June 20, 2006

Weekend Wrapup - Just When You Think You Know Who You Are...

Dna(Yeah, so there's no "what I did this weekend" video. I think I had pretty much done the genre of "fun things in Chicago shot on the worst quality camera ever" to death. Plus, an actual real digital video camera might find its way into my life soon, and then I'll really be able to do cool stuff.)

I did a bit of travel this weekend, to northern Indiana to help celebrate my aunt's 90-somethingth birthday, and sort of my grandma's 90-somethingth birthday as well. Yes, I should know exactly how old they are. Bad Bella.

The scary thing is, all the women on that side of the family are
able to have babies well into their '40's, and live to be at least one
hundred years old, even if they did things like smoke like chimneys
their whole lives. Must be those good German peasant genes (hmm...more
on that below). My grandma literally has less grey hair than I do. I
think I'd better start taking supremely good care of my health. If I'm
going to live to be 102, I'd rather be a spry, sharp old lady than a
withered, drooly one.

met a bunch of third and fourth cousins for the first time, and
reconnected with some closer ones who I haven't really hung out with
since they were kids. Two of them live in California. One, J., is a
really cool girl who just finished a business degree and has gotten
into acting and comedy, and her brother, M., is an engineer whose firm
is hoping to work on the new generation of space shuttles. (!!) They also think my comedy writing aspirations are cool. This, of course, makes them my favorite new people in the world.

M. reminded me that his grandma (my grandma's sister), a sweet girl
who grew up on a farm in Indiana, lived in Hollywood along with some of
our relatives for
awhile during the Golden Age, and was the secretary for the manager of
the Three Stooges. (Imagine the phone messages you'd have to transcribe
for that bunch.) This reignited the conversation about all of our
family ties to Old Hollywood.

Cousin M. did a little chatting with the elders and helped us almost get to the bottom of the "Jeweler to the Stars" family history mystery that I Eugene_joseff_1wrote
about awhile back. Apparently, Eugene Joseff, who designed 80% of all
jewelry seen in Hollywood movies in the '30's, '40's, and '50's was,
indeed, part of my grandma's family. More details to follow on that.

Also uncovered during the ensuing conversation with the elders is
that hey, guess, what, we're not as plainly German as we always
thought. (Seriously, my whole family is the blondest bunch of Nordic
looking people you've ever seen in your life.) The part of the family
that Eugene Joseff is related to us
through apparently had strong Jewish roots (is this why he
didn't use his original surname of Glasser?), which put them in the
position of facing some persecution in the old country, and they
converted once they got to America.

Map_of_europeWow, I feel like Madeline Albright.
I have a mysterious secret past. Of course, in terms of percentages,
this only makes me about 1/16th Jewish, the same fraction of my blood
that is Spanish. And I'm pretty sure nobody has ever looked at me and thought "Hey, I wonder if that Latina is Argentinian or Cuban?"

So, if you want to do a hyphenated over-explanation of my
heritage, I guess I'm

(Do you think that will fit neatly on a t-shirt?)

No comments: