Jilara (jilara) wrote,

PC Family History (aka rewriting the past)

Maybe I'm too much of the historian. I hate rewrites of reality.

My brother, on the other hand, lives and breathes to reinvent. When the Finnish branch of the family asked for some of the background of the branch in America, I was told in no uncertain terms not to reply.

That's probably because I would have told them that our grandfather was illegitimate, and ran away from home (at age 14) after his mother's death because his stepfather would beat him senseless. Since the Finnish family is decended from the stepfather, this probably is not PC. However, based on information from my aunt, I even know who our grandfather's biological father was. However, according to my brother, I was "misinformed." ("Everyone in Finland looks just like us, therefore Knut Baeckman *has to* be our great-grandfather." I point out that we all had the same great-grandmother, but he won't hear it.)

But my brother, sigh, just keeps reinventing. I was startled to learn from my niece that my mother supposedly died of cancer, when she actually committed suicide. Death is a favorite reinvention of his. The uncle who was alcoholic and died of cirrosis of the liver died of a heart attack, likewise my godmother, who mixed alcohol and barbituates. In our family papers, I found the original marriage certificate for our grandparents. They were married on August 7th, while our father was born on March 27th of the same year. My brother now insists that either the certificate year was messed up, or our father's birth certificate was messed up. I point out that our grandfather was a known utopianist free-love advocate, and my brother claims we have no way of knowing that he actually practiced that.

But then, my brother John reinvents his own life, too. He now claims he was never a hippie. (Well, okay, he had a real job while he was, but...) "I saw you with your full beard." "Oh, I must have been growing it for the Wild West days." "You were wearing overalls and no shirt." "You must be mixed up." "Father almost disowned you." "You definitely are mixed up." "You told me about all these interesting places in the Haight..." "I never hung out in the Haight." (Never mind that folks who were there at the same time he was have confirmed every detail of these accounts.)

Sigh. Little Sister must give him ulcers. He's never dealt well with my many and unconventional relationships. I don't think it ever sat well that I'm poly. I think I'm also supposed to conveniently forget he was living with his current wife for over a year before they were married.

But I now know why historians and geneologists pull their hair out...

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