However when the civil war broke out in 1936 he was forced to leave Spain as he was considered an enemy of the Franco-led fascist forces since most of his friends and acquaintances were opposed to Franco. He fled to Portugal for a time and when he tried to return in 1944 he died of a heart attack in transit. My father was 10 years old at the time.
My Spanish Belgian-born grandmother died of ovarian cancer in 1968 when I was 6 which was 3 years before we left for Canada. She had been a conservatory trained pianist and singer and, her father, an executive at the Spanish Osborne distillery company.
I learned much of these details over the years and would sometimes wonder how different their lives would have been from mine; how each era shapes our societies and in turn the individuals that live in them.