Originally published on my long-defunct Livejournal. A friend had put out a call on her blog for others to share their life stories. Here’s my response.
My great-grandparents on all four sides, none of whom I’ve ever met, all came from the same area of the world that at times has been Poland, Latvia, or Lithuania. That may not be right, I’m not really sure where Latvia is. Also, my maternal grandfather (who liked to be called Papa Harold, so I will never likely call him that again) occasionally claimed that his ancestry was from Chelm, but I could never tell if he was serious. (In terms of derogatory jokes, Chelm:Poland::Poland:America; that is, Polish people tell jokes about how stupid the folks in Chelm are.) At any rate, I come from hearty Eastern European Jewish stock.
At least two sets of my great-grandparents divorced and remarried, which is interesting not only because it provided my Grandma Ida with a good supply of stories about her gambler father and no-good step-father, but also because growing up, my own nuclear family was one of the only families I knew with both parents still married to their original spouse. Continue reading