Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Inherited Traits

Little Cuter wonders if I'm more like G'ma or Daddooooo.

I always thought that I was my father, incarnate, until I realized that it was possible to remake yourself into a kinder, softer, more accepting version of that which both entranced and terrified you.  "You're just like your father," G'ma would snipe when the hangries got the best of me.

Yes, she sniped.  It never felt like a compliment coming from her lips.  Sad, but not tragic, I suppose.

I have his strong upper body and, according to my siblings, Daddy's limp.  Again, sad, but not tragic.

Like him, I love Gilbert and Sullivan and Shakespeare and Mozart.  Like him, I am always enrolled in some class or other; people notice when I take a break, as they worried when he stopped showing up for class at Queens College.  I send postcards (often obscene, as his were, to test USPS's moral code) for no particular reason at all, each time remembering my delight when his travels took him to Oconomowoc and other oddly named places for no reason (it seemed to me) other than the chance to send me their hometown postcards.

On the other hand, he was chocolate and I am vanilla.  He went to synagogue and I avoided it as often as possible.  He lived tethered to his parents; I moved as far away as I could.  He used to make me cry and wonder why;  I tried hard not to replicate that particular piece of his parenting strategy.

G'ma and I shared a love of libraries and librarians and well-written fiction, of finding a hairdresser and never letting her go, of doing laundry on the same day every week.  I like to think that I am less judgmental than she was, but I do have my moments, in spite of myself.  We bonded over stationary of all sorts, and took pleasure in writing notes to everyone, for everything.  Making lists, over-packing, forgetting things that others remember easily - the overlap is scaring me as I type it out.  I'm wearing elastic waist pants and skirts just like she did, and my varied collection of  Vera Bradley purses reminds me of her Fall/Spring/Summer SportSac's... the last one, untouched since she died, resting quietly on a shelf in the garage.  Like her, there are some artifacts I just can't abandon.

And so it went, over and over, until I got out of bed this morning and gallumphed to the sink to brush my teeth.  The mirror answered the question.  I am my father. 
This is his eyebrow.

What it's doing on my face is an unsolved mystery.


  1. I am a total fan of elastic waistbands. As for the eyebrow, I'm told that threading can thin that out. My eyebrows are now almost invisible, so they're all safe from removal.

    1. Belts are vastly overrrated! And the tweezers do a great job of keeping that eyebrow in line.


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