Saturday, August 31, 2013

Identity and the postmen

Mr. RK and I had some interesting discussions today about family members and identity. We both have family with whom we are convinced, as my dad says, we cannot possibly share any DNA. There are people who I consider family in name only, as I'm sure I have more in common, genetically and tempermentally, with a banana.

My family comes from six different places. In literally each place we hail from, we've 1) had to flee for our lives (Switzerland, Germany, Poland), 2) we've been kicked out (Ireland, Scotland), or 3) we decided is was a great idea in our homeland here to declare guerilla war on the white man (that would be the Apache line.)

Mr. RK said, "If you lived in the 1800s, I can see you being kicked out of places, absolutely!"

I've often wondered how to define myself, having lived in so many places that I'm not really "from" anywhere, and being of mixed lineage so that I'm not really this or that. Mr. RK has never had that problem; he hasn't bothered to think about it much. But me, I fixate.

My dad pointed out a few years ago that each of his siblings seems to have inherited a different look. My aunt C looks Swiss; my late uncle B looked German; uncle G looks like a leprechaun. 

Again, Mr. RK had a simple solution.

"Or it's possible that it's not what genes they inherited," he suggested today. "It's possible that the postman just changed every couple of years."


Birdie said...

I love geneology! (In fact, it is a free this weekend to look up immigration records at I am finding out a bunch of stuff I didn't know.) My family is mostly from Germany and England.

I am at work and the LOL cats is so funny and I am trying desperately not to LOL. ha!

Anil P said...

A bit of every geography in the gene, and I suppose there'd be many, many stories to go with the diversity too, excepting the first one which'd have been very difficult times for your folks.

Where we come from intrigues no end, more so for what those times must've been like and how the ancestors lived (and coped) with their times.

I suppose to able to define oneself has much to do with how much we know about the ancestors (the more makes it easier), their lives lived, their personalities and the like.

Did many of your ancestors write diaries?

Time Machine, if only it was true!

Charles Gramlich said...

I guess I'm one of those who is comfortable enough not to ask about my lineage. It's all Germanic as far back as anyone has gone.

Wiwille said...

Mr RK is wise beyond his years.

Cheryl said...

Haha...Mr. RK's line about the postman changing.

Maybe my family members are related to your uncle G. A lot of my Irish kin favor leprechauns.

I don't have as much diversity in my family as yours but my husband is 100 percent Dutch. Up until about the time we got married the Dutch in his family, pretty much married other Dutch./as far as my acceptance into their clan, I am an acquired taste. They made a big fuss at first but have gotten used to me for the most part.

Elephant's Child said...

Ouch. There are members of my family who I would love to believe that I share no DNA with.
Since my mother was an incorrible liar and my father made an oyster look garrulous I know very little about my ancestry. And part of me is afraid to look. So, yes, I do understand your fixation - and your worry.

LL Cool Joe said...

Well as you know I'm adopted, with an adopted brother and my kids are adopted. I have no blood ties and know nothing about my background or history, and I actually quite like it. I have no desire to find out either. In the words of the song "I am what I am".

That photo cracked me up!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Hahahahaha, I'm a Heinz 57 too.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

LOL...I loved your line about the Banana...And I understand your feelings about the impossibility of sharing DNA with certain if not many, relatives. My sister has done massive research on the 'family trees' on both sides of our family----Still, I often feel like an Alien in this---what was, at one time---a LARGE family.
I feel rather guilty that in many ways I have no interest whatsoever in most of this family....But I know it is because I feel so very different from them---right or wrong, that is how I feel, (Though sometimes I wish I didn't feel this know?....Bring me a Banana, PLEASE....! lol)
And from what you have said---Mr. RK is much more "family" to you than some of these other so called blood relatives....I'm glad you have him, my dear....!

DWei said...

Heh, I know that feeling. I look half Caucasian, my sister looks half Filipino, and my brother looks half Japanese/Korean.

Yet, all of us are pure Chinese. Funny how things work.

Lee said...

Families...I wonder who invented them!

Once upon a time I thought I was the only one who had an "odd" family; different from the "norm"; different to that of my childhood friends ; but as I grew older and learned more about people...and the lives and families of others, I realised every family has its own certain problems; every family has, somewhere along the line, odd fruit that has dropped off from one branch or the other of the family tree.

Rock Chef said...

My ancestry is remarkably undiverse - everyone for the last 250 years came from within spitting distance of where I live (and I mean an easy cycle ride!). I am only aware of one from further away, and she came from the east end of London (about 50 miles away!)

As for you, I was under the impression that it was now fashionable to embrace the Native American ancestry and focus on that? Maybe you can claim part ownership of a casino or something? :-)

Riot Kitty said...

Birdie: Oops! Probably not a good place to be laughing. I will check out the site.
Anil: I wish they had - I wonder if they did and they are in someone's basement somewhere.
Charles: I envy you. I'm super curious.
W: He is!
Cheryl: That is funny, because my dad has described me as "an acquired taste." So they wanted more Dutch? Seriously, isn't that a bit weird?
EC: I'm a believer in the banana theory.
Joey: Good point! I am what I am...but so curious.
Debra: That's a good way to put it.
Naomi: So well said! I wouldn't feel guilty. One side I feel like that...and they're the side who kept all kinds of records and photos. They all look miserable, let me tell you. Things don't change so much!
DW: It's interesting, isn't it? Same family, different strains of DNA I guess.
Lee: Good line! I love the one about "odd fruit that has dropped off the branch" too. In my family, it's like people hopped the fence all over the place.
RC: Haha! I will let you know how that goes. And I am guessing your family is easier to get along with than mine, if they haven't migrated so much (e.g. been forced to ;)

Granny Annie said...

It almost makes you believe in reincarnation when you meet people who are more like family than your family. Perhaps you share genes from a distant past and previous life.

Dexter Klemperer said...

Mr. RK needs his own blog!

wigsf3 said...

Oh snap! So you're ancestors kept getting knocked up by the locals. Classy.

gal artist said...

Came here from Birdie's blog. I have a sister who I know can't share the same genetics, my other sister agrees with me. There is no way, no how...

Abby said...

I think it's fun to think of our ancestors and what they were like. But yeah, you never know. Those postmen get around!

CraveCute said...

Now that is really funny! Love your LOLcat family tree!

Lynn said...

Ha! I always tell my small chested, straight haired sister that she is the milk man's child. :)

Riot Kitty said...

GA: True!
Dexter: He had one...sadly he does not post anymore! He said it was too difficult.
WIGSF: Sure we're not related?
Gal: Thanks for stopping by!
Abby: I can only imagine.
CC: Thanks!
Lynn: The first time I met a friend's brother in college - a short, plump friend whose brother was almost a foot taller and thin - I blurted out, "Did your mom sleep with the mailman or something?" Tact.