Maria Granados Rey
(name at birth following the Spanish
Maria Granados was born on September 1, 1909 in Seville,
Spain. She came to America at the age of two with her
Mother, Maria Concepcion, brother Luis, and sisters
Rose and Connie.
died peacefully in the early morning hours of June 19,
2003 at her second home in Deale Beach, MD, at the age
MARIA GRANADOS (1909-2003)
Memories of Mom
was born on September 1, 1909, in Seville, Spain. She
came to America at the age of two with her mother, brother
Luis, and sisters Rose and Connie. She died peacefully
in the early morning hours of June 19, 2003, at her
second home in Deale Beach, Maryland, at the age of
February 1918 when she was nine years old, she moved
to Riverdale, Maryland, with her parents and siblings
. Mother lived in Riverdale until her late 80s when
she found it necessary to move to the Deale Beach house
because it had no stairs.
remembered attending third grade at the little red schoolhouse
next to the Calvert Mansion in Riverdale. Some days
were so cold that she and the other children went down
to the furnace room and huddled around the stove. When
the great flu epidemic struck in 1918 many people died,
including her third-grade teacher.
future husband, Charles Howard Koch, also lived in Riverdale
with his family. Charles sister, Gladys, and Mother
were classmates. Because he was a year older, she was
well aware of his existence. Their relationship did
not blossom until 1928. About that time they began to
drive to work together in Washington, D.C. in Charlies
car. On weekends he played banjo in a small band and
she accompanied him to the dance halls along the Chesapeake
Bay and the surrounding area to hear his band play and
to dance. She married Charlie on January 21, 1930.
Mom and Dad married, her parents approved but some of
her family members did not because Dad was Protestant.
Their oldest children, Clara and Carl, were staying
in their grandfathers home in Riverdale while
Mother was in the hospital giving birth to Barbara.
While she was in the hospital, her father died and Clara
and Carl were returned to their home on Charlotte Avenue
in the care of Aunt Beano. They were never again welcomed
to visit their grandfathers house. In fact, Mothers
name was not included in her fathers obituary
(Evening Star, June 23, 1937). The same omission occurred
in her brother Luis obituary in 1992. About a
year before she died it was suggested that she might
like to make contact with the church. With fiery eyes,
her answer was a resounding "NO".
and Clara had four children: Clara, a retired comptroller/business
woman in Bradenton, Florida; Carl, a retired university
professor in Annapolis, Maryland; Barbara, a private
piano teacher and faculty wife in Lincoln, Nebraska;
and Charles, a law professor at the College of William
and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
they first married, Mother and Dad rented a house in
Riverdale. When she became pregnant with Clara, Mom
stopped working, giving her additional time to spend
with her own mother. They would usually visit at lunchtime
but on one rare occasion the two of them went to downtown
Washington to buy baby clothes and see a movie. Mother
and some of her siblings tried to accumulate enough
money to send their mother to visit her former home
in Spain. It bothered our Mom for the rest of her life
that the dream of sending Abuela to Spain
was never fulfilled.
that year, Mom and Dad moved to 6120 58th Avenue (formally
Charlotte Avenue) in Riverdale Heights to a house just
a few doors away from Charlies brother, Will.
Moms brother and wife, Ramon and Kitty, moved
to a house nearby on Quintana Street. Her brothers and
sister, Johnny, Beano and Tony, would often visit when
in the area. Roses daughters, Dolores [Hagerty]
and Shirley, spent the night there in a pinch as did
Lolas daughters, Dolores and Donna.
Heights was an unincorporated town and the volunteer
fire department was the center of civic activity. Ramon
was the Chief; Charlie was usually the Assistant Chief.
He also taught courses in fire fighting, first aid and
civil defense. Mother belonged to the ladies auxiliary
and helped with social functions. A photo of the annual
dinner of the Riverdale Heights Volunteer Fire Department
for 1945 showed five of the ten first-generation Granados
siblings in attendance. They were: Ramon and Kitty,
Clara and Charles, Connie and Arthur, Beano, and Tony
in his Marine Corps uniform.
and Dad had many friends in Riverdale Heights. They
frequently played cards and had coffee gatherings. They
always had a vegetable garden and raised chickens for
eggs. We loved the fresh eggs but when a hen stopped
laying, it became Sunday dinner. Mom also regularly
made jelly from the available fruit. Once she started
to crochet a dress for Barbara. A problem arose because
Barbara grew faster than Mom could crochet. When Mom
did catch up, the dress had a very long skirt.
house had one big grate in the center for heat. Coal
would be delivered to the basement through a window.
Barbara remembers that on cold mornings while Dad was
dressing for work, Mom would go to the basement in order
to stoke the furnace . There were only two bedrooms
in the house so the four children slept together in
one of them. Dad finally built a small bedroom in the
attic for Carl.
When Dad was gone in the evening, Mother and the children
would gather around the radio for Lux Radio Theater,
the Judy Canova Show, and other popular programs. Occasionally
Carl would be sent to Patricks Drugstore for candy.
Mothers favorites seemed to be Baby Ruth and Butterfinger.
There was a frequently used wind-up Victrola and records
in the home. Mother was also fond of Taylors
ham and sometimes fried bananas for herself after everyone
else was in bed.
1948 they moved to 4711 Ravenswood Rd. in Riverdale
in a house formerly owned by Charlies sister,
Helen. They were not involved in the fire department
there nor did they develop the strong lifelong relationships
with neighbors as they had in Riverdale Heights. Perhaps
the relationships forged during a depression and a war
were not easily duplicated under normal circumstances.
the children matured and left home one by one, Mother
returned to the work force; first, at the Highs
Store [a 5 and Dime] in downtown Hyattsville. When Prince
Georges Plaza opened she took a job at the hosiery counter
in Hechts Department Store. This placed her in
sight of the entrance and she was able to visit with
old friends and relatives. She loved that. During these
twenty years, we suspect that she knew everything that
was happening in the northern half of Prince Georges
County. She often walked to work (a long walk), because
she did not drive.
was very proud of her Charlie. Without a high school
education Dad began his career as a union linotype operator
at a local press and then at the Government Printing
Office but retired as a permanent staff member of the
Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives
. He taught a variety of courses for the University
of Maryland Extension Service and, until his late eighties,
played tennis regularly.
was intensely devoted to Dad, and she thought he could
do anything. They took camping vacations so Dad could
fish. Several of their grandchildren remember camping
with them along the Pocomoke River. Eventually (1964)
they built a cottage at Deale Beach, Maryland, where
they enjoyed their summers crabbing and talking to the
neighbors. Eventually this house became their principal
had beautiful hands and nails and remained surprisingly
young looking. Well into her fifth decade people were
incredulous to find out that she was a grandmother.
She always had that excellent soft and supple Granados
skin. She had sparkling dark brown eyes, a ready smile
and an expressive personality. Mother was a breast cancer
survivor. In 1958 she had a radical mastectomy but no
further problems developed. In later years she suffered
from surgeries to her knees and shoulder.
made wonderful crab cakes and we enjoyed them as often
as possible. Dad had a live-box for soft shell crabs
but we seldom were able to persuade him to share them.
The family loved to meet Dad at the Bay to check the
crab pots and bring in the blue crabs. Mom would wash
them off, steam them, heap them on the table on the
porch and we would eat until we were stuffed. They were
so delectable. One time the crabs got out of the pot
and started running all over the kitchen causing much
screaming and laughter.
her children were gone she began to watch sports intently
Dad. She was a Washington Bullets [now the Washington
Wizards] fan and her favorite players were Kevin Greevy
and Mitch Kupchak. Mother and Dad also watched the Baltimore
Orioles, the Washington Redskins, and the University
of Maryland basketball and football teams.
had little desire to travel since her family and home
were the most important part of her life. They did go
to St. Petersburg Beach, Florida, every winter for about
25 years. Often, they would visit Aunt Rose and her
daughter Dolores Hagerty while there. They traveled
with Clara and her daughter Carol into Canada, down
the West Coast (visiting Claras daughter Ellen
in California) and across the South to home in 1978.
They traveled to Germany with Barbara and her husband,
Ben, in 1987. Dad had an intense desire to go to Germany
and she gamely accompanied him.
Mom died on June 19, 2003, her ashes were scattered
at Dads favorite fishing spot on the Chesapeake
Bay where his ashes had been previously scattered. She
never dreamed of outliving her Charlie but she did,
by nearly 5 years. To her last day, she missed him terribly.
COMMENTS FROM GRANDCHILDREN:
Carol Claeys Hagerman, daughter of Clara Koch Claeys,
writes: I spent a lot of time with my grandmother in
Riverdale and Deale. When I was very young, Grandmother
and I would run up to the railroad tracks in Riverdale
and count the cars as they went by until the end of
the train. This is how I learned to count. We often
walked to Prince Georges Plaza--a very long walk.
remember my Grandmother brushing my hair every night,
counting with every stroke until each tangle was gone.
I also remember her as always encouraging, saying "you
can do anything that you put your mind to." Grandma
made me feel very special and unique when I was with
her and I love her very much.
went to many functions at the Deale Beach Community
Center and attended many bingo games. We rode our bikes
together all around Deale Beach.
liked to tell the story of when we were left in charge
of the soft shell crabs while Grandpa was gone overnight.
We went to check the crabs as instructed. One time while
checking the crabs at night, the flashlight dropped
into the Bay. We could see the light under the water.
I grabbed a net and fished it out. Grandmother wanted
to dry it out so she put it into a warm oven. We then
had a melted flashlight.
Granddaughter Anne Rader (m. Ken Gatter), daughter of
Barbara Koch Rader, says: I remember my grandparents
visiting us in Lincoln, Nebraska, after Granddad retired
in the mid 70s . My fondest memory is of my grandmother
taking me on a long walk to get ice cream at the Baskin
Robbins store. We both loved ice cream!
Steve Rader, Barbaras son, writes: Sometime (in
my pre-teens?) I visited at the Beach Place by myself.
I recall that Grandma Koch would force me to take an
afternoon nap (I thought I was too old) and then she
would treat me to a cold root beer afterwards. I'm not
sure if those naps were for her benefit or mine.
also distinctly remember Grandma once pulling in a stingray
when we all went fishing. I don't think I had ever seen
her get agitated--she was "cool as a cucumber"--but
this stingray caused her to go into absolute hysterics.
She screamed at "Daddy" (Grandpa) to knockout
that stingray before someone got stung. It wasn't even
in the boat. I wonder how many times that scenario played
to that visit, when I was much younger, we went for
a walk in the Beach Place neighborhood. I walked right
into an open sewer ditch! I didn't realize the lush
green on top was a mat of algae. Grandma had me strip
naked, and hosed me down with the harsh cold water from
a garden hose. She thought the whole affair was very
amusing. I think she often retold that story (at least
to me!) in a truly loving way.