Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Little History

This past trip to Arkansas has really made me start thinking of history, especially my family's history and geneaology. Maybe it's because I'm growing up, but the word "geneaology" to me has taken on a different meaning, from dry old boring pieces of paper into stories and certain truths about my history.

My paternal grandparents met while attending the University of Arkansas. Grandmama knew Grandpapa when he went to fight in World War II. What an experience that must have been. How nerve-wracking, character-building, and joyous when he came home and they decided to marry; her experience while he was away explains why we fondly call her a worrywart. I definitely inheirited that: silly as it is compared to war, I worry about Mike on his daily trek down to Port Gibson. We kid about having inheirited those kinds of traits, but what does that really mean? Nature vs. Nurture or a combination thereof? Can you really inheirit a worry gene?

Furthermore, I suppose there is some truth to the adage that history repeats itself. My great grandmother, for whom I'm named, Leila Frances Pullen Nixon, and who died when I was inutero, married an engineer. She was college-educated at Judson, but she loved cooking and domestic duties. Here I am, two generations later, married to an engineer, college-educated, and maintaining that my favorite client is my husband and household. You get the point.

But Leila and Forrest aren't the only example of a college-educated homemaker in my family. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers went to college and loved the house. My mom has degrees in both fashion merchandising and accounting.
And I know what you're thinking: what a waste to have so many college degrees issued that are not in use! But Leila was widowed when she was 28 and still managed to put all three of her children though Auburn with multiple degrees. Cha-Cha, my mom's mom, used her home economics degree every day of her life. You never know when something might happen, and all that education was definitely used well.
There's a word out there that I used to know but have long forgotten. Its definition is that all artwork has already been created; everything new is simply a variation on various themes. I wonder if that's true when it comes to humans and relationships. Not to become religious or ideaological, but how did I know, just KNOW when I met Mike that he was the one? Was it my subconscious pointing out, "Hey, he's an engineer?" Or are we just destined to repeat what we've observed and ultimately become our parents and/or ancestors?

If that's the case, I hope my granddaughter answers the door to solicitors like I do: with a pistol in her hand.

Photo courtesy Arboresque.



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