Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thank You Dad.....


 My sweet wonderful Dad passed away 5 years ago but he still surprises and delights me.  He left me, literally, about 14 boxes of assorted papers and pictures.  The assorted papers cover everything from his military service to warranties on a screw drivers.  He was always interested in genealogy but Ancestry.com hadn't been invented yet and old time research without the Internet was time consuming.  A few of the boxes he made a special effort to hide, squirreled them away in the crawl space of my parents' home so my mom wouldn't throw them away. These boxes had all the old photos in them.

Many of the photos don't have any markings or notations on them.  I went through one box of interesting photos but they were all unmarked.  But just for the hell of it, I made a quick pass through the box one more time.  And then I found it......an old photo which says in my dad's handwriting...."Ma's Ma and her brother Casimer."  There's also a Lithuanian hand written note which Google Translator basically translates as:  Mama sends greetings.

And so...Ursule...my great grandmother and I ....meet.

I was jumping around like a cat with a bunch of hot fleas when I discovered the notation....doing that happy little dance that means you found something extraordinary.  I believe I also gave out the "Genealogy Whoop," that special cry of joy when you find a family link. What luck....how I wish I could hug my dad for that simple little inscription he left me which I can verify in the very faded Lithuanian text.

My great grandmother.  I've been staring at her on my home screen for a full day now.  She quite a woman....dressed in that rabbit fur coat (my hub reminded me that Ursule means bear but I don't think that's a bear pelt). She's wide....real wide.....with enough bulk to stop a truck.  And that babuska!   Wow....no small dainty thing for great grandma...that's one sizable scarf.

But she has a good smile....and looks rock steady.....actually she looks very North African Berber to me....my hub says she looks Indian...as in American Indian (who came from Siberian-Mongolian-Euro Asia stock).

She looks strong.....tough....but that smile makes her look generous not mean. I immediately liked her.  She looks like someone I'd love to know and talk to.....

Ursule...Ursule.....so nice to meet you.....I am your great grand daughter.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I wish I could sing....I wish I could draw.....but I guess I'll have to be happy painting furniture.....




When my daughter returned home for a visit last fall, she was hoping to find a new desk chair ...something sturdy, solid hardwood....and snazzy.  We didn't find anything...but we passed a  garage sale and spied this chair with good lines but an awful color.  

Besides the shocking pink color, the chair had a broken stinky cushion that was orange and pink and shades of disgusting plus a broken side rail.

Finally refinished the chair after Hub fixed the leg and cut out a new seat.

I like painting furniture.....but you have to be real patient..... which  is very hard for me.

Sand, prime.....let dry....sand, prime....let dry.....sand...paint ...dry...sand ....etc etc......on and on till the finish is hard and perfect.  

On top of ordinary patience, I need geographic patience as the humidity in the south right now makes drying times drag on forever.  And if it ain't dry....you can't move on to the next step.

It's not a Renoir...but I think it turned out pretty nice. 

Sometimes you have to be grateful for small artistic skills.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

My illogical DNA test



Tomorrow morning, I'm mailing my DNA test into a "Family Finder" company. I sent in both my parents' DNA before they died so there's really no need to send a sample from me. All the DNA the company will need to find matches is already sitting in their freezers because I'm the daughter of my parents. 

I think.

It's illogical for me to think I'm not the daughter of my parents. I've seen my hospital birth certificate.  I believe I have a picture of my mom pregnant.  She was a a thin woman so it's hard to tell if there's a bump under her blouse or just a draft upwards from a breeze.

My husband tells me I look just like my mother and some people tell me I look just like my father. I am not a blonde living in a family of swarthy people. I am a blonde living among other shades of blondes with various shades of blue eyes. I have a solo picture of myself at birth and pictures of myself as a toddler among my family. My mother's good friend, Marge, who has also passed away, told me several times the story of my first visit to her home as a baby--wrapped up like a "little pea in a pod of blankets." 

 So despite evidence and documents and stories....there is a small part of me which wonders if I'm adopted....because my mother told me I was adopted.

In the five years since my parents both passed away, I've started some genealogy work on the family and I've rediscovered and contacted some first cousins and cousins. My mother always made it difficult, if not impossible, for me to communicate with them when I got older.  I never understood why my mother didn't want me to communicate with them.  After I discovered my mother had manipulated her birth certificate and was 5 years older than what she told people (including the DMV), I thought the reason she kept me away from family was because some of these relatives would remember my mother's real age.  The age thing might be a part of the puzzle, but I also discovered or validated that my mother had some psychological problems.  

I've always wondered....worried...that the strange behavior I saw in my mother was just my perception of her and her actions.  But in talking to my first cousin, she described my mother's behavior towards me and my father and I knew for the first time....it wasn't me...it was her.

This was both a liberating and painful concept to discover.  It answered so many questions.....it provided a reason for so many things in my life....but it still hurt.  In a particular disorder, one I believe my mother had, it's not uncommon for a person to tell outrageous lies to people, especially to someone gullible like a child, and then be shocked that the child didn't understand it was a joke or a tall-tale. In essence, the shame is not placed on the trusted adult who told the story but gets turned back on to the child for being gullible enough to believe it.

That's exactly what happened to me.

When I was little my mother told me several times that I was adopted.  She had this elaborate story of how she and my father went to the orphanage and how my mother picked me out whereas my father picked a red-headed boy.  My mother, of course, won the selection and I came home.  My mother also told me dramatic pregnancy stories...how difficult her labor was....how long...how she suffered.   But as a child, I did not understand biology well enough to know that the orphanage story was wrong and the doctor sitting on her belly story was right.  Eventually....I figured out I wasn't adopted.

Which never erased the tiny doubt that I was......

So although I agree....it's absolutely illogical......it's not necessary....its batty......I am sending in my DNA tomorrow and in a month I should discover my mother is my mother.

I know of no other way....to erase a very old lie.