Wednesday, August 3, 2011


My mom has always been a little vague about her side of the family. I was close with my grandparents before they passed and my grandmother's sister. I know my Uncle and his family, plus some of cousins on my grandmother's side of the family, but my grandfather's family has always been shrouded in mystery. All I know is my Boppa, who was Irish Catholic, fell in love with and married my Nana, who was Irish Protestant. Everything went to shit after that and my Boppa was practically disowned. My mother carries the grudge like the Olympic Torch, never letting the flame die out.

Tonight, on the way to gym, she revealed that her cousin (my Boppa's niece)had called the night before. Apparently her brother had passed away at the end of July. I asked if they were still in Canada, which is where my great-grandparents emigrated to from Ireland. "No," she said. "She's in Massachusetts."

For as long as I can remember, I don't recall her ever mentioning that we have family less than a two hour drive away. My grandparents settled in Boston, which is where my mom and her brother were born and raised. I have faint memories of my Great Aunt Mary, my Boppa's sister, living in Boston.

My mom must have sensed my interest (I'm into geneology and caught onto this lead like freaking Sherlock Holmes) because she started mentioning who was who and most of them were alcoholics. She also was quick to remind me that she doesn't associate with them "not after how they treated your grandfather". I didn't point out that most of "those" people are probably dead.

I choose my battles.

My grandfather is almost like a paranormal or mythological creature in my mind. I've heard stories of his abilities as a fortune teller, where he used a deck of cards and was well known for his accuracy. These stories fascinate me. Did he inherit this gift from his father? I want to know his family - my family, after all we share DNA. The elders are passing away and with them, they will take an untold history. A history probably more richly remembered than the bitter recollections shaped by a decades old grudge.

I choose my battles and my next move will most likely create one. My mom made a choice to ignore her relatives, but she can't make the same decision for me.