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Old 04-28-2014, 02:13 PM   #205
Fiona W
rockin' my 50s!
 
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: from Houston, TX ; now in Washington DC area
Posts: 696

S/C/G: 351/272/130

Height: 5'3"

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Betsy— Silly me that I didn't know you were childfree. It's the same with me: counting both sides of our family (which I definitely do, since Margaret is actually Bob's niece, not mine by blood) Bob and I have 5 nephews and 4 nieces, and something like 4 grand-nephews and 3 grand-nieces. (I say "something like" because there was one baby born to a niece in California whom I know nothing about, since he or she is being raised by the father, whom that niece did not marry.) Other than Gavin, Margaret's son, I don't know my "grands" hardly at all.

There's one grand-niece, Grace, whom I feel quite guilty about, because she lives very close and we get along famously whenever I see her at gatherings of Bob's family, but unfortunately, her key growing-up years have fallen during the worst of Bob's depression and the huge accumulation of paper in our house. So I haven't had the chance to be an great-aunt to her the way I would've liked. It's not too late, though, because she's 13 now. I just recently learned she wants to be a veterinarian, which is so fabulous! So I anticipate having her over immediately after the kittens arrive, if not sooner. In fact, even as I write these words, I'm thinking it might be cool to have her over some Sunday when Margaret and Gavin come over. She's been making collages ever since she was little, but hasn't had much exposure to art training or art. That's what I've really wanted to do with her: show her my studio and take her to art museums in DC & Baltimore.

Something I haven't told y'all, which gives this whole closeness to Bob's family some interesting wrinkles, is that he has two rather unconventional older siblings, both women. The oldest, who is most definitely a hippie from the '60s, has lived (natch) in the San Francisco area all her adult life. She married (now divorced) a congo player who is 3/4 African-American and 1/4 Chinese, so her four children—including her eldest, my beloved Margaret—all have café-au-lait complexions, mixed-race features, frizzy black hair, and just enough Chinese in their eyes to give them lovely almond shapes. (Most people ignorant of racial mixtures think of them as black.) Gavin's father was a light-complected black man, so Gavin has that light-brown complexion and kinky black hair combo himself—a beautiful child.

And then Bob's next younger sister, who was really into Russian literature and the Russian language when she was young, married an Armenian Soviet citizen, in the Soviet Union, in the 1970s—when it was very hard for ordinary Soviets to leave the country, of course. They managed to get him out on the strength of his having an American wife and a baby on the way. That sister is very religious to this day within the Eastern Orthodox Church (the Russian branch of it, not the Greek), and she raised her two kids, both of whom look more or less Armenian, in that faith. However, she and the Armenian fellow got divorced long ago, and...get this: her 2nd, and successful, marriage was to a dark-skinned African-American man, a wonderful guy whom I love dearly.

Even more interestingly, her daughter, who married an Italian-American, recently adopted her (the daughter's) cousin's baby. That cousin, the youngest daughter of Bob's oldest sister, was kidnapped at age 13 and forced into prostitution & drug addiction by an evil pimp, who even had one of her breasts tattooed with his name, like a brand! Yes, there is in fact child sexual slavery in the United States, because it happened in my very own family, in Oakland, California!! So her life has been a very sad story. She managed to get the pimp put in jail by testifying against him, but the pimp's gang violently harasses her, her siblings, and Bob's sister—even going so far as to shoot one of them (he lived, but now has post-traumatic stress).

I am so glad my dear Margaret and her son Gavin are safely away from that environment! Margaret, for her part, is amazed at little telling things about Greenbelt, such as the fact that some people walk their dogs at night. She grew up with bullets buzzing around at night, in her very own neightborhood!

The father of the cousin's baby who was adopted was apparently a dark-skinned African-American, because the baby is pretty dark with a wild bush of Afro hair: she's two now, and is a real beauty. So anyway, as you can imagine, when Bob's family—all of whom except the California crew live right in this area—gets together, it's an amazing melting pot of Scottish (Bob's dad—who's dead now, but Bob looks just like him), German (Bob's mom), African-American, Armenian, and Italian genes, with that little dollop of Chinese just to make things extra-interesting. And then me, the only blonde. =laugh= The whole gang gathered recently in a local Thai restaurant (Bob's father grew up in Thailand, a son of Presbyterian missionaries), and the Thai owners and waiters were just delighted with us.

My family, by contrast, is totally white-bread—mixed-background Midwestern & Texan—distinguished only by the fact that my paternal grandmother immigrated to the U.S. as a child from Denmark: her genes give me my naturally blonde hair.

I hope this long tale will encourage you guys to talk about your hereditary backgrounds. I'm just fascinated by the very many mixed flavors there are among people, especially Americans.
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Mini-goal 1: 30 days binge-free —> done 12/21/13 & binge-free now
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Last edited by Fiona W : 04-28-2014 at 02:36 PM.
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