Monday, April 8, 2013

The Family Fig Tree


My great, great grandfather immigrated to this country in 1879 and at some point before 1900 he traveled back to Austria to bring his father, James Biskupovic, to America.

One of the things James brought with him was a cutting from a fig tree growing in his yard on the Isle of Brac (which is now part of Croatia.) 
They lived in Pensacola, Florida and James planted the tree in his new yard.

Cuttings were taken from that tree and passed from generation to generation.

My great aunt Shiela became keeper of the family fig and when she and Uncle Nick moved to Gulf Breeze, she brought cuttings from the tree with her.

It thrived there for many years and Aunt Shiela shared with several of our family members.

After Aunt Shiela died, my Uncle Nick gave the tree to my cousin Teresa.

Teresa has taken her role as Keeper of the Family Fig seriously and has potted and shared numerous cuttings with the rest of us.

The tree is getting old now and not looking so good but she’s got lots of cuttings potted so the tree can continue on.


According to Teresa, the tree is looking a little better now than when my Dad took this picture for me. 

I am so fascinated with this tree. It’s a Lemon Fig, which isn’t near as sweet or tasty as the Brown Turkey, but the fact that this tree was brought to America by my great, great, great grandfather in the late 1800s makes it so special.

To think that the baby fig ready to be planted in my yard


Shares the same DNA as that first tree, brought here as a reminder of home, is incredible.

And interestingly, I have cousins who have figs from our family tree in their yards, which are scattered  across the US.

This is one family heirloom that really is priceless.




An Interesting Side Note:
I did not spell my Aunt’s name wrong. My great grandmother saw the name misspelled on a playbill and liked it. So when Aunt Shiela was born Mum-Mum spelled her name like that.  I’ve heard that Aunt Shiela wasn’t so fond of the misspelling. 
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