Wednesday, May 24, 2006

So that's where she gets it.

My parents are coming into town this weekend, and I was thinking back on the things that are at least somewhat unique about my kinfolks. Here are some items that I find interesting, let me know if you have similar tidbits from your kin:

My great-grandpa was a bootlegger. He supplied much of rural Oklahoma with booze during prohibition.

My grandpa raised bees. He was a beekeeper. To this day I have zero fear of any insect because there was basically always a swarm of something around.

A few great-greats back, a couple of men in my family were hung for stealing horses, but it was a false accusation that led to a murder cover-up and county scandal.

My Aunt is a very famous painter in Japan. For some reason, the Japanese love her art and she had been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach classes there. She mostly paints flowers.

I had family on the trail of tears. Their name was Walker. I am not joking.

My grandma was voted best Waitress in my town years and years running. She would bring her tips home in a sock and that money was used to feed my dad and his brothers.

When my grandma was young, she would sneak out of her farmhouse to go dance with the British fighter pilots stationed at the air force base during WWII. Decades later she would teacher her granddaughter many of those moves including how to jitterbug.

My Uncle is very into being Native America and thought having a Wolf was big medicine so I have very real memories of playing with wolves growing up.

That same Uncle befriended a man who raised buffalo. My family was visiting the same time that they were harvesting the meat. I walked into this giant room and there were white shinning buffalo skulls everywhere. I can still remember that strange smell and the skulls appeared to glow they were so white. It is no wonder that Indians thought that the buffalos were a sacred and divine animal.

My mother was psychic when she was growing up. She remembers being able to sense whenever her house was about to have a visitor and knowing exactly who was going to be there. She also says that when I was little I could read her thoughts. She could think “Are you hungry” and I would respond. Or if she was thinking about something silly, I would often say a word related to whatever she was thinking. Too bad I grew outta that.


Blogger Sean said...

"My great-grandpa was a bootlegger. He supplied much of rural Oklahoma with booze during prohibition."

That's cool. I have a similar story....I had a great great (I think just 2 "greats" I'll have to look.) grandfather who used to sell "medicine" (alcohol)to Indians. I've seen an old "medicine" bottle that says "Breeden Medical Co." (Breeden is not my last name) THis is how the Indian got into my bloodline. So yeah, he was a good old fashioned snake oil huckster of the highest order. At least he settled down with one of his customers. I met her when I was a kid very briefly. My great great whatever grandma' on a friggin' reservation! She wasn't very impressed with me surprisingly enough....

5:24 PM  
Blogger Ashburnite said... have a very interesting family. I think the only thing noteable about my family is that my great-great-great grandfather founded Juniata College (in PA). There are numerous places in that area that are named after my family.

that, and the fact that my grandmother was originally Jewish- she grew up in Austria during WWII, and converted to Catholicism to avoid being sent to a concentration camp.

btw, I sent you a friend request on Myspace- just in case you were wondering who the wierd chick is who wants to be your friend.

5:58 PM  
Blogger O-FACE said... about you...!!! Dam the V's are doing the dam thing....
My great grandfather was a famous poet in America. All kind of high schools across the country are named after him....

Some indian heritage.....Black Hill...

Everybody else is living a regular life...We'll see how I turn it out in 25 years. So far, not much.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous slingblade said...

Ah reckon yew n' me might be kin.

Yew, me, french fry outhouse nights...thinker bout it.

8:07 PM  
Blogger KassyK said...

Depressing yet hopeful for my family's history:

On my mom's side:
Her mom grew up in Brooklyn with like 10 sisters (the only normal thing in this post)
Her father was in Poland during the Holocaust and watched his 3 children and wife butchered before he was sent to a work camp in Siberia. He survived, move to Brooklyn, married my grandma who already had a son from a previous husband and had my mom.

On my dad's side: My grandfather was part of the Hungarian army before being shipped off to a camp.
My aunt Taki who I was super close with was in Aushwitz for years (the most notorious concentration camp that most Hungarians were sent to) and she was subjected to extreme torture of a nature I will not describe.

But she survived and moved to Manhattan and started as a seamstress and ended up working for Donna Karan in a high end capacity for years and then I believe Yves St. Laurent. She also met up with a friend from before the war that survived as well and they married in NYC and live in love together.

Bc we dont look Jewish, my father's mother was hidden by nonjews throughout the entire war. Which was extremely difficult. She got VERY lucky.

On my dad's side...his parents both moved to Israel when it was created and he was raised there and moved here at 22 with his older 24 year old brother after serving in the army. He still misses Israel but loves US as well. He started as a cabbie and now is a super successful entrenpeur and business man.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Very interesting, V.

I can also read your thoughts.

8:01 AM  
Blogger KassyK said...

I realized how depressing my comments were and they were meant to say that I too have crazy back stories but we are all happy now. :-) HAHA. Yikes. But I love the bootlegging...that is so great.

8:25 AM  
Blogger V said...

Sean: Of course booze brought Indians together with you family, it's the perfect story. we might be related :) But I'm Cherokee...

Ash: A college, that's really cool. And, I got your request and was happy to accept.

O-Face: That's really interesting, do you write poems?

Kassy: Thanks for all that, how interesting and def inspiring your family is after going through all that. It shocks me what people are capable of doing to other people, the holocaust, trail of tears, Crusades, etc.

Phil: Thinking a good one for you right now...

8:58 AM  
Blogger Patrick J. Fitzgerald said...

I am thinking of a three letter word...

9:06 AM  
Blogger Sean said...

Cherokee? Me too (just a little). My gg grandmother lived in Tennessee. So maybe we are related LOL.

9:51 AM  
Blogger KassyK said...

V-Thanks :-) The Trail of Tears is so not discussed enough during our elementary and learning years...that was some really horrible nightmarish shit and more people should be aware of it.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

You are thinking of a 3 way with me and Charlie Sheen.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Sweet said...

Wow my family history can't compete with bootleggers, bees and playing with wolves!

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I knew more about my family history.
I know my grandfather was a coal miner...but that's about it.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

WOW! If I didn't know you, I would have sworn you made this up! I'll bet your mother still is psychic, but perhaps you should hope she no longer has ESP and is able to read your mind. How did all this info get passed down to you -- oral history?

5:57 PM  
Blogger ajsmith said...


I am constantly asked why a nice Jewish boy would be named "Smith." Well, it seems that my great grandfather ran a speakeasy in an Irish neighborhood in NYC during Prohibition, and was convinced that they wouldn't drink at a place owned by a "Katz" and so had it changed. My great aunt swears that the family name would now be "Murphy" but that the judge wouldn't let him do it.

The odd thing is that the first time I learned the story of our name, I was already working in drug policy reform - railing against the failures of drug prhibition. Hah.

My mother is psychic as well. As just one example, she awoke one morning babbling about a car accident that she was sure her father had had. Her description was eerily specific - and she was talking about the passenger door being thrown open, but that she couldn't see her stepmom and was afraid she had been thrown from the car. Turns out, her father had had the exact accident she described, late the night before - complete with passenger door - but he was on his way to pick up his wife, so she wasn't actually IN the car when it crashed.

Sorry for the long post, but the simiarities with yours stirred my brain this early 'morn. (-:

10:48 AM  
Blogger V said...

Barbara: Yes, my family are big story tellers. I didn't realize that not all families do that until I was much older. We take a lot of pride in telling a good story or joke.

Aj: Thanks for the comments, that's very interesting. I'm not a very religous person, but it is interesting why some people have certain rare abilities.

10:54 AM  

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