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11 May 2002 @ 10:22 am
Yearning for the Fatherland  
With Gunn going to Turkey (hopefully!), I've been thinking about what it would mean for me to go to Germany, the ancestral homeland that I know nothing of, of which I am a direct descendant. This is a decidedly un-PC thing to say, but in a lot of ways, I often feel that I have no heritage, no legacy to fall back upon, and at the same time, I feel that I can't lay claim to anything German. My family instilled a deep-seated pride for the Norwegian heritage that we have, and this is all that I know about. All of my mother's ancestors are German - more than half of my father's are.

People in Park Falls (the town where I was born) call this "Nazi guilt," but nobody talks about what it means. Kindof an "eh, that's Nazi guilt." Since WWII, nobody has been proud to be German. Virtually everybody in PF can claim it as their heritage, but nobody does. People still eat German food, and drink German beer, but everything else about what it means to come from the Rhineland (where most of the immigrants to Northern WI are from) is lost to them, within the span of a single generation.

Flash forward to Macalester. Damn if there aren't people from everywhere else in the world here. But I don't know any Germans. I know people who can proudly claim their heritage from Jordan, Croatia, Pakistan, Romania, India, Bulgaria, Norway, Jamaica, and the Sub-Continent. I know people who have lived on six continents in their lifetime. I don't know any Germans. Maybe I just don't get out enough.

So, question for today - what's your heritage, if it matters to you, and why?

If it doesn't matter to you, why? Because lately, I just can't quite understand.
Current Music: Gravity Kills - Guilty
Never shoot smack in Cincinnatisharpshinyclaws on May 11th, 2002 12:15 pm (UTC)
It's weird. My name is Bridget Callahan, and I am part Irish, but the other half of me is Polish and somehow I can't identify with that side. We celebrate all Polish holidays, but I always just say Irish when people ask. I mean, its a trendy thing to be anyway. People love the Irish. Okay, so only Irish love the Irish, but Irish boys are cute. So yeah, I guess I use my heritage to pick up boys in pubs.
Oυτιςerragal on May 11th, 2002 12:16 pm (UTC)
And I'm guilty, and I'm guilty, and I'm guilty, and I'm guilty
And you're guilty too

Ye know my heritage is much the same. My father's family is entirely Norwegian. Hell, my great grandparents spoke Norwegian and had accents. My mother's family is split with my maternal grandfater being German and my grandmother being sort of a mix o' the British Isles... various Scottish clans mostly. The clans McNeill and Morrison figure prominently. Anyways on the Nolte side (maternal grandfather) the heritage is traced as far back as an 11th century knight of the Black Forest. The Norwegian's aren't so big into the genealogy thing so I don't know the distant roots on my father's side of the family. There was something about the family name being Schrude or something originally.

I'd love to go to Germany, Scottland, or Norway (pining for the fjords!). There's always a place in my heart for the liquor of those countries... mmmm beer, whiskey and potatoe vodka.
I like most German and Scottish cuisine... mmm meat. Lefse is awesome! I could do without lutefisk. Something about fish and lye going together just doesn't seem right...

Both my mother and father's sides of the family are from around Minnesota. I have relatives I don't even know living less than 50 miles away. There are also all kinds of weird family connections here. Look at the number of academic buildings around here named Nolte. Of course it was Neill who was the founder of Macalester. That's where I got my middle name.

Edward D. Neill</
A Carnot engine of self-loathingcalypsomatic on May 20th, 2002 02:04 am (UTC)
Hey! Tell me that the pining for the fjords reference is to Adrian Mole! Or tell me I'm crazy!
Oυτιςerragal on May 21st, 2002 06:23 pm (UTC)
Yep, you're crazy. I got it from a Norwegian blue parrot.
Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!
XCorvisxcorvis on May 11th, 2002 01:08 pm (UTC)
I wish I had some heritage, but I'm too American. No-one existed before my Grandparents. Heritage means "what they left me in the will." :P

Mom is doing family geneology now. Grandma used to do it, but she's a bit too out of it now. Mom is going nuts with it. Apparently some of our ancestors came to America before the Mayflower, and there is a signifigant number of ministers on mom's side of the tree.
masui on May 11th, 2002 02:08 pm (UTC)
Irish Scot-the devil's breed.
me great grandad Gilpin built a town in PA called Leana. It's in the Poconos.
The past is prologuenemoren on May 11th, 2002 03:12 pm (UTC)
I know a German guy at Mac. His name is Jeff; he was in my comm class, and used to work on the FE at WF, and now works at Dog Days. He's the one who borrowed a dog for the last day of class.

I'm part German, Irish, Welsh, Swiss, Swede, and Polish. Growing up we really didn't do any special heritage holidays, but the things we did do for Christmas and suchlike often borrowed from Poland and Germany. Like eating kielbasa on Easter, or Pumpernickel bread.

I'm more Polish than anything. Dad's mum was Polish, Mom's mum was (half, but she considered herself) German. Therefore, that's what we celebrated.

When I think of my heritage, I think Polish, German and Irish, in that order (mostly because everybody assumes I'm the latter). I'd like to go to Poland someday. It's not really a much-glorified part of the world (like Ireland, say) and it sounds pretty darn cool. It had a history at one point of being a cultural and intellectual center, and even with all the WWII and post-war shit that went on there, they held together, and came out of it not too bad. My sister dropped in when she was running around Europe, and she liked it, too.

I'm from central PA. Home of the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch). There's all kinds of German pride going on out there, mostly with the older generations.

PA also lays claim to the distinction of having more individual factions of hate groups than any other state. The two are probably not connected..
Abra SWcloudscudding on May 12th, 2002 12:06 am (UTC)
Prussian. But you knew that. Not even only Prussian, but Prussian Mennonite. And noble on my father's side.


The best jokes are in languages nobody speaks anymore.
King of the Voidabaddonx99 on May 12th, 2002 10:19 am (UTC)
Half Breed
Welsh/Mexican mix. And not just Spanish immigrant Mexican, like full blown native Mexican here. My family does both. We put stuff up for day of the dead, and on Christmas eve we serve a whole crapload of tamales and beans and spanish rice, then on Christmas day for dinner we have a big pot roast and Yorkshire pudding and mashed potatos and peas. But at the same time, I don't really feel connected to either side.
Gayle Madwinqueerbychoice on May 15th, 2002 05:30 pm (UTC)
I'm German, Irish and English, in about equal measures, plus smaller amounts of Dutch and Scottish. My last name is German, but it's rarely recognied as such because during WWI my great-grandfather changed the pronunciation to sound less German so that his fellow Americans wouldn't harass him so much. (His first name was Otto, which tended to draw a lot of attention; he changed that too and started going by his middle name, which was Valentine.)

My heritage doesn't mean a whole lot to me. The Irish portion of the family (via my maternal grandfather) is the only part that makes any noise about celebrating their heritage, but their heritage revolves mostly around Catholicism and I'm a lifelong atheist who grew up with two agnostic parents so I don't really relate. The closest I can come to feeling nay sense of connection with heritage at all is to say that I really like the Irish peanut-butter-and-potato candy that my mother sometimes makes. But that candy is the only piece of connection to any portion of my heritage that I've ever really enjoyed or even thought much about.
Moxie Crimefighterdrowdancer on May 17th, 2002 10:34 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm a MONGREL!
Oh, boy. You all have it so simple. The key word for my heritage is Wanderlust. My dad has been telling me his heritage all my life as the short little list: Dutch [DeSmith, originally DeSmidt, is Dutch], Danish, Swedish, Polish. So I asks him, when did your side of the family come to the U.S.? And he says, it was a French sea captain. And i says, as i'm sure you can imagine, DAD! THAT'S NOT DUTCH DANISH SWEDISH POLISH! YOU MAKE ME CRAZY! So. Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Polish, and a Crazy French Sea Captain from my dad.

Now. My mother's family is gypsies. You can kind of follow the progression up Europe. Anyway, the farthest back we can get is Egypt. So, Egyptian, Italian, Spanish, Bohemian [yes before it and Moldavia and that one other i can't ever remember got plowed together by Hitler into the lump once known as Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic], German, Scottish, Iriquois, and Pennsylvania Dutch. Um, my crazy grandmother doesn't agree with my crazy great aunt and for some of the stuff I just said, LOOK! And then I put it on the list until i could find out which of them was wrong. And my mother's family is Catholic, so the damn nosey Mormons don't CARE about my geneaology so i can't just go ask THEM. [but i love Sara Allsop, so i can say whatever bad things i please about Mormons, because she redeems them. Or something. I don't actually give a damn.]

Anyway, ask me in person someday about my wanderlust. I flail a lot and scream and jump and freak out and stare with my crazy eyes and a facial twitch and writhe and thrash. It's really amusing. This year it was really desperate. LUCKY FOR ME I'VE SPENT FIFTEEN HOURS IN A CAR IN THE LAST FOUR DAYS! And I live an hour and a half away from Mac.

Oh, I'm such a filthy gypsy. The End.
kitkatlj on May 28th, 2002 06:52 am (UTC)
You should've come to Mac Soup the night we harrassed the gamers to come (Pho night). Nico Dornemann, founder & head cook, considers himself more German than American from what I can tell. I suppose you could still come to some next year, too, if you're still around. :-)

My heritage is mostly German. In fact, I have German citizenship, though I haven't used it yet and when I do, probably plan to use it to get rights to work elsewhere in the EU. But still, I've got it and am a lot German.
lord and master of the broken childrenavatarofchaos on May 30th, 2002 09:55 pm (UTC)
here's to the mutts, huh
ok, not near as complicated a some, but alot of unknowns too. so lets start simple...my grandmother on one side is pure norwiegn, and the other is half norway and half german. now my grandfathers on both side are a bit of a mystery. my mom's dad, when asked, said he was either "heinz 57" or "american", and on one occastion, aditted he was a big old mutt, all across europe.
but the fun one is my other grandpa. he was a bastard (in both a fig. amd lit, sense) and the family that birthed him disowned him, and refused to acknowlage him or any of his spawns to be part of thier blood. which as i understand, is how i get most of the rest of my mutt blood. my father once said "well, take out east asia, africa and there's a good chance there is something close to that in you somewhere."
so i guess, i never felt all that close to my liniage, just because i don't feel horridly close to this plane of existance, at a base level. and that's that.