- Posted June 8, 2014 by
Charleston, South Carolina
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Your modern family
Not WASP Anymore
I had thought my brother was the only dysfunctional piece of my family. That little aberrant sliver that made our life interesting.
My brother’s quick marriage and subsequently quicker divorce was a shock to our little family. Growing up in Rome Georgia in the 1950’s, aka Mayberry RFD, had prepared me for private school, cotillion and college. My brother was 10 years older than me and off into the Navy Submarine Corps by the time I was eight years old. And as I remember it, married by ninth birthday and divorced before I was ten. We adapted to all this with very little animosity only wanting to support my brother emotionally.
However, he next became a Mormon. Now there is nothing wrong with Mormons. We didn’t know any actual Mormons but we knew they were good upright people. But with my mother being a PK of the United Methodist Church and with a brother in law who was also a Methodist minister and with 2 nephews headed to divinity school at Duke, this was a lot to take in. He had always challenged my mom about all the hard-to-believe Bible stories. Well, gee whiz, the Mormons have the Bible and the Book of Mormon – full of hard to believe stories. We adapted to that as well. The Mormon Church actually saved his life after his wife’s abandonment when he was out at sea.
Fast forward ten years, the year is 1969 and I met my husband to be, a graduate of Wesleyan University from a nice Italian CATHOLIC family. Well, after my brother, this was nothing. Although in the 1970’s mixed marriages – religious, race or ethnicity were just beginning to occur. The Love Children were breaking down those barriers.
Ten more years, and Jack and I – in an effort to save the planet from over-population -- adopted a lovely little girl from Costa Rica. She was named Andrea and was a break your heart adorable 22 months old with dark curly hair and big brown eyes. Ten months later we had our own biological daughter, a sister for Andrea we named Gloria. Over the years the girls grew up in our little town of Honeoye Falls NY -- village not until “Mayberry.” They played soccer and sang in the school chorus and were very different in their approaches to life. Our adopted angel learned by experience alone. She took the long road and gave us one challenge after another. It was hard, very hard. Doubting ourselves. Learning how to speak her language. Going to court. Wishing things could be different. Waiting out long dangerous absences. Two amazing little boys later, she was back on the right path. Working hard and being a great mom herself. But the idiosyncrasies of our family were not done. Andrea’s source of strength was Yolanda, a young black woman of surprising intelligence, good humor and wisdom. Together they had a little girl by in vitro fertilization. Camryn is the star of the family and will be the flower girl in her Aunt Gloria’s wedding.
And here we are now: black, white, biracial, native Costa Rican, WASP and Italian, adopted, natural and in vitro, gay and hetero. All in one little American family. We were just living our lives prepared for one world and living in another. The world changed around us. Along the way, we lost three parents and one perfectly wonderful husband and father due to age and sudden illnesses. They were the source of all our light and encouragement through it all. One little modern American family.