As far as I can tell, I’m not posting anything on my blog that Tenured Radical lists as “what a blog is not.”  This makes me happy.

And now for something completely different:

I learned yesterday that, at their wedding, my parents had a string quartet play music for the reception.  My parents were married in 1969, I think, right after they graduated from college.  They are not fans of classical music.  Was the string quartet just a result of what they thought was “proper”?  My mom, especially, comes from a fairly wealthy New England family…

Along the same lines (the connection comes a ways down, so bear with me): my dad was talking to me yesterday about the fact that his side of the family is Hungarian.  I’ve heard this before, and when asked about my ancestry I dutifully say “Hungarian and English,” but I finally had to challenge my father on something: to say that we are geneticially decended from people who lived in Hungary at some point is one thing.  To say, though (as he was claiming) that my extended family has any cultural ties to Hungary is ridiculous.  We have no sayings, stories, rituals, foods, or artifacts of Hungarian origin.  Any connection to that culture has been washed away by Americana, and it doesn’t seem like anyone in my father’s family is too anguished about that fact.  

A similar thing, by the way. could be said about jewishness in my dad’s family: his dad (who recently passed away) was a Jew, but Judaism is traditionally  matrilineal (or so I’ve been told) and I’m pretty sure the only time I’ve ever even been IN a temple is for friends’ Bar and Bat Mitzvahs when I was a kid.  

I argued to my dad that my mother’s side of the family (here is the connection to above) actually probably has more of a cultural connection to England than his does to Hungary (even though my Great Grandfather on my dad’s side was an immigrant, while as far as I can tell my mother’s side of the family has been here since before there was a United States of America).  That connection in my mom’s family is probably as much an issue of class as it is of national culture, but my mom’s family was always a little fancier, always served awful food that looked very English (including lots of boiled things, flaming pudding, etc.), and just generally was more distinctively non-standard (though what is standard?) than my dad’s family was.  I don’t really know what to make of all this, but I thought it was pretty interesting.

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