September 28, 2006

A family affair III - Ancestry

I've talked to people about time travel and I've gotten all kinds of crazy responses to my queries. Some want to go back to their youth and fix some past mistake or make a monetary investment that will assure them of riches beyond the dreams of avarice. Others want to go back and witness great events in history or meet those who were responsible for changing the world in which we live. Many would like to visit a certain carpenter or camel driver to drink directly from the fount of knowledge. In many ways I think these are admirable desires and I truly understand the motivation behind them. I find that such things are so thoroughly disconnected to the me I have become so as to make the idea of such a trip to be a spurious waste of time. I've always thought that if I could go back I'd like to befriend my parents and grandparents in their youth. I'd love to get to know them as peers and see if the stories I'd been told as a child matched with the facts. It'd be impossible to befriend my grandfather on my father's side for he never spoke a lick of English and I don't think I'd have the time to learn his Sicilian dialect. My grandmother on my mother's side is another story. If I could’ve met her I’d probably have all the answers to the mysteries of my family. I’d also learn a helluva lot of Yiddish curses. Her name was Sylvia and was chutzpah defined. She’d have no compunction to telling someone they were cockamamie, mishigas, mishugana or to Geh cocken (offen yom). Sales people were often Gonif and the stuff they tried to peddle was drek. I wish I could remember more of the colorful phrases she used to color her world, but they were not often used around the children and now living in Japan I never have the opportunity to express my self in Yiddish and still be understood. I think that children ought to have the chance to meet their ancestors before they were married. It might make us more understanding and sympathetic to see our progenitors as fellow humans instead of mothers and fathers and grandparents.

1 comment:

izzy said...

I think that you have a valid point. Meeting my parents and grandparents during their youth would really answer a lot of questions for me. Maybe my family wouldn't have grown so dysfunctional.