Jack de Golia and Kyle de Golia

Recorded September 22, 2020 Archived September 22, 2020 38:19 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby020069


Father, John "Jack" de Golia (69) and son, Kyle de Golia (27) discuss their family ancestry, ethnicity and cultural background.

Subject Log / Time Code

KG and JG discuss their ethnic backgrounds.
JG discusses his parents and their differences.
KG discusses his mixed Latino heritage and the difficulties it presented him.
JG and KG discuss a family ancestor.
JG discusses his relationship with his grandmother and his parents.
"That's kind of the trick of being a parent, giving direction and then getting out of the way."- JG on parenting.


  • Jack de Golia
  • Kyle de Golia

Recording Location

Virtual Recording


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00:04 Well, hello, my name is Kyle de Golia. I am 30 years old. The date is Tuesday, September 22nd 2020. I'm currently in Toronto, Ontario Canada, and I'm here with my father.

00:23 I'm Jack de Golia. I'm 69 years old. Today is Tuesday, September 22nd 2020. I'm in Henderson, Nevada, and I'm with my son Kyle.

00:35 Thanks for joining me today then. Yeah, you better.

00:41 I asked you thank you for asking. So I guess I was the first question I have cuz I was filling out the little form before this to get my ethnicity and I know that

00:57 I was kind of in a little confused where I land on the Latino part of it cuz I know I can put why for sure, but I know that I'm right at this point 1/4 Latino. And you said you were comfortable putting Latino down but like what I guess I guess my question is is what is your ethnic background? And yeah, okay. Well, my mother was from Nicaragua. She was born there in 1908 and she immigrated to the US in in 1928 know she came up in 1918 when she was a 10 year old kid because her father was Consul general for Nicaragua in Sacramento. She told me stories about writing wearing roller skates and skating around the California state capitol.

01:52 When she was a kid and and then I went back in 1920. Maybe there's a rumor now that everybody's dead and gone that Bob Rickman. Our cousin said that it could be that Grandpa novice Julio senior was playing around and Grandma had enough and she took the girls ever and Bertha back to Nicaragua and Julio. There's who your Junior had to stay in the Bay Area cuz he had malaria so bad that they sent him to San Francisco.

02:26 When he was little cuz otherwise he's going to die. So he went to a private school. And that's where the girls came up in 1928 cuz the grandmother who had all the money died and the uncles this is a story for my mom through all the money out. It was all gone. They weren't Rich anymore. And so Grandma and Becca and Emma had to come and join Julio again in San Francisco this time. They're 20 years. My mom 20 years old has 18

02:53 And for the first time in her life, my mom had to go to work.

02:57 And he didn't speak English worth a damn and she ended up teaching herself English kind of on the street, you know, and so when I say would most people say Latino there is a culture they're part of you know, they they do they if they have part of their life in Spanish maybe and they have a church. So usually Catholic we have the Catholic church, but I kind of drifted away as I got older and and my mom's delivery of the Latin culture was strictly through stories about her growing up in Nicaragua and

03:34 And a little bit of Spanish, but I and I picked up her accent but I never did pick up the vocabulary after I lost it after I high school. So all is not well done this unless I'm going to guess which means hello Isabel. How are the meatballs at all? So when the end around here, we're like majority Latino and black in Vegas. And so I try to speak Spanish to the yard guys that come in stop doing that because they talk so fast. I can't comprehend every fifth word. Grandma just said she never wanted to cuz she never went back to Nicaragua and bear that did Peeta and I think it was she was afraid to

04:34 Find out how much it it changed. When Alex went there with Eric. They found it a really poor country like it act me for really wealthy when she left she was wealthy the country. Yeah. Yeah, and then

04:56 The ethnic thing we went online one time to 23andMe and found his cousin named Damaris a lives in Miami. She's related somehow through one of the some Micaiah family probably and so she came to visit us in 2014. And that was the first time I'd really met a cousin from Nicaragua that I can remember. I'm there were a few when I was really little and then there was Armando. Do you remember Armando? Yeah, I'm in so that was my tie to that culture and it was sort of an expatriate culture. Did you mention that grandma didn't want to go back to Chi

05:36 Antique, she didn't like other than a few stories didn't really carry a lot of Nicaragua with her. I was just did you want to just get away into a new beginning or I think she meant mostly didn't want to break the bubble of her memory of what it was like cuz she you know, she grew up there and should really simple memories. I don't think she got through more than

05:58 Middle school and some of her memories of schooling or like what she remembered was kids had to stand up in a line at the beginning of the day and one kid had egg on his face still from breakfast. She didn't like fried eggs, as you know, I was living with stuff like that growing up. There's always kind of reasons she did stuff that to me were pretty bizarre. But anyway extreme opinions based off of a little little incident. She was very much of my parents. She was the one who shot from the hip she had an emotional reaction to everything and nothing was mild. It was all extreme bang. You know, you always knew where Mom stood as where's my dad who had grown up being shuttled around between his father and mother and stepfathers and stuff like that was really reserved and he was the

06:58 He was The Thinker and the obviously the native English speaker and in so I have like two role models to follow when I was growing up. Do I want to be the logical one, or do I want to be the emotional one and both of them work to extreme if you and if she got pissed out of there was still remember a weekend when I was I had to be middle school or something like that and she got pissed at my dad about something and didn't speak to us for an entire weekend and we were on a trip we've gone to the coast and we're staying in a motel and she refused to speak to she was pouting for three days which was like the most extreme of that and all that did was tell me where's the fucking door? I want to grow up get out of here. Leave, California go by so I guess when you hear

07:58 There is a lot of prizes are there is this what ours is just been kind of stories and I know that at least for me check in that box. I'm I'm more kind of thinking.

08:08 Like a mi amor Jenny logically biologically made up of the stuff not so much. I'm a part of this community or something like that. Cuz I know you said that you were trying to talk to Spanish speakers in your area. That was just too fast. And I don't know I just felt like we we have a family pride thing, but that's just because of the people that we know that are in it not necessarily where we're from what we've done and that's true. I mean unlike my brother's side of the family where everybody stayed in the Bay Area accepts, Dayton, Ohio Brew move to Nashville everybody still there and they're very routed to place and I got very unrooted to place partly because of growing up with my mom. I mean God love her but she was she was a pain and and hard to live with sometimes and so and she and I clashed a lot so leaving and heading out to seek my fortune. So to speak was

09:07 That's until then. I wasn't I mean it all the stuff's in my history, but it's not and it's in my emotions. But I too have a thought about what the Bay Area was like and every time I go back it's not there anymore. It's got like 10 times as many people right? It's going back for my high school reunions. That's probably the last time I'll go back there this specially since Gretchen died. I'm going to go back with her on as a funeral. But yeah, otherwise things are disconnecting without their do you think that that they have a sense of pride in terms of like

09:50 Nationality of family or is it just the one thing I just heard that Kelly and Anna were really excited to be both Nicaraguan and Swedish from their Heritage and and they were really interested in that at one point during their Elementary or secondary schooling. I don't know if they even think about it now that big Nicaraguan flag from you for a while and it was a Nicaraguan restaurant Las Vegas. Yeah. My Spanish is a CSC and I had an opportunity to actually speak Spanish to nicaraguans and like I was like all Pride it up. I had a distinct Robin pride and then all I had to ask his where was bathroom and then I thought about you all night. It's like we're walking up a super nervous then I got to them and then

10:51 You tell me where the bathroom is, please and then I'm not culturally we're not know I even put Latino down on my on my application to University and stopping and they put me in a Hispanic Latino Mentor program. Did I tell you I'm pretty white tiger blue eyes light skin Michelle and I met her like maybe Olive and I was denied is like a piece of paper. You are pretty white and

11:51 I just kind of a time she was really nice and I was fine, but I just felt really out of place. Like I shouldn't be doing it even at the end of the year. They had at the end of the year party and and I walked in the room and everyone in there was dark skin dark hair brown eyes and I walked in and they looked at me like I was the janitor like I was just there the 5th and I had walked in the room too early and turn around and I left and I think those two moments to me or just want to put it on the sense of like I have it but it's never really been a thing of Pride or something. I don't really know and I felt pretty detached from it doesn't it just becomes kind of a deeper thing to me when I have to check the box for ethnicity and something like that. Like if I can't choose more than one option or I can what do I do right now? I don't know. I know it feels almost feels like it's a fraud.

12:46 Yeah, I'm a fake butt.

12:49 What do we have our last name? And that's Italian? That's French. We've been quote. What about the Italian parts of the bleed into Italy before it when the friend there's only one reference about that being being an Italian name?

13:08 Although Golia is Italian for Goliath. But if the name as far as I can tell was originally due Gotye and he was up. There was a shock wa who came from new from France to fight with a French army in Canada and New France in the set in 1750.

13:30 And somewhere along the line he bail out and met a girl in the English colonies nearby and then fought in the American Revolution and founded the lineage.

13:41 So and then people started changing the name, so there are people who spell it degolyer golyar. There's people spell it de Golia like us and when I was in college, I was like sending letters out and I found people named de Golia who weren't in Mauch Chunk of the family tree There Are Places removed. So and then Ron found some documents in New York that Darwin degolyer had legal documents and then when he eats in Placerville, California, and after 1850 there is is Darwin de Golia.

14:19 And I just wonder if the clerks who were writing stuff down on legal documents wrote down what they heard cuz the people they were dealing with did not a spell or even couldn't read. So they wrote down what they thought they hurt and maybe I mean it could also be that somebody consciously change the last name to various things.

14:39 The guy that I met through the family tree stuff, his name is Bert Pennington. He's his name really ought to be to go earlier, but about two generations back his grandfather was pissed off at his father and drop that family name and took the family name of another relative Pennington. Albert has been trying to connect stuff to the to the family ever since and he found me through 23 and me and it's like yeah, but that's okay. I've never met him but we've done emails, you know, yeah, that's so funny things happen along the way to family names, you know.

15:20 Okay. Well, I guess since this is being recorded and stuff and and I don't know who's going to listen to it, but we know you and you walk me to the time on a few times but I think for the sake of the recording can you walk to the timeline of Jacques de Golia coming through and then up to Darwin and then how its Leonard from there? Okay, here's what I know and it comes from what purports to be a story of the family that supposedly was written in the 1840s that was handed down. So who knows if it's real I came across it in the 70s when I was in college family tree stuff and I went to the Davis Library and grabbed all the phone books and start looking into the days and writing people letters was before 23andMe and before ancestry.com and all that stuff.

16:11 But what I would it seems to have happened is that Jacques to go ye grew up in was born in Paris born 1725 issue think his father's name was Antoine so we know he comes to Canada with the French army. So there's your back no family tree wise and and then the they lost or he deserted or something. Anyway, he is in the English colonies in New York state at a place called West Fort Ann.

16:44 And was living there was married when I don't remember I don't have the date in front of me so I can tell you when he was married, but that family tree stuff is around in the computer.

16:55 He is one of two of his sons. One of them was named John who was our direct ancestor fought in the American Revolution.

17:04 And then the last we know of Jacques is its 1820s?

17:09 Which means he'd be super old.

17:13 But he's nobody knows when he died. He just the story was he just went off on a trip and never came back on foot somewhere in the woods and no soak a very mysterious like a cat Yak cattle goes off to die. I don't know. That's how it ends. And so there was John who lived in West Fort Ann and John had an a bunch of kids and one of them was named John and John. This is by this time. We're talkin early eighteen hundreds and John Jr. Had children including one named Darwin. It was born in 1818 and Darwin in 1850.

17:55 Came to San Francisco and I went to the California State library. And then again when I was in college, and I found a book that listed just names of people who showed up in San Francisco for the gold rush in the 1850 era and there is Dia de Golia the spelled with an H at the end cuz they were running down with her you'd come on a ship from Panama to San Francisco arriving in June 1850. Right Gold Rush is just exploding happening at that point. So evidently he took a ship from New York to Panama walk across the Isthmus which a lot of people did.

18:34 Risking disease and who knows what else jumping about came North got out of the boat went up to Placerville in the foothills of the Sierras and there's a de Golia Street in Placerville now cuz he was like a deputy sheriff or a marshall or something there. He had his for kids including the oldest George who was our ancestor and the youngest was Edwin Baldwin or EB who was the ancestor of the guy in Coeur d'Alene Rad Rad Rad and all that side of the family. That's mostly wealthy became really rich and he owned the Saint Francis Hotel and he was a founder of the California state Automobile Association the AAA thing and end of Mining and there's a there's a record of him being involved in some of mine and in the desert in Southern California and all that anyway,

19:34 George

19:35 Are my great-grandfather you are great. Great.

19:40 Was an early student at the University of California. He graduated in 1877 with a bachelor of philosophy is a phb which is what they gave out then for bachelor's degrees and then he studied the law for just a year. Maybe there wasn't that much law. But anyway, he's a lawyer and he had two children Noel who I never met. But I was heard my dad talk about Aunt Noel who lived in Connecticut and then there was George Ellis jr. My grandfather.

20:15 And then in

20:20 In 1900

20:23 We've been 1908 early 08.

20:27 No late 07 my grandfather got together with my grandmother. Who is Edith Louise coffin?

20:37 And cough and families a lawn, you know a long story family from New England. They were Whalers and who knows what else but Nantucket Island was their home base. Anyway, her her grandfather had come across the prairie in a covered wagon in the 1870s, and we're in California. And so anyway, George and Edith.

21:02 Obviously knew each other and suddenly she was pregnant and I stumbled across this in my college Pursuits and I got a marriage certificate for my grandparents March 1908. And I thought my dad's birthday is in July and I said, hey look what I found and he he was remarkably philosophical about it. He said, you know, I always wondered

21:35 How do you say this is really interesting and then he went to his mother. Okay. This is in the late 60s. So he's 60-something years old and she is 80 something and he's at know she went to him cuz she got wind that. I was sniffing around the family tree. Look at me all digging up the bones and so she suddenly confide in her son who is in his sixties and she's in her eighties. Oh, by the way, you were conceived out of wedlock and my dad thought it was the funniest damn thing because all this time and then brings him this little special secret by that time. It was like, okay, but you for her it was a big deal, and she she told she told him before I did but I already had to know that

22:29 So that was their story and then there was this big Society wedding that they went through and I saw the news clippings that said they were going to Oregon for business opportunities. Now, they weren't they were going to Oregon to get her out of you so she could be pregnant with nobody seeing it in the Bay Area that they knew and you know, he went to Oregon City and work in a lumber yard and that's where my dad was born and then at a suitable interval they came back and I don't know when they got divorced. I've never seen that but I think was pretty early because I have a memory when I was a little kid and we were in San Francisco and my grandfather and grandmother both were in our house and you could have cut the tension with a knife and this was in the late 50s. So we were talking fifty years after the event.

23:22 And my grandmother and grandfather just encountered each other in the hallway and there was a hello George. Hello it is that was it but it was like even as a little kid on you shut up. Just let this go by big dinosaurs are clashing here and it was nothing with nobody else, but it was just so she did Grandma my grandma did really well. I mean she had like four husbands and they I think they they died and she divorced them and she ended up taking their money as she went along. She didn't she would live in quite nicely when she was in her old age. And that reminds I'm going to tell you the story about her cuz she was really the only grandparent. I knew I mean we would visit edgy that was Georgia's nickname in Lafayette. They had a house up on the hill still there. I think but if to me it was like we had to go out in the jungle to find their place cuz first of all you had to cross a bridge over

24:22 And then we went through a tunnel and it was the Caldecott Tunnel which now is as big modern thing with lots of traffic but this in the old days that had the little lights and so is like dots of Lights overhead and it was very spooky and then we go out a nose brushing Country Inn and then see my grandfather and he's like no hacking and slashing with a machete and he didn't have much to do with me cuz I went a little kid. I mean what he didn't know little kids. So am I dad would talk with him and he had a wife named known he was in a wheelchair and she was weird. And anyway, that's all I remember them. But but my grandmother and I were really close and I would go spend the weekend with her with her when I was little all the way through grade school, you know going to Grandma's a couple times a year or more was really fun and there was a set of toys that were just at her house, right? And so it was totally special Gentiles Oriental Rugs with all kinds of patterns. I use the train tracks and

25:22 You know is I played by myself and we go to the zoo and do all sorts of special stuff. Anyway fast forward to 1975 and suddenly I'm home from working the park service for the winter and I'm going to go into my next summer job in Idaho and she was she had some problems and so she was in a wheelchair and I went down to the home where she was living in wielder around we have the best chat cuz I was like one of those moments I still remember cuz we're laughing and talking about stuff. It was just fun, you know and within 3 days she had a big stroke and they said well, she can't talk and you know, they're just got to waiting. So I so I had to leave for the summer job and I came in to see her. She's in the bed people standing around her. She's just silent and and I walked Walked up and I said, I've got to go do my job grandma. And so I called her Nan.

26:17 And as I was walking out

26:22 She said

26:24 Goodbye, Jack and nobody thought she could talk but she said that.

26:32 Can I still do?

26:35 Moment they won't ever forget.

26:39 Anyway didn't expect to go there with it. But it was you know, she was she was my most important grandparents because my my wife's my mom's folks were dead by then who Leonardo's died in the mid-20s had a stroke in a brace brace brace has no temper screaming yelling was his way of operating and then Grandma novice went back to Nicaragua cuz she had cancer and she died there and that was ten years before I was born. So I you know all I knew about my Nicaraguan Grandma was at my mom did a rosary for her.

27:19 Everyday

27:21 The week anyway, very frequently.

27:24 What was there every the rosary is a string of beads that the Catholics have in and there's like five beads for Hail Marys and then our father bade and and then you repeat. I don't know how many times it repeats but so she did a little prayer and she would need vacuuming and saying the rosary so, you know, you couldn't talk to her. She's busy talking to herself. Sometimes I would use that to Poker, you know, anyway, so she and Mike and Grandma clashed lot cuz my man was she was racist. I mean one time a cousin of my mom's came through he was on his way to be the Nicaraguan ambassador to Japan.

28:10 And his wife was with him and she was half Spanish and half Japanese and she was stunningly beautiful just really gorgeous woman. We all went out to dinner.

28:21 And I know that this is my grandma has had a couple of cataract surgery by then and claims to not be able to see anyting starts noticing little details about this woman Asian DJ in real life from the blind woman. Everybody's a mixed bag from the time they grew up in there it is. So you said your mom was a lot to deal with and you wanted to get out your dad would kind of remove himself close the timer or you're just you're close to me.

29:00 I wish I was actually as I became a teenager, I was less closed at both of them cuz I was in Rebellion mode sure.

29:10 And here's a story that says there was a summer, you know, this is nuts suburbs where there's no sidewalks and walking on the street is a little dangerous cuz there's no place for people to walk really and I was bored and so I called a friend of mine is that you want to get together and hang out cuz 14 15 years old. And so I asked my mom I want to go over to Lee's house and she said no, I don't like his mother.

29:35 I'm not asking you to go see his mother and so I got pissed and I turned around and stopped down the hall at you unreasonable bitch, and I said it not too loud, but loud enough, you know, it was it like a test. Okay. Let's see what she does with it. And she said that what you say to me and you all right.

30:01 I know I've got just I got a choice here. And so I finally I said I told her the truth I said I said you were an unreasonable deck for the rest of the day. So I had to spend time in purgatory. Just hanging out at home with my brain draining after my hair cuz I was bored as hell and dad got home and I ran out and first I never ran out to greet him. So he's like what is he doing here? He's getting out of the car from the commute. And I said well something happened to Danny said what I said, well, I called Mom and unreasonable bitch and I can see across his face Kyle. There was there was this this recognition that shit the kids right can't say that you thought for just a minute and said well, that wasn't very nice was it I said no. Well, don't do it again. Okay, Mom and Dad.

31:01 Patriarch to deal with he dealt with it. I was you know, my sin has been forgiven and and Ron told me later that Dad had the same speech with him on one of their classes and at that time he said to run you just have another year just keep a lid on it with her about that till later when I was talking to Ron about growing up with Mom and we have very little in common really cuz he was 14 years older than me but being her son. We haven't got everything. I am battles same should have slightly different venues, so

31:44 So I guess what so you mean you were closer to parents in that regard that they were just parents or I mean you seemed like you had a really close relationship with them and I'm just trying to figure out why that was supposed to like your mom or your dad. Well in some ways I was close. I mean in college I got confused about what the hell I want to do when I grew up and I finally just like Mom said she could tell something was wrong should come on, you know, and we had this moment just before dinner where I just grabbed them both and cried cuz I didn't know what the hell I wanted to do with my life and they didn't know what to do about it, either. They just for a hung on and said, it'll be okay. I have to work it out on my own obviously, but do we have moments like that? And then we had other times when they're really proud of what I was doing and that was nice but then haddock they had a kid in the house for 32 years Kyle.

32:41 You know from 1937 until 1969 there was a kid in there and now I'm on mom was freaking out the last month. I was home before I went off to college. She was she was starting to eat chewy yelling at me one time about how kids need to respect their parents cuz we had read something about it a demonstration somewhere were anti-war people were, you know doing stuff in and I was like, I'm just here eating. I don't know. I think I'll just shut the fuck up bitch. I don't think I can contribute to this just realizing that I was leaving in life was going to change big time for them. So, I mean we had that I was always her son and she was my mom and and I felt really bad when she died and when my dad died 2, you know, and I think of them all the time. All the time that you didn't love him by any means, it's just I know it would that story that you had a man.

33:41 Really really cherishable moment for you. She was a very special Grandma for Ron to the both of us have because she she had the time to just devote to us and do stuff with us. And I that's why I feel really bad about kiwi that I'm not closer to see her more than once a year and lately because of this damn virus seven seen her at all in 20, and that that just eats at me cuz I was nothing I can do about it and and we're distance for each of our own reasons. And I you know, she's really special to me. But of course it's weird for me to think about it because I don't I didn't really have any grandparents somewhere close. I mean, yeah, cuz your dad was the last one to pass and then and that what I was like eight or nine. Yeah, right and then Mom side isn't too close with her parents and so they were there. I was just that old people you go visit.

34:41 Nothing. I just say I don't know it's cool that you had that with Nat and have that nice close relationship with her just now, you know, we passed your first question cuz we're almost out of time is you have the memory of Dan and in a very charitable moment. How do you remember how warm she was with you in the support that she gave you? How do you want to be remembered?

35:20 I don't know. I hope I hope I've given you boys what you needed to get started.

35:29 And keep going.

35:31 You know and didn't contribute to making it harder than it needed to be.

35:36 That's kind of a trick of being a parent in that's giving direction and not getting in the way and knowing when to get out of the way and that's really hard. There's no there's no manual.

35:49 And I like the that the three of us get together with kiwi sometimes on the zoom cuz that's what we can do right now. And I know I'm just so extra in your life cuz you got other things gone. So I just you know, it's funny. We have this relationship built on the first 18 years.

36:12 And the rest that's that's one era and then everything else is really different because it's remote and far away and there and I just those but those early memories are really important. So I just hope that that I did right by you guys. It's all well you have okay.

36:38 If you could give some parting wisdom to us.

36:43 Me. Yeah, let's see things. You've learned that you need to hold dear that you want us to know. Well, I like humor. I think that's really important for living and there's a guy named Leo buscaglia who is the love doctor. He died, but he said he did so so why no one time and ask him what the secret to life was? No way. No said keep your mind full in your bowels empty.

37:13 Because most people travel the other way.

37:19 And the other one was a fortune cookie. I got that said use your gifts wisely and they will be enlarged.

37:28 And I thought and I like the double entendre for one thing and it just sort of like yeah, there you go. So I think

37:38 Life is simpler than you think sometimes.

37:41 And we have these great brands that are wonderful for analyzing the trip to the moon but not so good for figuring ourselves out. Sometimes relaxed like a monkey run and

37:53 Keep your mind full and your bowels empty good way to end it and also want to say I love you very much. I love you too, honey. Thanks for doing this with me.

38:08 We only got a tip of it. So call anytime.