||My mommy, Marcia, lives in Tampa fairly close to me and we see each other frequently. She's divorced from my dad and lives in the house she owns. Mom has interests in dentistry, stained glass, science, nature (especially ocean stuff, and she's been SCUBA diving), certain dogs, and of course, her awesome kids and grandkid. :) She also likes dancing and going on canoe trips. She has volunteered at hunger-related charities and likes to listen to podcasts and watch medical stuff, and is a really big Andy Griffith fan. She and I have a close relationship and try to help each other out where we can, and she's always been my number one fan! Mom is quirky and honest and always up for helping people in need.|
||My daddy, Marlon, lives in Sarasota, Florida and we see each other when we can. He's divorced from my mom and lives with his partner Connie. Dad works for a bank and has spent a lot of his life invested in his career, and he enjoys good movies, playing games with friends, socializing and going to meetings, science fiction, and sometimes golf. He plays piano very well and can also play guitar and knows his way around music. He keeps in touch with his kids and tries to see us when business trips or family occasions make it possible. He supports me in everything I do.|
||My sister Patricia lives in San Francisco with her husband Yusuke and her son Ash. We have occasional visits but mostly I have to keep in touch with her by telephone. My sister works for Kiva and is passionate about helping those less fortunate, and she enjoys cooking, knitting, traveling, and various forms of art. (She can even play the ukulele a little!) Being only a year younger than I am, Patricia and I grew up very close and were raised sort of like twins. She's always great to have a chat with and spend time with, and she shares my dislike of poor writing (as we've both worked as editors). She graduated from New College in 2001. She met her husband while living in Japan--they can both speak English and Japanese--and got married in 2009, and Yusuke got his Master's in nonprofit management in 2011. They became parents in December of 2013 when Ash was born, and are quite involved with raising a happy, healthy kid.|
||My sister Lindsay lives with her husband Mike in the Charlotte area in North Carolina, and we really only see each other when she visits for holidays. Her life is very busy because her job is really demanding; she's a manager at Gray's College Bookstore and she spends what little free time she has chilling with her husband or trying to catch some time to herself. Lindsay has an extremely well-developed sense of humor and is often the funniest person in the room. She married Mike in May of 2014. She loves and cherishes her dogs Chewy and Toki, and relaxes with music, movies, TV, and games--with a special interest in 311. She's five years younger than I am.|
||My maternal grandmother, Maura, is no longer with us, but I'll remember her fondly. She was mother to eight children and spent her life being a wife, mom, and homemaker. One thing she liked to do was play golf, and she could also sew very well--I have a couple of dolls she made for me when I was young. She also liked to volunteer, but who knows where she found time to do it. Family meals with my grandmother were always made special by her signature dishes, and her laugh was unique.|
||My maternal grandfather, Herb, is passed on but not forgotten. He ran several successful companies and was able to support his family of ten people; he was talented in the skills needed to provide for a family. He was a chemist and a gas expert, and he used to say that he worked on The Manhattan Project and that he was involved with the actual oxygen that went to the moon in a NASA mission. My mom said he was a really good dancer and could lead anyone. Grandpa had a silly sense of humor and really enjoyed goofy pranks, and he also loved dogs and called his children's dogs his "granddogs." He had catch phrases that those who knew him will never forget, and had a passion for good old-fashioned food.|
||My paternal grandmother, Marceline, lives in Sarasota, Florida. She's a retired singer and English/drama teacher. My grandma sang professionally for many years and was on Broadway a few times, and taught acting and English. She started her singing way back at age 13--with the Red Cross entertainment efforts during World War II!--and she majored in music at UCLA, becoming the first person in her family to go to college. She's a fan of music and art and theatre, and is passionate about good food and family. I see her for special occasions when I come to Sarasota, though she's now living separately from my grandfather where she can get extra help. We've always had a great rapport.|
||My paternal grandfather, Don, lives in Sarasota, Florida. He's a retired cantor and until recently played tennis regularly, and still loves singing and exercise. He knows a lot about health and food, and he always leads the family celebrations when we have holidays together. He and my grandmother were always the perfect couple and he is very dedicated to her. He's got an amazing ability and willingness to learn new things--he actually learned to use a computer at 89!--and he's one of the most patient people I've ever had the pleasure to know.|
Aunts and Uncles
||My mother's siblings numbered seven; that's right, she was from a big Catholic family of eight kids. My mother's older siblings are Kenny, Pattie, and Keith; her younger siblings are Denise, Jane, Greg, and Diane. Her eldest brother Kenny passed away in 1995 when I was in high school, but the rest are still with us . . . though I am not in touch with my mother's siblings anymore. Kenny was a zookeeper and teacher and lived with his partner Jake; Pattie is with her second husband Jim and has four children; Keith got married late in life to an aunt named Laura whom I have never met; Denise is married to my uncle Maury and has three children (plus she adopted two who were older than hers); Jane married Dean and had two children (but divorced later), and she's a nurse; Greg is married to my aunt Pam and has four children; and Diane is divorced from George and remarried to Michael, and has no children, but keeps lots of dogs. I mostly know very little about my mother's siblings because I had little contact with them throughout my childhood. I know Uncle Kenny was a nature guy and loved animals. I know Uncle Keith is a computer wizard. And I was pen pals with my Aunt Jane when I was a little kid. My Aunt Diane collected glass animals when she was younger (inspiring my sister to do the same), and I remember her making necklaces once with me when I was in elementary school. She was fairly close to my mother for a while when they were into SCUBA diving. I've seen these folks at family reunions and holidays, but the last time I was ever at a significant family gathering was when I was still in college.|
||My father's sister is his only sibling: my Aunt Elisa. Elisa and I see each other semi-regularly because she comes to visit her parents and I attend the family gatherings, but since she lives in New York City we aren't able to see each other but a couple times a year. She has a partner named Philippe, but she isn't married to him. She's an artist--a painter and photographer, and she dabbles in plenty of other arts--and she has an editing eye just like me. She spent some time in France and loves the country. She and I share a lot of tastes and experiences, and strangely enough--even though we don't look alike--my grandfather (her father) always accidentally calls me by her name. (Just me, not my sisters.) She's into music and some spiritual and artistic ways of life, and I value her influence in my life.|
||My cousins are all on my mother's side because my father's sister didn't have children. Because I'm not in touch with my mother's family, I'm not really in touch with my cousins either, and I didn't grow up with them except with vague contact at family reunions and visits. I was the eldest in the entire family (except for my adopted cousins Andrea and John, who lived with my Aunt Denise and Uncle Maury), and the next youngest cousin was about the same age as my youngest sister, so there wasn't a lot of room to connect even when we were around each other. In any case, I have family I haven't met, and I'm not even entirely sure I know all their names, but to the best of my knowledge I can rattle off who they belong to. I believe my Aunt Pattie's children are named Alexandra, Jimmy, Nicholas, and Alena; my Aunt Denise's children are Chris, Erin, and Cheryl; my Aunt Jane's kids are Alyssa and Michael (and I'm actually friends with them on Facebook); and my Uncle Greg's kids are Lizzie, Sarah Jane, Tommy, and Kenny (named after my deceased eldest uncle). I've at least been in the same room as all of them except I believe my Aunt Pattie's youngest daughter. I also enjoyed playing with Alyssa and with Chris and Erin at various weddings and gatherings.|
I have a few honorary family members, like most people probably do. My best friend from high school, Meghan, is someone I frequently call sister, and she named her daughter Katelyn after me (her middle name is my first name), and her son Benjamin was born because I introduced her to her husband. We've been tangled up in each other's lives forever, and her kids call me auntie.
Also my high school friend Heather is a step away from being my adopted sister because my mother took her in and she lived with my family for more than a year when we were teenagers, and many years later, she lived with my mom two other different times as an adult. My mother used to joke that she had "3.5 children" and called Heather the "point-five," and Heather has been known to send my mom Mother's Day cards.
My father's side:
My father's side of the family is of Hungarian and Russian Jewish heritage. I actually met my great-grandmother--my grandfather's mother, Grandma Mary--when I was very young. My grandfather's father was named Max, but I never met him. Grandpa Don had a brother: my great-uncle Lawrence. On my grandmother's side, I know a little further back. My great-great-grandparents were Benjamin and Chava, who gave birth to my great-grandmother--Perel (Pearl)--in Russia, and my other great-great-grandparents were Samuel and Etla (Ethel), who gave birth to my great-grandfather--Motel (Max)--in Russia. Both of those great-grandparents were born in 1892. My great-grandparents Pearl and Max got married in Russia in 1910 and immigrated to the USA, arriving at Ellis Island in 1911. They quickly began to have children, and had four survive to adulthood--the youngest being my grandmother. All of the children were born in St. Louis. My grandmother's older sisters and brother--my great-aunts and uncle--were named Sylvia, Bernice, and Lester. They all married (to folks named Hyman, Jack, and Louise, respectively).
My mother's side:
My mother's side of the family is of French and German Catholic heritage. My grandfather's side was the French one, but I don't have much of his information. All I know is that my mother briefly met my great-grandfather, Herbert Sr., when she was a child, and that he was a World War I veteran. And his father--my great-great-grandfather--was named Michael. I don't know my great-grandmother's name on that side. I have a LOT of information from my grandmother's side, though.
From the time of my great-great-grandparents, my grandmother's side was born in the United States, mostly in and around Buffalo, New York. But my great-great-great grandparents' generation looks to be pretty solidly from Germany. The farthest back I have are two great-great-great-great-grandfathers and one great-great-great-great-grandmother. My great-great-great-great-grandfather Gerhard (born in 1781) married my great-great-great-great-grandmother Maria (born in 1791). Their son Francis (born in 1814) married my great-great-great-grandmother Theodora (born in 1828). Their son Henry (born in 1859) married my great-great-grandmother Theresa (born in 1859). Their son Ralph (born in 1886) married my great-grandmother Elizabeth (born in 1888). Their daughter was my grandmother, Maura.
And to pick up the missing ones, my great-grandmother Elizabeth had parents named Louis (born in 1858) and Magdalena (born in 1860). Magdalena's parents were Frederick (born in 1827) and Elizabeth. Louis's parents were Jacob (born in 1816) and Elizabeth (born in 1818). My great-great-grandmother Theresa's parents were named John (born in 1833) and Anna (born in 1842). And I know the name of my great-great-great-great grandfather who was Jacob's father: His name was John. Hmm, I apparently have a lot of Elizabeths in my family.
My grandmother, Maura, was one of seven children. My great-aunts and -uncles were Theresa, Ralph, Ruth, Louis, Beatrice, and Mark. They all married except my great-uncle Ralph who was a reverend. Leaving out Ralph, their spouses were named Paul, Charles, Wilma, Robert, and Joan, respectively.
I've never personally had any pets that were mine, because I'm not an animal person. I was given a hermit crab once that died immediately, while my sister Patricia had one that lived for a while. When I was growing up my sister had a bunny named Snowflake at one point, and a cat at one point, and a parakeet named Cracker (who died, after which she got another one named Midnight). Later she had a newt and betta fish.
The family had a dog named Chelsea when we were very small, but she met a sad end when she got hit by a car. When we got older we got a family dog named Puppy. Puppy was a blonde, blue-eyed dog who was very excitable, and she had puppies when she was the dog equivalent of a teenage mother, but we found homes for them. Puppy died when I was in college. During the same time we also had an iguana for a while. I think we named him Phydeaux. My mom gave him away to a woman who really knew how to take care of iguanas. My family then got three more dogs (yes, they had them all at the same time): Hoover, Charlie, and Roxanne. My mom found other homes for them when she had to move, but Charlie got returned to her when he ran away from his new owner and happened to be chipped to her. She eventually found him another home again.
My sister Lindsay eventually got her dog Pork Chop, who passed away in early 2014, and currently has her dog Chewy. My dad and Connie have two dogs named Max and Honey.