Maggie, at From Cave Walls, and Lauren, at LSS Attitude of Gratitude, alternate hosting Throwback Thursday. The idea of the prompt is for them to give us a topic and for us to write a post in which we share our own memories or experiences about the given topic. This week, Lauren wants to know about family stories that were shared and passed on.
Here are Lauren’s questions.
1. Did you have multiple family generations nearby when growing up?
When I was young, my grandmother lived with us, but she passed away when I was only 6. About the only thing I remember about her was that she was a diabetic and used to have to give herself shots of insulin. That scared me.
My mother’s brother and his wife — my uncle and aunt — lived one town away from us and they had a son my age and we were very close.
2. What are some of the earliest family stories you remember hearing?
Both of my parents (my mother with her family, my father on his own) immigrated to America during the Russian revolution. They were both from Ukraine, but always identified themselves as Russian. Neither spoke much about their youth or their escape from Ukraine.
3. Did your parents tell you the story about how they met? Did you share with your children your own love story?
My parents met in the U.S. at some sort of Ukrainian/Russian social club in Newark, New Jersey. That’s about all I know. Our kids know that their mother and I were a fix-up and they are aware of some G-rated stories about our courtship.
4. Did aunts, uncles, or grandparents ever share embarrassing stories about your parents when they were children? Were the stories fictionalized or factual?
Not really. I think coming to America from Ukraine was a pretty harrowing experience, especially for my father who escaped from being drafted into the Czar’s army and was a stowaway on a ship across the Atlantic. Or so he claimed. Fact or fiction? Who knows?
5. Did your parents or siblings ever tell your kids embarrassing stories from your youth?
Not my parents or older sisters, but my wife has always been ready to share embarrassing stories about me to our kids.
6. Were there tales you wish you had asked your parents or grandparents, but never did? What would you like to have asked them?
That is actually one of my greatest regrets. I was too self-centered in my younger days to ask my parents for details about their childhoods, their immigration to America, and their early years in this country. If I could, that’s what I’d ask them about now.
7. If you had a magical way to speak to a deceased relative, what would you most like to ask them?
See my answer to #6.
8. Do you share stories about your time growing up with your children or grandchildren? Is there something you don’t want to be lost when you are no longer in this realm?
I have shared shared stories about my youth, but unless I write an autobiography before I die, I doubt they recall much of what I shared with them. It wasn’t that interesting, entertaining, or memorable.
9. Have you ever done research to find out more facts about your lineage? Did you ever find anything surprising?
I submitted a 23andMe saliva DNA sample. The most interesting thing I found out that I hadn’t already known is that I have a small percentage of Italian and a tiny bit of Neanderthal in me.
10. Have you kept journals, records, or important information about your family, that you want to be handed down for future generations?
Nope. Maybe that will motivate me to start writing my autobiography.