Throwback Thursday — Family Stories

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.

9 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday — Family Stories

  1. Marleen October 13, 2022 / 9:31 pm

    I’ve heard there’s a test sorta like this that only requires a swab. I highly doubt my mother would comply with the whole spit thing. I doubt I’d find out anything new, but I just wanna see. Both sides of her family were here long ago. And she fits a colonialist control-freak mode.

    While I was growing up, all of my (four) grandparents [not great grandparents who had already died] were in town, and we saw them. My dad’s mom moved over here from Europe with her parents. His dad (first generation born here) married my dad’s mom and took her mother in.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Lauren October 13, 2022 / 10:43 pm

    Thanks for joining in Fandango. My mother never shared much about her childhood and when I learned about some of it, I understood why. I too regret not asking my grandparents about their childhood.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marleen October 14, 2022 / 4:06 pm

    The country my dad’s mom came from was close.

    Two Voices From Russia & Ukraine…


    • Marleen October 15, 2022 / 5:30 pm

      Grandma didn’t speak Hungarian or Romanian (also called Moldovan or Moldavian while the Declaration of Independence of Moldova used the name Romanian in 1991 [and uses it again in 2010] leading to the illegimization of the Hitler-Stalin Pact), nor did she speak Gagauz, Ukrainian, Russian, or any language specific to the area. Or, if she had, that was lost — because she and Grandpa both spoke a dialect (or two) of German (although his family didn’t emigrate from Germany either), which linguistic use additionally was lost to the rest of us (other than for some terms oft used in English). Grandpa wasn’t from Eastern or Southern or southeastern Europe, so I wouldn’t have existed without our meting pot:

      Romania Fears Putin, But Putin Should Fear Romania, Too

      Romanians and Moldovans share a long border with Ukraine, and question the West’s commitment should Russian troops head their way.


  4. leigha66 October 22, 2022 / 12:01 pm

    I am trying to remedy some of what my daughter doesn’t know about me. I got a book with 1000 questions about me and my past that I am filling in for her. I hope to have it done in time for Christmas. It may just sit on a shelf for now, but I know some day she will be glad to have it I think. I know I would love to have one from each of my parents.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango October 22, 2022 / 3:09 pm

      That’s a great gift you’re giving to her.

      Liked by 1 person

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