Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Junction Path Rd.

I am reading a book right now called Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas. I am really enjoying it because of the author's voice, the stories she weaves, and the short-story feel each chapter possesses. However, the current chapter titled "It's all Relatives" was particularly influential on me.

It's about her big Persian family and how closely-knit they are. Here is an excerpt:
My father and his sibilings drivee one another to doctor appointments and pick one another up from the airport. If one goes for a checup, they all call for the results. They know which one of them has high blood pressure and which one is allergic to dairy products. They know one another's favorite foods and often use the knowledge to lure one another for visits. "Kazem, I just made rice pudding" is my aunt Sedigh's way of inviting my father over. His other sister, Fatimeh, has her own ewually effective siren song: "Kazem, the mulberries are ripe."
Together, my relatives form an alliance that represents a genuine and enduring love of family, one that sustains them through difficulties and give them reasons to celebrate during good times. My father and his sibilings have even purchased burial plots together because, as my father tole me, "we never want to be separated."
Before I married Francois, I told him that I came with a tribe--a free set of Ginsu knives with every purchase, so to speak. Francois said he loved tribes, especially mine. Now, whenever we visit my relatives, all of whom dote on my husband, I realize that he didn't marry me despite my tribe, he married me because if them.

That's from page 102-103.

When I was 16 or 17, I spent a lot of my time online chatting with people. I was a recluse, and it wasn't until my Sophomore year in college that I said to myself, enough. But, during that time, I used to chat with this guy who is Persian. His name is very similar to the aunt's name--hers is Sedigh and his is Sadegh. I keep thinking of him while I read this book and I haven't thought of him for about a year and a half. Call me cold-hearted, whatever. It's true.

Anyway, I have this issue with family. Mine is impossible. I have no idea who my father's real father is because his mother, my late grandmother, was a promiscuous, neurotic basket case who thought everyone was out to get her. My last name is courtesy of my uncle's biological father.

My mother's side, on the other hand, has about 10 different stories about where we all come from. Some say that we had a scandalous affair a few generations ago in Poland where our ancestor, a Duchess, rebelled against her family's wishes and married the love of her life and moved to Florida after a time. Another story is that my ancestors were farmers in Germany and we came over to Ellis Island. Another story that I have come up with is that my family signed up for scientific and political testing eons ago and, therefore, we are forbidden from unearthing our beginning because CIA, FBI, and other governmental agencies with acronyms refuse to share that secret with us. I like thinking I am highly classified.

My mom's sister tried to have a professional map out our family tree. This professional had no trouble getting my uncle's side of the family back to like, the 1800's or something, but she (or he?) came to a dead end after my grandpa.

I don't know anything about my family members. We are all experts in keeping to ourselves.


Emil said...

can i assign you a new last name? not that i dont like yours, just saying you have that right

ConglomerateBeauty said...

Assign away! I am not too fond of my last name, actually, so if it's at all possible to avoid any flower references, I would appreciate that.

Besides, I think your assigned last name would be as legit. :D