I never thought about my family’s genealogy. Until Wednesday at lunch…with the high school people. I didn’t think much of it, when my friend said she would look a couple of things up. I said, “Sure,” and then… Until that moment I was Italian and Swedish.
She called me yesterday, when I was out with my cousin, and said, “Someone else is researching your mother’s entire family and there’s already a family tree. I asked how that was possible and she said, she didn’t know, but there were pictures, so it had to be a relative.
My daughter set up the site and there it was (I have the picture the little pictures were taken from). I wasn’t on the tree, nor were my children, or my father’s family. Just my mom and her parents and on and on and on. It’s a one way tree…going to the right. Mostly about my mother’s father.
Now, here’s the thing. All my life I have been buying my mother Swedish gifts. She was Swedish, a little Norwegian and something else. She explained, :the something else, to me at one point in my life, but I didn’t understand what she was saying and didn’t know that I didn’t understand what she was saying, so I couldn’t ask any questions because I thought I DID know what she was saying. Anyway…I still put a Swedish tree up, in her honor, every Christmas, have all her Swedish horses, coffee pots, etc.
Well, it turns out that we are way more Norwegian that anyone thought. My mom’s grandmother (her father’s mother) and all of her relatives are from Norway. All of them. Every single one. Norway.
It does not say where my grandmother is from, my mother’s mother, but probably Sweden. I have a blue Swedish horse in my kitchen. I don’t know where the red one is, but SOMEBODY needs to be Swedish, that’s for sure. Hopefully, we can find out where that line is from because it just says Chicago. My horse needs to know.
I immediately looked up Norwegian artists and there were many. I was thrilled. The Scream comes to mind. I have to find out what Norway is all about, not that I have a clue what Sweden is all about, but I thought everyone else in the family knew, so I didn’t have to bother. I wonder what my unknown Norwegian relatives would think, if they saw my house with all the Swedish stuff? Supposedly, they they don’t like each other. I don’t actually have that much stuff, but my mom cooked and baked….Swedish food. It looked delicate and dainty next to the huge bowls of pasta and fat loaves of crusty bread my Italian grandmother made.
We found the names of the two people doing all the research on MY mom and her family, well, MY family too, I guess, but we can’t contact them. I’d like to know who they are. I was not on the tree, but Debbie added me and plans to add the rest of us.
I am so stunned, I can hardly figure out where to buy a Norwegian flag. LOLOLOL The next part is also weird. My mother’s father’s, father’s family (her grandfather) is from…Bohemia. My mother told me we were a little Bohemian when I was a child, but I thought she meant that we were hippies and that was very believable, so I assumed I’d grow up to wear a beret, drink absinth and smoke thin dark brown cigarettes while writing poetry, wearing a striped turtleneck, sitting at a cafe. Not so…I’m mean sure, I do that sometimes, but not on the border of Austria? What? Seriously? How is it possible that I never knew who I was? My first question was, “Does ANYONE know what Bohemia IS?” No one did, so I looked it up, that’s how I know it’s by Austria and…mmmm…other stuff. It looks pretty. So my mother’s father is half Norwegian and half Bohemian (I still can’t believe that’s a place and not a lifestyle). Hey, a lot of American’s are not good at geography.
I’ve always wanted to look Italian, but but even though that’s half of what I am, I was always too blond and blue-eyed for that; in spite of the fact that my last name was as Italian as an Italian name could possibly get, AND I felt as if I was visiting my grandmother, when I watched THE GODFATHER movies. I grew up with Italians. I imprinted on Italians.
I mostly ignored what I thought was my Swedish side and always just said that I was Italian. No one believed me, and said, “You don’t look Italian,” but they knew my name, so how could they argue? I didn’t realize that I had a real Norwegian side, as well as a Swedish side, at all.
Anyway, at one time the Romans invaded Austria and Bohemia, so I hope my relatives weren’t involved…you know…the ones from Italy…the Romans. Those guys…you know how they can be. No, I don’t talk with my hands…not anymore. Well, only sometimes, when it’s absolutely necessary. I can hold a grudge, however.
I don’t know what kind of personalities Norwegians have. No stereotypes come to mind. I expect that they’re very nice and peaceful, but that’s just a guess. I never heard of Norwegians starting a war. There are no Norwegian restaurants, as far as I know.
I can’t pronounce any of the names on the tree, especially the ones with the O with the line through it. Some of the names are very long. I tried to say them, but failed miserably. I have a fairy tale book, written in Swedish, and I can’t read it or pronounce any of those words either. I am not LINGUAL, LOLOL in any language but the one I speak and that’s iffy enough. The artwork, in the fairy tale book is beautiful. Delicate, as always, with lots of red creatures like the little red wooden dolls I put out Christmas. I just got a new one this year. Maybe they have Norwegian wooden toys. I know where the Swedish store is but I’ve never seen a Norwegian store. Do they have any around here?
I think I’ll put a Norwegian hat on my Swedish horse. I think the horse would like that. Maybe the two countries will become better friends because of the horse, who knows. I mean I’m obviously part of both of them. With Italy thrown in as a bonus.
I still can’t believe what I found out. I can only guess what my mother would say. My grandmother must have known that her husband’s mother was from Norway. I wish I could talk to my grandmother, but then I wish I could talk to her all the time. I didn’t think I knew any Norwegians. I thought I knew a lot of Swedes. Turns out the people who were from my grandfather’s side were Norwegians and Bohemians and not the Swedish people I thought they were. Amazing. Shows how silly the things we believe really are.
Now I know names of people I’m related to that I never heard of and who may never have left Norway, or Bohemia. Old dates, from the early 1800’s. Actual names, dates, and COUNTRIES. At least on one side.
I’m hoping we can find my grandmother’s Swedish side, so the horse feels better about things. I went to IKEA yesterday, to eat chocolate cake. What if IKEA found out that a wee part of me is from Norway? I used to feel at home in IKEA…my Swedish family, now, I’m not so sure. Do people from Norway shop at IKEA, even if it’s just because they have the best chocolate cake in the world? They’d be crazy not to get the cake. I mean it’s amazing. So maybe the cake, the horse, and the little dolls could bring the two countries together, and they could all dance in the streets. Maybe not. Maybe my horse doesn’t really care, one way or the other. We should all be like that.
I really just want to be French. Paris French. That’s the truth. If I am ever stupid enough to come back here AGAIN, I’m coming back in Paris and I’m going to live in a fabulous apartment with a courtyard and a view of the Eiffel Tower. If I can’t have that, I’m not coming back.
So, I’m waiting to see what we can find out about my grandmother. I KNOW the Swedes are there SOMEWHERE. It has to be her side, since there is no one else. I HAVE the horse, remember. I’m sure it’s here. But that part of the family must have been here for many generations because everything just says Chicago. We are Chicago people, that’s for sure. Both sides of the family, CHICAGO.
Life’s all about what you believe, whether it’s true or not, one just never knows. It will be interesting to find out about the supposedly 100% Sicilian Italian part of my family. I’m hoping a French person was on vacation and a little of her/his DNA got passed along to me. Then the beret and cafe sitting would fit in perfectly, a French gun moll. Works for me. I still think Bohemia is a lifestyle…one that I embrace with open arms, beaded curtains and all, just for the fun of it.