May 20th, 2008
"While I know that not everyone is an Oregon voter who will read this, I feel like I should remind everyone that it is election day here, and if you haven't voted yet, you should.
Sarah and I went out this morning and hung door signs to remind people to vote, and Kathleen and I are going to man the booth at Clackamas Community College for an hour this afternoon where people can turn their ballots in and then we get to take them to the county elections office. It isn't much, but Sarah sure enjoyed "helping people vote" and I think Kathleen will too. I want them to know that voting is important."
|Kat and Sarah -|
Happy, Smart, Friendly Girls!
In 2008, Joshua was 8 and twins were 6, and I remember wondering what it would be like to have had an African American President when I was in grade school. Will race seem substantially different to them? Will they be able to see themselves without thinking of the ethnic identities that run in their veins?
My older kids have a fascinating heritage, that is easily seen when you look at their great grandparents.
One great-grandfather and one great-grandmother are from India. They lived in Maharashria, and were of the Brahmin, or Priest caste. While socially well connected, financially they struggled, and in-fighting between their children caused decades of family rifts. My kids' grandfather was the youngest, and came to the US with his American wife, who he met while she was in the Peace Corps in India. After their first son was born, they moved to Walla Walla, Washington (to be close to her parents, who are the next set of great-grandparents I will talk about) My first husband is their second son, who was born in Walla Walla, but spent most of his childhood in Portland, Oregon.
One great-grandfather was a Russian immigrant, who came to the US as a young child. He worked his way through college, and then had a very successful military career, which consisted of a lot of things he could not talk about, even after retiring. That great-grandfather was married to their great-grandmother (who passed away this month and will be missed by many people, including me) who is a descendant of an apostate Mormon leader, (last name Davies) who left Utah while Brigham Young was the Mormon prophet, and started his own commune in Walla Walla, Washington, where he was the prophet who made all the daily decisions of the commune, as well as the huge decisions, like which polygamous marriages, and divorces would happen, when they would happen, and how all the money was divided up and/or spent. (The little we know about life in the commune comes from the court documents when he (Davies) was sued by former members of the commune, who wanted all of the worldly possessions they had given up, to be able to join the commune, back, after that they had left the commune.)
One great-grandfather who was German-Jewish, (he converted to the LDS faith after he was married and had his 3 children) and he was married to their great-grandmother, who was his high school sweetheart, and Catholic. Her parents were not overjoyed, but the war was on, and at 17, having the man you love going off to war was much more important than what religion you believed in. (They married right before he left for Italy, to be an aerial photographer.) It would be about ten years before her husband invited in the missionaries who shared the Mormon faith that they were faithful to. (She died suddenly in the middle of the night, after serving the entire day as a temple worker in the Portland, Oregon temple.) Both of these great-grandparents were only children, the father's mother died in childbirth, so he was raised only by his father. There is documentation to German Jews who were not able to leave Germany before Hitler started his slaughter of European Jews. (Exact details are fairly sketchy, and the maiden aunts who knew most of that history died by the time I was born.)
Their last set of great-grandparents were both raised in California. Their great-grandfather was raised as a Christian Scientist. His parents were writers for the Christian Science Monitor, covering California politics in Sacramento. His mother was also a faith healer and prayed, professionally, for those who sought her services. It was a paid position, kind of like a praying Reiki master and spiritual guru. As far as I know, none of their children remained Christian Science members as adults, and the son who became my children's great-grandfather never participated in any formal religion as an adult, although both of these great-grandparents were very involved in the Masons and Eastern Star. Their daughter, who became my mother, was Grand Worthy Advisor for the year after she graduated from high school, before she went to Cal Poly. This great-grandmother was raised in California but the family roots were firmly in the South. Although not overtly racist, the roots of racism ran deep, and her conscious choice not to be racist has been a blessing to the generations who came after.
With such a diverse background, you can probably guess that my oldest children pull from a variety of inherited interests and talents. They are LDS, and enjoy teaching their friends about their beliefs and sharing their testimonies with their friends, and their ward families during fast and testimony meeting. They are all artistic or creative in a variety of ways, and they love sharing what the write, draw, paint or sing, with the world. They all have poetry blogs (Josh also has a magic themed gaming blog) which you can find here, here, here and here. Their artwork has been professionally framed and hangs in the homes of their parents, grandparents, and some aunts and uncles. Sarah loves singing her first "rock song," appropriately titled "Kissed a Cow." They all love history. Joshua started volunteering at a National Historic Site as a child docent, and the twins have followed in his footsteps. Joshua is just starting to catch the fire for genealogy, partly because they are his ancestors, but more importantly because they led interesting lives and have good stories to tell. All of my children have the first names of family members, and the lives that those ancestors lived is worthy of study and emulation.
|Three "All American" - "All World" Kids|
The Legacy of some GREAT Great-Grandparents!
(Hiking in Oregon, the best place on Earth!)
They told me, and everyone they called, that even if I voted for the "wrong" person, everyone should still vote, because lots of soldiers have been killed making sure we get to vote. Two of their great-grandfathers, and both of their step-fathers have served in the military. They have helped me prepare boxes and cards to send to service members that we know, who are deployed, and choose things out to send to military families. This year, they have already been to two political rallies with their father, and they are not at all surprised to see a Mormon or an African American at the top of the ticket. They care much more about health care (their dad is a nurse) and making sure no one who is sick dies because they can't get medical care. They are worried about all of the children being killed in Syria. They don't want anyone to be hungry, not in the US, and not in the world.
My three oldest are idealists, in the best sense of that word. I am proud to be their mom, proud to have the chance to answer their questions. Even more, I am excited to see how their legacy goes forward, and what it will be like when they are in their mid-forties, and almost a third of the electorate will have been under 18 when the first black president was in office. Every once in a while I get a little glimpse of that future, as they discuss door hangers, political rallies, and a favorite poem. I hope they will take on the family roles of teaching, blazing new ground, changing the world and finding new dynamics. I know that as they do, those things which are unimaginable now, will make perfect sense to them. I will be left to shake my head and smile, wondering why I didn't think of doing THAT!
To end on a smile, this is a poem Joshua wrote in May of 2008. It still makes me smile, and shake my head. This was written by an EIGHT year-old. Why can't more adults be a little more like this eight year-old?
|Josh, the year that he wrote this poem!|
The earth is Cool
We get lots of good days in school
It is good to be in school
It feels good to my heart
It strengthens my mind
So that I am smart
I need to get smart
Until I am an adult
And people might say
“I lose at four-square”
But I try to stay in there
It warms my heart
Warmer each day
My heart gets harder,
Then softer as I pray.
Earth is good
It rotates so we get to sleep and then be awake
We have morning, evening and afternoon
We all stay on earth, except astronauts in space
(FYI, Scott and I got our ballots on Saturday, and they went out in the mail today!! YEAH!!! Hopefully it gets into the system soon, and we stop getting political junk mail!)