Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Why I am the way I am?

Thanks to a suggestion by Lisa Alzo, the topic for the Carnival of Genealogy this time around is "What traits run in your family?" My family is more or less normal, whatever that is. So there is nothing extremely unusual or out of the ordinary, but this is probably more than you really ever wanted to know about us.

Physical characteristics.
  • The women were/are short. At 5'6" I'm the second tallest of my female cousins/relatives. The men stand taller, from about 5'10" to a bit over 6' in height, with a couple cousins and their kids in the 6-4 to 6-6 range.
  • Many of us are what you might call stout or, as my mother says, pleasingly plump. We got a double-dose, from both sides of the family.
  • Brown and hazel eyes are predominate, though mine are blue.
  • Dark hair also dominates, though my hair is blonde and starting to return to its original color, white.
  • My brothers and male cousins on my mom's side of the family are plagued by baldness.
  • It seems like we all wear glasses or have contacts. Several of us have had lasik surgery to be rid of the glasses but the years creeping up on us have meant a return to reading glasses.
  • Eyes in the back of your head? Not me, but my mother had the ability to know what we (us kids) were doing day and night, whether at home or not.
Health related issues.
  • Diabetes runs in both sides of the family including Dad, all of his siblings, and his father; my sister and one of my brothers has been diagnosed as has my mother and two of her sisters.
  • Longevity - especially from mom's lines - her dad lived to the day before his 98th birthday and her mother was 82 when she passed, quite a few ancestors lived beyond their 80th year - I was amazed at how many that lived in the 17th and 18th centuries made it into their 70s, 80s and even 90s.
  • No one that I know of in the last 5 generations of ancestors has had heart problems or died of heart disease, except my Dad.
  • My grandmother, Hazlette Brubaker Phend, was a stubborn lady who just didn't ever give up, a trait that has been passed down to more than one of her children and grandchildren. My mother and I are both stubborn women, which has, to say the least, caused a few conflicts. But I eventually learned that it occasionally pays more to "give in" at certain times; some things aren't worth the conflict. You have to pick your "battles" carefully and know when it is really important. I'd say I'm still a stubborn and determined person but not near as much as my mother, or my brothers!
  • In the summertime you could always find Grandpa Vic out in the garden. He totally loved working the soil, planting the seeds, hoeing the weeds, and sharing the fruits of his labor. He gave away most of what he grew. In addition to the vegetable garden he also had flower gardens. Growing up and living in a rural community, my family always had a garden and of course us kids had to help with it. I enjoyed it but my brothers didn't care too much for the work. I've had a garden since 1986, except for the last two years when I moved into an apartment. But I've planted some flowers in the little 8 x 10 space allowed for it and have some indoor plants that seem to be doing quite well.
Restaurants. Restaurants? Can working in restaurants be an inherited trait? Probably not, but it did run in the family.
  • My great grandmother, Maude, and her second husband Joe Yontz had a restaurant in Columbia City in the 1930s. Maude's brother Maurice Wise owned restaurants in Elkhart, Indiana and Sturgis, Michigan in the 1930s and 1940s. Grandma's brother, Bill Brubaker started working in a restaurant in Elkhart in the late 1920s and owned his own from 1927 to 1974. My grandmother managed a restaurant at Five Points in Fort Wayne for several years before opening her own restaurant "The Dairy Bar" in North Webster in the 1960s. That was my first "real" job and I worked there all through high school. My mom worked there also, as did several of my cousins. One of my cousins managed a restaurant for a few years in the 1980s. The son of another cousin tried his hand at it a few years ago, and a son of yet another cousin is currently the manager of a steak-house style restaurant and has been for about 15 years.
The desire to win.
  • Playing games in our family wasn't always fun. We all wanted to win, but as everyone knows, in order for there to be winners there have to be losers somewhere along the way. Mom always said we got that trait from Dad but I remember sitting at the table while mom and dad and my aunt and uncle played euchre or pinochle. It was almost always the men against the women and I could see that mom really, really enjoyed it when she triumphed over dad. So I'd have to say the desire to win came from both sides and having a double-whammy of that trait can sometimes lead to dangerous territory.
And then, there is that procrastination thing.
  • I don't know where that comes from! It's not too bad though. I did mail my taxes last Friday. And this post is being submitted before the deadline. But it has gotten worse since retirement. You know, more time, I can always do it later (whatever "it" is). I mean, I'm not doing nothing. I am doing something, just not necessarily what I should be doing. Oh well, things will get done when they get done!

1 comment:

Janice said...


What an interesting article! Regarding stubbornness, a desire to win and procrastination--do you believe those are "nature" (inherited) as opposed to "nurture" (learned habits)?