So the title of this blog pretty much sums it up: my intention is to set down the stories I’ve heard about my family, my extended family, and people I wish were in my family. Their accuracy doesn’t really matter; whether they’re true or not, they tell us who we are. We are people who tell these stories about ourselves, whether to preserve family history, to pass down wisdom, or simply to laugh. I’ll say it right now, people are just plain funny. There is no getting around that.
I should set forth this disclaimer: some of these stories might offend. A fair amount of dark humor can arise from hard situations. Words and phrases and implications that are shocking now were commonly used in previous generations. Do we erase them from memory or acknowledge evolving values? I’m choosing the latter approach, though future editors may dictate otherwise. That’s their job, not mine. Mine is to put it all down.
I should also clarify that “half-breed” and “redneck” are separate descriptors. That is, my siblings and I are half-breeds, children of a Yankee father and Southern mother. We were raised up north but visited our mama’s family every summer. What that meant for us was that we all speak Northern most of the time, but slide pretty quickly into Southern in particular environments. We love real maple syrup, but can do biscuits and grits with equal enthusiasm.
The redneck part, now, that comes from both sides. My father’s family might have protested the label, and from what I hear, my paternal grandmother considered my mother some kind of snake-handling backwoods hick; but both of my grandmothers sold vegetables they grew and eggs from their chickens to make ends meet. They both had husbands who were near about worthless. They both had daughters named Naomi who died in childhood. (I asked Mama once if she didn’t think that was an awfully strange coincidence, and she said no, that every family had children who died back then. I still think it’s funny they were both named Naomi.) I think my grandmothers had more in common than either one of them knew … then again, they never met so they didn’t have the opportunity to find that out. But I’ll get to that later. Anyway, “redneck” has all kinds of political connotations that may make it not quite the right term, but I didn’t want to call this blog “Tales of Half-Bred White Trash.” Actually, that’s not so bad … huh.