Posts Tagged ‘family’

Possibly the Weirdest Thing to Inherit Ever

September 11, 2010

For how traditional my family is, we’re pretty strange.  And by traditional, I mean we have a lot of traditions.  Which are weird.  For example, we have three Christmas celebrations.  My father is of Austrian, so we celebrate St. Nicholas Day.  In Austria when my great-great-grandparents, Christmas has more emphasis on the part of the word that says MASS, so people wouldn’t open presents on the actual day because they’d be in church all day.  Therefore, my family would do the whole shoe thing every year, and we still do.  The other extra celebration was based on my mother’s Scandinavian heritage.  Santa Lucia day is when the eldest daughter in the family feeds the rest of the family breakfast in bed.  As a youngest child, I didn’t really have any qualms with this.  Another thing we do around Christmas time that’s kind of morbid is we visit the family plot in Oakland to see the graves of my grandfather and brother.  On the way, we stop by Fenton’s, which if doesn’t sound familiar, watch Up.  Now.

That’s only a set of seasonal traditions.  We also have the need for green Jell-O at all “high holy days” and the Chicken Dance at weddings and, the ultimate, LEMON BASEBALL.  I think this one might of started when my mother got her MBA and we had a wicked back-log of lemons from the tree, so we took them down to the local open field and knocked the living tar out of them with baseball bats.  The best part, besides creating a citrus explosion, is everyone who participates comes home smelling lemony fresh.  We do this mostly at large family gatherings, like my sister’s wedding or my brother’s memorial service.  I think of it as a way to make a situation that could be really depressing into a moment of exhilaration and celebration.  We are not celebrating the fact that someone’s dead, but that they lived and affected our lives. At that point, I take a break in mourning and laugh and be joyful that I knew them and that I have to opportunity to continue their legacy.  Believe me, in relation to my brother, my hypothetical kids are going to know who Uncle Willy was.

Which brings me to this weekend.  I just lost my grandmother, and this weekend is the funeral.  My entire family is in town and going through old photos and sorting through my grandmother’s mementos.  If something jumps out to us, it’s ours.  It’s not sacrilegious.  We don’t chose these things because we think it’s worth something, but because it means something to us.  Or because, in my case, I want to keep a certain odd tradition going.

I think my parents were eco-friendly before it was cool.  My mother’s and father’s wedding rings are totally on the current trend of recycled gold in jewelery.  My mother’s ring is made of my both my grandfathers’ dental gold (their fillings), my dad’s old wedding ring and one he found in the Russian River.  Dad’s was just dental gold.  The diamond in Mom’s engagement ring was from my grandmother’s original wedding set.  There was very little eco-impact due to my parents’ wedding rings, and I think it’s a pretty cool idea.  Something close to each of their fathers is in their rings, namely from inside their mouths.  They also brought in objects from places that were important to them, and took an old bond and made it new.

Anyway, we were going through Grandma’s old safe that has her gold bouillon and silver bars, which I lusted over in the hopes that they could pay for part of my Master’s, if that should come up.  The girls were all picking out jewelery, and I found some nice rings and a pocket watch, and then we found it.  It was my grandfather’s bridge and dental fillings and some of his teeth with more fillings.  Well, guess who’s one of the only unmarried girls in the family?  Yeah, it’s me so I got my grandfather’s teeth.  I inherited a dental bridge and I had to hold it in my hand for a minute and I have never been more squicked in my life.  And this is coming from a girl who religiously wears her retainer every night, just for that continually nerdy feeling I get from having metal in my mouth.  Oh, and I want perfect teeth, but that’s just a happy side effect.

I’m glad to keep the tradition going, even if I had to hold my grandfather’s teeth.  Honestly, though, he passed away when I was three years old, so I didn’t get to know him too well.  Even if I look a lot like him and have his smile and apparently act a bit like him, I don’t feel close to him.  I guess if I had something of his close to me at all times, I’d feel like I had a part of him with me, even if it’s his teeth.  Ew.

PICTURES!

That was  fairly discombobulated post, but was fun to right.  Off I go now to eat donuts!  HOTCHAHA!

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Going Backwards to Go Forwards

March 28, 2010

Just to be explicit, I’m not a big fan in general of the beast known as reality television.  I find most of it pretty crass and not that realistic or enjoyable.  Also, the people who often end up on these shows are just seeking attention in any way, shape or form.

However, one show has gotten my attention and admiration, and that is Who Do You Think You Are? I’ve seen only two episodes, the first one with Sarah Jessica Parker and the most recent one with Matthew Broderick, and I have never seen more lovable, enthusiastic information seekers.  I was a fan of both of them before, but now I think they are truly adorable and I respect what they’ve done to find out more about their families.  I got to watch Matthew Broderick explore his military past, which included soldiers from both World Wars and the Civil War.  His look of awe and amazement as he delved into his past really inspired me and was so endearing.  Sarah Jessica Parker was just as cute and as energetic about the experience, and came up with her own awesome discoveries.  Her ancestor was on trial as a witch in Salem and another was part of the Gold Rush in 1850.

Both episodes were fairly entertaining, but I think the most important part is that they’re informative and inspirational.  I think knowing where you come from and family history is extremely important for all people.  First of all, those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, so yeah, kind of important if we don’t want another world war or bloody revolution.  But that’s just me, I could be wrong.  Also, family histories often have some of the best stories and help connect groups of people and keep them together.  I know in my case, I love nothing more than hearing my grandmother talk about my crazy family history.  Let me tell you, my ancestors were crazy and definitely help explain who I am and why I’m this way.  I was very lucky for the fact that my father and uncle are very much into genealogy, so I already have a pretty good idea of who my family is, but there are still things I’d love to learn about them.  It also helps that we have a copy of the family history in our house as well as my great-great-grandfather’s Civil War scrapbook.  Seriously, CIVIL WAR SCRAPBOOK.  He was the last surviving Confederate in Santa Cruz, which is pretty cool.

So yeah, this show is an extended ad for Ancestry.com, but it has a lot of positive aspects and I’m actually really enjoying it, and that’s saying a lot.  Most shows this year on TV are crap, plain and simple.  But yeah, watch it.  Pretty good.