No disrespect to my third cousins in Ireland, but I’m having a distressing week with my gene pool. And I’m pretty sure the Irish genes are to blame. It started with an email from my first cousin Denise who was going through old stuff and worked herself into such a depressive state after finding her 1972 passport photo that she went to bed.
“I have a framed picture of PopPop’s mom when she was old. Do you want it?”
“She looks nothing like the beautiful woman in Suzanne’s picture. I wonder if she isn’t MomMom’s mom?”
I should have stopped right there. My sincere apologies to the current lovely Aifric Dennison, but the beautiful Aifric that Denise refers to used to stare at me from the fireplace mantel when I was a child. My mother and I agree that she looked like a creepy old lady with a stern face. Last winter when we saw her again over Aunt Suzanne’s fireplace mantel, we were surprised at how young and not creepy she looked. (Because the portrait was probably done in her thirties and I’m already a generation older than that. Ack!)
I went over to Denise’s–a good thing, it turns out, because it forced her out of bed before her husband got home from work. She presented me with the photo of old Aifric. Old Aifric does not look all that old. Old Aifric looks about my age. But she looks rather stern. Someone you wouldn’t want to mess with. I think it’s the same photo that I saw at my brother’s house the other week–in a newspaper article about her in 1930 when she, running the family dairy in Atlantic City, opened a new dairy plant shortly after the great stock market crash. I recall my mother telling me that my grandmother, a matriarch in her own right, would be terrified whenever she saw her mother-in-law pull up in her limousine. The woman was intimidating.
Here’s the scarey part: the woman looks really familiar. I took the photo home and held it up so that the glass reflected my face. I matched nose to nose and then noticed that eyes to eyes matched, and shape of face matched, and if I pinched my lips like when I’m really mad and trying not to say what I really think, the mouths lined up too. In fact, it was hard to tell which was her face and which was mine.
I look like the creepy old lady! And what’s even worse, I may even act like her!
Shelley says, “You do have the same nose and the same eyes.”
My mother says, “At least you know you aren’t a foundling.”
My husband starts calling me Kathy Aifric Wilson and saying things like “But I still love you.”
Then, to add insult to injury, I visited the orthopedist the very next day because I have been hobbling in pain for who knows how long. A man of few words, he took one look at my x-ray and made his pronouncement: “You’re hip is shot. You need a replacement.”
Thanks, Dad. Apparently this is genetic. John is now calling me Kathy AFLAC Wilson.
How am I to repond to this? I could get really depressed. That’s pretty Irish. Oh wait, I’m already on meds for that. I could go on an Irish drinking binge. Nah, too many calories. I could hang out with my grandkids. Just this week someone I know saw me with Harper (from a distance, I must admit) and thought I was a young mother. (I’ve always liked that woman.)
Just get me a new hip and you can call me Bionic Hippie MomMom. And then book me a flight to Ireland.