Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The One Time My Mom Really Got My Dad

[Disclaimer: my family tends to be full of shit and will tell a good story for the sake of the story and not for the sake of the truth. I make no claims as to the veracity of anything I did not actually witness. If you read the following and discover that you are somehow related to me, don't pass any judgment on our ancestors. I have no way of knowing what parts are true.] When we were little, we used to take a month in the summer and travel. Since we were poor, we'd camp. The point of it was that we were just going to go out and see America, see what was out there. One summer, my dad wanted to go to Pennsylvania and check out the ancestral landing point here in America for his dad's mom's part of the family. [Just as an interesting side note, here are the known ways and reasons for the rest of the family to emigrate: From Sweden, father lost farm while gambling drunk, and daughter moved to Chicago. This is why my mother's family doesn't drink. Oddly enough, this does not stop them from gambling and my great uncle even wrote a book on poker strategies. From England, across Canada into Michigan. Odd thing about this, when they left England, they were Jewish and when they arrived in Michigan, they were Methodist. Other branch from England was just seeking adventure. From Germany, beer making and fishing businesses went bust, came to Chicago. Other branch of the family were just roustabouts from someplace, my mom's uncle claimed the Netherlands.] But this is the story of another branch of the family: the Hiesten, Hiestan, Hiestein, Heistein, etc. clan, who started as two brothers who left Germany and settled in Pennsylvania. Each of them got married and their wives had something like twelve kids a piece. Then their wives died and they remarried and had another twelve or fifteen kids a piece. During this time, so the story goes, the other farmers in the community started taking a close look at their own children and the children of the Hiestein, Heistan, whatever brothers and decided that the resemblance was a little too close to be coincidental, and so the brothers were forced to flee Pennsylvania, and settled in central Michigan. We heard this story from a Catholic priest in Pennsylvania who was a distant cousin. You may ask, how can you know you're related when there are so many potential relatives? Luckily, there is, in the family tree, an Abraham Lincoln H... and a George Washington H..., so if both of you are aware of Abe and George, you can be pretty sure that you're related. He knew of another Catholic priest and an Episcopalian priest who were also related. We thought this was interesting, that there were so many men of the cloth in the family. Years later, we're sitting at my grandma's house and my dad is saying how he heard from this cousin, the Catholic priest, that he was leaving the priesthood in order to officially marry the mother of his three children, and that there had been some scandal with the other priest, where it turns out that he had a number of children in the parish, by different women. So, my dad makes some crack about how, say what you want about the H... men, they must really have something that keeps the women coming back for more. And my mom looks up from her cross-stitching and says, matter-of-factly, "Too bad it skipped your side of the family."

1 Comments:

Blogger Twinkletoes said...

Ba da boom, Mom!

5/31/2005 03:14:00 PM  

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