Sunday, December 25, 2005

A time to learn

Christmas is historically known as the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the son of God, and savior of humanity. Christmas is more commonly known as the time to make our economy not seem like it's in the shitter. Also, it is the way to show how you truly valuable people, because more care=more expensive gift.

This Christmas has turned out to be more than just the exchanging of gifts. Oh, I know what you're thinking, but this isn't some happy horse shit "I learned people are good!" or "the spirt of christmas is inside of al of us!" No, no I found out some odd and unkown pieces of my family. And everyone who walked into Christmas walked out with the same sexual orientation so it's not that, either.

My Dad's side of the family literally has about 80 people in it. I wish I was kidding. Among them there are a great number of older folk that I refered to as Uncle and Aunt, like Uncle Michael, Aunt Stella, etc. One day, when I was 14, I made the shocking realization that I had been living a lie. It turns out that my father only has one direct sibling, his sister, my aunt Sue. Other than that, no one else came out of Grandma's womb.

Then who are these people that I consider my aunts and uncles? They were all cousins of varying degrees of seperation, but because of their older age, it seemed more appropriate to give them an uncle or aunt title as a sign of respect. Except that no one told me, the kid who thought his family tree was like a big, equal redwood. I felt betrayed and conspired against, so I ask my grandma and mom to explain themselves. I expected to hear a multitude of apologies, maybe a few tears, and lots of pity hugs. Instead, they laughed in my face and pretty much called me a dummy. The truth hurts sometimes.

This Christmas was just as informative. Apparently, my great grandfater Miller was acutally named Muller with the two little dot things over the o, and was incredibly German. Grandma has refused to admit it for years, fearing that she would be pegged as a nazi, completely forgetting that her family could have been persecuted by those Nazis. What a silly goose! My mom and I also believe that my Dad's side was Jewish at one point - the pieces all fall into place. Ironically, I got Schindler's List from my Grandma.

She insists that my heritage isn't a big deal, that I'm an American and that's that. That's all well and good, but nationalities were a very important thing when learning about other countries. In elementary school one year, we were all told to ask our parents what countries our relatives originally sprang from. For example, the Mazzeis were from the Czech Republic, which did not exist in the pre-1991 world map (the USSR didn't go away in the Park Ridge school system until 1998) and the Rogers who were somehow linked to almost every important American possible. Now I feel like a liar, putting down only Poland and Ireland, not knowing that I was cheating people of knowing about my 1//8th German heritage. Also, it kills my tried-and-true line of "I'm Polish and Irish - a dumb drunk." I'm more pissed about losing the line than being lied to.

Finally, I learned that my great grandmother on my mom's side's maiden name was Booth, and that the name John Wilkes was barred from the house. Therefore, it's conceivable that I descend from the man that killed Lincoln. My mom believes that is where my origins for participating in film and theatre come from. Personally, I believe it's because I'm an only child and the only way that I could keep myself entertained was to make a 3 hour G.I. Joe battle in my basement. This also explains why I'm shitty at Halo except with a pistol when someone's back is turned to me (stovepipe hat need not apply).

So, I could possibly be a President-killing Nazi. Joe Lieberman, I think I hate you now.


the ardist said...

Sounds wonderful. It's a shame the dumb drunk line no longer applies.

Your christmass sounded reasonably OK. My christmass mainly consisted of making fun of Bill Maas and Rex Grossman. :P

Anonymous said...

anton- i love reading your writings. wish i was that good, i should show you some stuff i wrote but for now i will just comment on this- yes i learned a lot about my family actually two christmas's ago. I am half czech and half italian. but now that czechoslovakia is two parts (the czech part and the slavic part), people always ask me "OOH SO LIKE WHAT SIDE ARE YOU???" and to be honest i am not sure. i presume i am the czech side. but yes, 2 christmas's ago I learned about my italian background as well. I learned that Phillip Mazzei was the neighboor of Thomas Jefferson, and that he wrote most of the Declaration of Independence, but was in Italy during the signing of it. The government gave me family stamps of this Patrion, and all along i had no idea Mazzei was even an important name. but thank you for letting me share this with you, and keep on writing, bc we'll be reading. : ) -Carolynn

Anonymous said...

i definitely just used the word "patrion" to talk about Phillip Mazzei. There is no such thing. A "patron" is a person chosen as a special guardian or supporter. I meant say Patriot. but you probably figured that out. Nonetheless, I think I will use my new made up word Patrion, as much as i possibly can.

partha said...