Bragging about my Family

And now to once more confront this issue (as raised by the message on Instagram).

While I will admit to purposefully sharing more than I thought was wise about my family in the past, at times I have to ask: What’s the difference between bragging and just telling people things? It’s not always clear. For example: It varies what qualifies as bragging depending on who you ask. Who’s definition or guideline is the one to use?

I think I often just share about my family because family history is fascinating. Everyone’s family’s history or lack of it is interesting. Truly!!

And actually most of the the things I could brag about go unsaid. If anything, I’ve often downplayed things about myself and my family (family history included). That might not sound possible to some (??) but I have. It’s instinctual.

Let’s see… Let me just share stuff and you can determine how “braggy” it sounds to you. But to clarify, to me I’m at least mostly just sharing stuff in the following paragraphs… (And I’m doing this because I refuse to be bullied)

Hmm…

My mother is an artistically gifted lady.

Am I supposed to find her faults and list them now to not be bragging? I suppose that is what people do, isn’t it. But…she really is gifted artistically. That’s just a fact. Those aren’t just the words of her loyal daughter.

Anyway, she and her siblings are all well educated. They all have college degrees and a couple of them have graduate degrees. So were her parents… And while my one aunt was at the party attended by the Kennedy family the night of the disaster at Chappaquidick (she was seriously dating a son in a family who were friends with the Kennedy family)…none of them were ever “party people” per se.

My other aunt was a “cool kid” in her high school and I know she went to parties but…the siblings really aren’t “party people.” I don’t think they drank much, they didn’t do drugs, etc. That just wasn’t them. The one time my uncle tried smoking a cigarette in his teens (he thought it was cool) he threw up and got so ill that it was his last time too.

My mother is actually a teetotaler. None of her parents, grandparents, etc. were alcoholics but she just hates drinking… 😂 Her brother, my uncle, makes his own wine though (or once did) and they have had heated discussions on the topic. He’s kind of a foodie and has been for years. But, my mother believes there’s no proper time for drinking. Not even during dinner.

…My mother is one to do things on principle often though. She once went on a vegan diet (in the 1970’s) but did it poorly and started to loose the hair on her head. 😂 Yet, she she encouraged others to do likewise with passion. Her family was kind about it but naturally not persuaded. 😂 …She eventually stopped that diet and ate meat, etc. because of her hair loss and other health problems it created. …But now she’s much more well-informed (she’s been researching it all for decades now as a hobby) and laughs about her first attempts at eating so very healthily… ☺️ I did grow up taking disgusting tasting vitamins because of her though. 😂

…Her family and extended family are all very close on her mother’s side. I’m close to them too.

Her father’s family were mostly southerners. Everyone got along but after my grandfather and grandmother divorced in the 1960’s people didn’t interact as much.

My grandfather remarried too… My grandmother never did.

They were in love but ill-suited for each other. My grandmother was a quiet, sweet lady who eventually became a full time English teacher after her divorce. My grandfather was a very creative, somewhat tempestuous and brilliant man. He composed music and loved horse racing passionately… Even though he did later become a judge he spent his younger years absorbed in numerous business endeavors (a restaurant, a movie theater, etc) that were not always successful. That was a strain on their marriage. And I don’t think they understood each other very well.

My mother has a memory she’s sometimes shared of one of her paternal aunts. That aunt gave her the prettiest bottle of 1950’s hot pink nail polish (in the 1950’s) when she was little. She kept the pink polish in a small handbag. Sadly however, that bottle broke and all the pretty pink polish spread in the bag and dried. It was a little tragic at the time… Her mother, my grandmother, did not wear almost any makeup (other than lipstick). Women back then didn’t wear makeup as often – it was seen as somewhat risqué to wear “too much” of it (and that wasn’t just “a thing” among certain conservatives or etc. either). So she prized that pink polish because it isn’t something her mother would have likely purchased for her.

My father’s family was fairly well off. My paternal grandfather was good in matters of business and so was my great grandfather. And they cared about being honest too and their community. For a while my paternal grandfather was the president of the school board and my grandmother was a church pianist (among other things they did for their community).

My grandmother knew my father’s family and when my mother asked for her blessing to marry my father she readily agreed. They were a “good family.”

Actually my grandmother and her siblings used to attend the same dances in the 1930’s and 40’s as my father’s uncles, aunts and parents did. And my paternal grandmother’s family were at those dances too. My Great Uncle Ed once told me that my Great Aunt Mabel, my grandmother’s sister, was a wonderful dancer.

BUT, my parents didn’t know each other growing up. They met through a mutual friend later in the 1970’s. My father was studying to become a Christian missionary (at a college in Minnesota) after being in Vietnam and finishing his undergraduate degree and my mother visited that school with thoughts of attending too. Their mutual friend told my mother to “look my father up” because she thought they’d get along. They did. They were friends… And then my father became determined they should get married.

My mother is talented with sculpture. She made a bust of her grandfather… It’s good.

Hmm…

I guess, just know that while I have shared some things in the past that could qualify as intentional bragging because I’ve been irritated, I also share things that aren’t meant to be anything other than sharing. And also, please stop projecting things on to what I write (as much as that’s actually even possible) or assuming things out of hostility (as much as you can)… Although, if you assume things out of ignorance then I guess the person assuming things wouldn’t even know… (duh😂) …But I actually do try sometimes to be careful and not share things that could be “impressive” to some people if I shared them because they’re occasionally awkward to share. I’m not successful at that as often as I should be.

I just find stories from life fascinating and it’s hard to know when to share and when to not share… I’d want to hear it if it was someone else because I find everyone’s life intriguing. And I find history very enthralling. (I’ve said all of this before so many times) That might sound silly but it’s true… Well, provided that what people share is a true (and what I share is true of course).

But…really. I was a history major for a while (over a year in college) before becoming a political science major (called Politics at Messiah College). I love hearing about people.

One more quick story.

In the late 1990’s my mother received a phone call from a man who had been a hired hand on her great grandparent’s farm when it was being run by her uncle, my great uncle. This hired hand and my great uncle were friends too. My uncle was a kind and very down to earth man.

Anyway, this man probably had been a hired hand in the 1950’s or a bit earlier? I think…

Anyway, this fellow had succeeded in life since then. I believe it was through investing in real estate? Matter of fact, he had done so well that he managed to buy an old mansion either on or near Summit Avenue in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He was very proud (although still humble) about his accomplishments.

This fellow had tracked my mother down because she was in the family that he used to work for as a hired hand and we lived in a suburb of the Twin Cities somewhat near him. He invited us heartily to come see his mansion. 😂 And while my mother decided against it she did find it fun to reminiscence with him. Apparently he just wanted them to know how well he had done after being their hired hand when he was young, and perhaps he said some other lovely sentimental stuff.

I’ve often regretted not talking my mother into visiting him though. It would have been fun to see his historic mansion. I love old architecture…