Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Conundrum For You

Well, I’ve been back from the beach for a few days. I don’t know which is harder….the torture right before a break or the turmoil when you return from a break. I think Chinese water torture is easier in both cases.

I have a ‘things to do list’ which is longer than my left leg, and things are being added right and left as we speak. I’ll get to everything eventually, but it may take me some time. I have many more things to share about the beach and my trip, however, I think I’ve rubbed your nose into my paradise enough for now, and I bet you are ready for History Is Elementary to get back to the business of being about history and teaching so without any further beach talk here we go…..

These days everyone’s family tree is a little confusing due to the increase in divorce, remarriages, and cohabitation. I wouldn’t want to be a genealogist in one hundred years or so trying to decypher family lines. Activities and projects which revolve around the family unit can mean a teacher is treading into dangerous waters. A few years ago I thought it would be a really great activity to have a group of language arts students interview family members and obtain the receipes for special dishes that family members always want to have at family gatherings. You know, Aunt Mary’s Creamed Corn, Uncle Jim Bob’s spare rib sauce and so on. We were going to take the two or three receipes from each class member and students were going to write out the recipes and illustrate the pages. All of the pages were going to be bound into one booklet, mass produced, and shared with the entire class.

Sounds like an interesting activity right? Our first experience with history is learning our own family history. I was trying to jump start that a bit and get some conversations going at home.

I only had two kids to bring in recipes. Most never brought anything and I had five parents who wrote nasty notes wanting to know why I was prying into their families or informing me they don’t associate with family members.

Needless to say the subject of family can get a little touchy.

Southerners are always getting dumped on regarding our family trees. I’ll admit it…some family trees down here in the nether regions of the country are confusing. Hell, some family trees don’t even fork.

I have a confession to make. My maternal tree does fork, however, that sucker is inundated with the thickest, largest kudzu vine you ever did see. (If you don’t know what kudzu is click here.)

Many days ago I began thinking about Mom’s family. I hopped into bed with pen and paper and began diagramming all of the connections.

Hubby groaned. “Oh no, you’re not going to write about that, are you?”

“Now, now,” I soothed. “It’s not like Granma and Granpa were actually related.”

“Wasn’t your grandmother your grandfather’s wife and aunt at the same time?” Hubby asked.

“Well,……yeah. Technically,” I answered.

“Wasn’t your mother’s father also her grand uncle?”

Gee, I was amazed Hubby remembered all of this. “Yeah,” I answered, but….”

Hubby continued as if he was the District Attorney grilling me on the stand, gr“Wasn’t your grandmother’s father-in-law also her brother-in-law?”

As my family pride began to sag a bit I said, “Yes, that’s all true, but you’re making it sound like we all have three heads, one eye in the middle of our foreheads, and we’re cross-eyed to boot.”

Hubby raised his hand to shush me, “Wait,” he said, “I’m on a roll.” He peered over at my diagram and examined it for a minute.

Finally he said, “Your great-grandfather was also your great grand uncle.” He lay back on the pillow smiling and all full of himself.

“Hmmmmmm….Is there such a thing?” I countered. “Is there a distinction of grand uncle? But yes, I guess if you want to go that far you could say that my great grandfather was also my great grand uncle.”

I was getting exasperated at this point as I said, “Look, what’s your point? It’s my family tree. I thought I would share this information to introduce the topic of overlapping presidential administrations for a post over at American Presidents.”

“Oh. Well….Never mind then. That might be an interesting way to approach it.”

And it just might be an interesting way to approach the subject, but first see if you can untangle my family’s kudzu vine. I’ve even posted my family connections in green to make it easier for you to see all the twists and turns.

These family connections, as suspect as they may be, are all true. We are not deformed, and no laws have been broken so how about it?

Give my puzzle a whirl…

What makes these family connections completely innocent?

9 comments:

Lady S said...

Eh, I'm thinking Grandmother's sister married Grandfather's uncle.

My best friend's parents are similarly intangled.

Mom and Dad got married. Then Mom's dad married Dad's mom. This was only made more confusing by them having a child. Her uncle is brother to both her mother and her father.

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

Sorry, you're warm Lady S. but not quite. You are half right though.

Wow, your friend's family sounds fun.

Michael said...

Just wait and see how complicated this gets if polygamy ever gets legalized. (It may happen.)

There are historical accounts from 19th Century Utah where a man would marry a widow and alll three of her daughters on the same day. Talk about how fun it would be to untangle relationships in that family!

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

Eeeewwww! Your right it could happen....but if it's legalized I hope a man can't marry someone and her daughters all on the same day. That's just too close. My situation is much, much more innocent than that.

Ms. Q said...

Ok...giving this a shot...

Your Grandma married your Grandpa and then your Sister married Grandpa's dad?

I have similar kudzu growing in my distant past as well, though I am not sure I have it figured out.

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

Yes, Grandma married Grandpa and Grandpa's dad married someone but not my sister. You are soooooooo warm.

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Kudzu entwined in your family tree, eh? Next thing you'll be tellin' us is that you got monkeys swingin' from them vines!

Ms. Q said...

Uh...duh me! It was supposed to be your Grandma's sister?

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

We have a winner!

Yes, ms. q...father and son married sisters. Actually, to confuse matters even more I believe they were half sisters, but we usually just leave that part alone...it gets too confusing. When I was a little girl I was told if they were more than ten years older than me they were aunts or uncles and if they were more close to my age they were cousins. It worked.

I'm still planning on posting about mixed up "family" lines with presidential staffs and cabinets but I've mislaid my notes. I looked for two hours last night and can't find them. Maybe I'll run across them soon. I think it will be an interesting post if I ever get to write it. :)