Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Critical Mom's Heritage

I took a "My Heritage" test and received enough information to construct a narrative. The info: I'm 41.6% English, 33.4% Scandinavian, 23.4% Irish, Scottish and Welsh, and 1.6% "West-Asian," which, on the map the company sent, corresponds to Turkey, Iran, a bit of Iraq, a dash of Afghanistan and a soup├žon of Pakisatan.  
My narrative: Back in the eighth century, the English peasants were planting rye or crunching it up to make bread. Or tending their peas, beans, and onions. Or whiling away the evening in their huts by the fire dreaming of Morris dancing, which they'd invent a few centuries later, but meanwhile, they were just hooting odd noises that occasionally rhymed and became ballads. 
While the peasants were engaged in these activities, the tall, redbearded and blondbearded Vikings were speeding across the waves toward English shores. When the Vikings arrived, longing for art, music, culture, they killed the men and raped the women. Some of those women ran in the direction of Scotland, where they hid out in the highlands, some headed for Wales, where they tried to summon spirits from the vasty deep, and some encountered leprechauns on the road to Ireland. 
These women and their descendants lived in these places fairly happily until the late sixteenth century, when Queen Elizabeth I approved the charter of the Turkey company (1581) because she wanted to maintain trade and political alliances with the Ottoman empire. At least, Wikipedia says she did. If Wikipedia's right, then I suppose the descendant of one of those women who'd run from the Vikings enjoyed a romantic encounter with one of those Turkish or Iranian or Afghan or Iranian or Iraqi or Pakistani traders. That brings us almost to the seventeenth century, the one my father's side of the family claims altered family circumstances: Dad says "we" were Scottish peasants who became mercenary soldiers for William of Orange, and were granted land in an area that would later become Pennsylvania. Those lands not being arable, "we" walked to the Carolinas, where we became Southern Gothic. The other side of the family says "we" didn't like life in Taunton, England, which "we" abandoned in the eighteenth century for the chilly confines of Utica, New York. I know the rest of the story: my father's shrink fell in love with him. Having acquired a young, female patient whose prettiness she envied, the shrink tried to escape her inappropriate attraction by throwing him together with my mother. The two of them married in order to please their god, oh, excuse me, their shrink. I was born.


  1. I love it. A very short and very funny autobiography!

  2. Thanks. Was looking for a way to insist I remembered being born--a la Tristram Shandy--but really, I can't. I have been told that Ancestry.com would offer slightly different results . . . who knows?