Organizing for Action recently asked people to write their immigration stories. I’d have to go back several generations to capture the immigrant story that is my roots. (More)
Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.
I had a good friend who was a Winnebago. She died a few years ago. She used to laugh about sending us all back where we came from. I’d laughingly reply that 40% might be sent to Wales, 40% to Sweden and the 20% was a mixture of God knows what. I’d ask how she thought I should split myself up.
The Welsh part of my family was lucky enough to have some avid genealogists who handed us copies of their work. It seems that back to 1650 in Wales, every generation has at least one or more women named Mary. My great grandfather walked from Ohio to southern Minnesota to teach school. He was a dedicated record keeper and kept track of the miles of yarn that his wife knitted over a lifetime. She was a Mary too but was called Molly. Both of my Welsh grandparents’ families came here in the mid 1700′s.
My Dad’s Mom was an Olson and his father was a Jackson. Both good Swedes who met in Peoria. Their parents were the immigrants. I’ve no idea where in Sweden they came from. I’ve got handwritten Christmas cookie recipes from my grandmother. Fortunately my Swedish relatives abandoned lutefisk before I appeared. It literally means “lye-fish” and is a gelatinous white blob. Suffice it to say that the cookies and Swedish meatballs are enough of a food heritage.
Immigrants blend into the fabric of the country eventually. I am unusual in that I have mainly two countries of “where my people came from.” That’s what you get when your ancestors settle as rural farmers who married neighbors over the generations. And when they move to bigger cities, they find mates from other tribes with which to create their own families.
I believe that if we give the current immigrants enough time, someday their descendants will have a similar response to the question of where they came from. I welcome them.
Current wisdom says that we all came from Africa. I’m tempted to give that as my response from now on – just to put things in a proper historical context and drive the anti-immigrant crowd nuts.