19 November 2007

Day 19

Back to the family. So mom. She's an interesting character. She grew up speaking Polish and lived in an immigrant community in Detroit. She has 53 first cousins between both sides of her family. Funny, since I have ZERO. That would be because mom was an only child. Both her mother and father came from large families, my grandmother was one of 6 and my grandfather was at least one of 6, possibly more. That's 10+ aunts and uncles, close to 20 when you count spouses, and all of a sudden 53 first cousins doesn't seem that odd. She's really only close with a handful of them. In such a big family, there are always the wacky ones, like the cousin who's been married and divorced from the same woman three times (currently they are married), the other cousin who wrote a redneck book about throwing a champagne wedding on a beer barrel budget. Then there's the stories of uncles and cousin's getting in a knife fight at a family wedding with the Italian wedding reception going on at the catering hall next door. Nice.

Back to mom. So in this crazy huge family of hers, she and one of her cousins are the only ones to have left the Roman Catholic church. For a while in high school she went to mass with her mother and then would meet a friend and her family to go to a protestant service at a Bible church downtown. This totally affected my view of religion and denominations and all growing up. Hard habits to break, and I've apologized to one Episcopalian college boyfriend for not being able to understand/communicate with him about our differences. Anyway, this was a big deal since it meant my grandmother always wanted my mom to marry a nice Catholic boy and come back to the church. Too bad she met my nice Baptist dad in college and stuck with him. Grandma tolerated him, but anytime my brother or I did anything wrong, we were "just like your father."

Lot's of drama on mom's side. And it only gets better. It's like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" except Polish instead of Greek. Those uber-religious immigrants know how to lay on the guilt real good.

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