When I was just a little girl I used to ask my mother about our family history; actually I was curious to know only about her father and his people, who were Native American, and Granny’s people who were originally from the Emerald Isle of Ireland. Although my paternal history was never taboo, Mama never seemed to want to talk about the native side of our family. “We are Caucasian! We are not indian!” she would say. In short, until she became much, much older, it appeared that she was ashamed of her father.
But I don’t think she was. She loved her daddy. I just think that she ran into that sort of bias when she was young and merely didn’t want to ever deal with it again. I eventually learned that, back in the day, prejudice ran as rampantly toward the red man as the black.
I was able to finagle stories from Granny about my grandfather but, funnily enough, not too many about her family history. Oh, I got stories from most of my aunts and uncles (there were six) but nothing that could create a timeline, you know?
Family means a lot to me. If you ponder all the people in your family, you can recognize certain familial traits that are passed from one to another, but if you are like most people you will always notice one or two cousins, aunts or uncles…or even yourself…who just don’t seem to “fit the mold”.
So just where did, say, great aunt Aunt Susie get her daydreaming qualities from a family who were so serious that none of them would know a fantasy if it sucked them into a painting. And how did Uncle Stuart wind up as a person who was as mean as a striped snake when nearly all of his family were the greatest of philanthropists?
For that matter, in my case, how did I wind up wanting nothing more than to paint, draw, sing and write my entire life when everyone else in my family went on to go to college (straight out of school) and make careers in business? I mean, I did go to college, even got a degree in accounting, of all things…but only so I would be able to understand my own finances when I make truckloads money writing my first book!
The more you can trace your family, not only the names and where they lived, but information on their characters, careers and day to day activities, then the better able you are to understand the “Who” of you.
Past, present and future? That’s history.
Body, mind, spirit? That’s pretty much all genetic.