashioned flat iron pan. She is Grandma Leddy to her grandchildren. She is making our favorite treat… tortillas. At least mine. I still can smell that yumminess in the air.
Grandma would make her flour tortillas with a little sugar and they would be a little thicker. When done, she would put some butter that would melt against the warmness so when it went into your mouth it was the best tasting thing in the world. I miss those tortillas. I miss Grandma Leddy.
She used to watch my siblings and I after we finished Catholic School each day in the village of Dededo. Both my parents worked. I know we were a rowdy group of kids and she was a quieter woman. I look back and cannot believe she could have handled us. She did.
I was glad that we had a safe place to go and that she was our place of security for all those years. It helped give us some stability being around family.
She has quite the story. My grandmother was the daughter of the first native Baptist Minister of Guam. This is significant because almost all native Chamorros of Guam are Roman Catholic. Apparently, she caused quite the stir when she married my grandfather because she converted to Catholicism.
I was exposed to the Baptist side of my family and I really love those relatives. I always knew that there were undertones of that conversion controversy that still ran through my grandmother’s life and her family, especially with her dad throughout most of her life.
Grandma Leddy went through the horrific experience of WWII on Guam and suffered like the other Chamorros. She saw a couple of her children die as a result. In fact, her pain was to see most of her children pass on before her due to illnesses of a neuromuscular nature or heart nature. My father was one of those of children.
Grandma Leddy has since passed on but my memory of her lives on and my pride being her grandson fills my heart.