Dear Grandma,

March 7, 2008 at 10:44 pm (death, family, genealogy) (, , , )

I remember the dry, hot summers in Logan in front of the green house.  Devin  and I would play with the sprinklers on the sidewalks.  The water would evaporate almost instantly on the concrete and give off this smell that to this day still reminds me of visiting you and grandpa.

I remember the plastic dolls and lincoln logs that I would line up in rows on the lazy-susan on the dinner table.  Later I learned that my dad and all his siblings before him played with the very same toys.

I remember the hilarious contraption that grandpa built, with the standing iron frame with the inner-tube around it, that all the cousins used as a quasi-trampoline.  Devin would get so mad when I bounced him too high.  We were the youngest cousins, and I still can’t believe it is still in business.

I remember the marbles and books and comics and card games and peanut brittle that were involved in almost every family gathering, and wishing I was old enough to stay up late to play Pinochle.

I remember rocking in the armchair next to grandpa while he watched a baseball game, and the next moment hearing his loud snore.  You were in the kitchen making another batch of homemade bread.  It was the fluffiest bread I have ever had, and with butter it was absolute heaven.  That was my favorite thing about visiting.  I always got to eat grandma’s bread.

I remember squeaky cheese and tic-tacs and Nips.

I remember the Olay lotion you used to keep your hands soft.

I remember your reaction to my jazz cd.  You loved Ella Fitzgerald when she sang the old standards, but didn’t like the mumbo-jumbo of the scat songs.

You gave me a wonderful dad, taught me an old gal can change, helped me learn Screwie Louie, and tried to get me to eat beets.  But most of all, you were simply my grandma.

I love you and I will miss you.

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Long Lost Cousin Marrying Best Friend

February 28, 2008 at 9:34 pm (family, genealogy) (, , , , )

I have a pretty weird last name.  It’s Swiss-German.  Very few people have the exact same spelling, and the few that do probably came from the same ancestors as I do.

My friend Maggie decided to join Peace Corps a year ago, got shipped off to Romania, and almost immediately found the man of her dreams.  So romantic.  (blechh)

Just like any newly-engaged couple, they are learning more about each others families.  Well, it just so happens that his mother has the EXACT same last name and is from the same area as my parents’ families.  Random.  Maggie emailed me as soon as she found out, and wondered if we might be related.

During our next few emails of crazy information-exchange, we discovered that my dad and Maggie’s fiance have the EXACT same genealogy book about our surname.  I immediately called my dad and had him look up their family in the book (published about 15 years ago), and guess what? … we are fourth cousins!  Our great-great grandfathers had the same dad.

I cannot get over how crazy this is, that my best friend from LA went all the way across the world to meet my distant cousin I didn’t know.  I’m so excited to meet him and the rest of the clan.  Not only do I get to connect with a totally different part of my (huge) extended family: after the wedding my friend will become my cousin!

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Parallel Pancake Sisters

February 19, 2008 at 8:29 pm (family) (, )

 Pao is my Brazilian twin, separated at birth. A couple years ago I met her at our favorite Westside bar: The Daily Pint. This place is great, beers galore, tons of whiskey, pool tables, shuffleboard, etc. I was ordering drinks from my favorite bartender (Robin) when a girl flung herself across the bar right next to me and yelled “Robin, I need a SHOT! It was my birthday YESTERDAY!” I just looked over, amazed, and said “I would’ve said the exact same thing! Robin, I got that shot.” My long-lost sister said she loved me and from that day on we spent every day together for 6 months. Neither of us had a sister, and we instantly called each other twins.

Our energy was crazy, people would just stare at us, it was this nutty magnetic bing bong bang, laughing & shouting inside jokes and nonsense words. A different language that even her husband couldn’t understand sometimes. Talking about pancakes, speaking Slavic, and giggling for hours over the correct pronunciation of “Auuuu!” We would have almost identical things happen to us, simultaneously. Like we were mirror images of each other, leading parallel lives.

We do have our differences: Pao is the sensible one, teacher, works hard, plays hard, married young, has 2 cute little pups; I was the single trouble-maker, the drunk chick, the spontaneous scooter girl, work when I needed money, partied the rest of the time.

Then in April, 2007 I got a normal job. And a boyfriend.

In a year our friendship has deteriorated. She doesn’t really like my boyfriend, but she can’t give me a good reason why. I no longer get daily texts or calls from her. I have to call a week or so in advance to spend time with her, like I need an appointment.

In an email last week I told her I miss her and I’m concerned that something is seriously wrong in our relationship. I want to fix it, if it can be fixed. Then I had this horrible thought that maybe we have outgrown each other. This scares the shit out of me. My mom suggested that it’s a big change from when we met: now we have busier lives and schedules, so it’s a natural change.  I want it to be the way it was before… probably not possible, but at least to go back to how deeply connected we were.

She got me in a way no one ever has, a mind-reader, my sister, my best friend. I don’t know what to do to save our friendship, but I’m not letting her go without a fight.

cop car/taxi?

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