Friday, March 17, 2000

AVS notes: Nancy Walsh Estomba

I taught poetry today in Peggy Maddock's 3rd grade class at Alexander Valley School and one of the mothers brought in some treats. Green cookies, and green punch. It was St. Patrick's Day, after all. I introduced Neil to them and Nancy Estomba said her maiden name was Walsh…

I jokingly said, Oh, we're probably related, not thinking it was true. Where from? I asked. Cork, she said but she didn't know what town.

So I asked her her grandfather's name. And she answered, Bill. He came to San Francisco and had a ranch in Nevada. The hairs on my arms stood up. You mean Wild Bill of Home Ranch? I said. She said, Yes.

Oh my God we are really related, we're second cousins! I yelled, hugging her. She did look related. And I told her stories of her grandfather, and of Wild Bill, the ranch, and the name of the Irish town her family was from. All in a day's work.

Which meant, my favorite 3rd grade poet in the class, Samantha Estomba was really my cousin. The news spread through the school like wildfire. Kids looked at me with new eyes. Not a stranger to the valley, but one of their own.