Maria Lima celebrated her 96th birthday recently with five generations of her family; the youngest was her great-great-granddaughter Keira Uribe, who was born just 2 months ago.
"Keira seemed very interested in her great-great-grandmother, and my mother held her and was goo-gooing at her," said Liz Davidson, the second youngest of Maria's 10 children.
Maria, her husband John and their children immigrated to the United States in 1960 from the island of Faial in the Azores. They settled in Pleasanton where John had a job waiting as a carpenter at the Pleasanton Cabinet Shop, owned by Swiss friends Conrad Rickenbach and Frank Auf der Maur
"I was 9," Davidson recalled. "The youngest was 6."
The oldest, Joe Lima, was 22 and is now 75. It was his son David Lima who was the first grandson, and David's daughter Kristine Uribe who was the first great-granddaughter. Her daughter Keira is the first great-great-granddaughter, for a total of five generations.
The Lima family first lived in a home on Angela Street, Davidson said, then moved to Railroad, then Division. The children attended Pleasanton Grammar School and Amador Valley High.
"When we went to elementary school in Pleasanton, we were the only Portuguese children," Davison remembered. "Others came after us that had children our age."
In 1969, Maria and John moved to a home off Valley Avenue, where Maria still lives although John died in 1983.
"She comes from real hardy genes. She has longevity on her side," Davison said. "My mother is the oldest in a family of six and they are all over 80 now. Only one has passed away, at 90."
Maria's siblings immigrated after she did, and they live in Northern California as do their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Davidson noted that her mother's childhood was interesting in part because she helped her father, a farmer, deal with the outside world, since he could neither hear nor speak.
"Mother, being the oldest, when a young child would go with him to communicate. All his children understood him. They had signs for different people, friends or neighbors, their own homemade sign language," Davidson said. "The amazing thing to me was he and his wife were able to connect, court and then get married."
Although, she pointed out, the island was small so they knew each other growing up.
"He was a great dancer," she added. "He sensed the music with his feet."
Although Maria has some paralysis due to a stroke, Davidson said, her mother's mind is sharp and she is able to do many things -- such as hold her 2-month-old great-great-granddaughter.