My tribe is my family.
It started with my Grandma and Grandpa Kaufman. (I know, I know – it actually started MUCH earlier than that but they are the ones that were physically in my life)
I come from hearty Swedish, German stock on my mother’s side.
The other part of me – that I get from my father’s side – ah – who cares? I know I don’t. Nothing against the nationalities but I prefer to forget my father and his side of the family if I can.
My Grandma’s family came here from Sweden. My Grandpa’s family – from Germany. They were both born in the late 1800’s.
My Grandpa – Leo – died when I was six months old so I never had the pleasure of getting to know him. But I have pictures of him holding me. They are my treasure. My mom tells me about him though. I would have adored him. He was a blacksmith in the army during World War I. He was a farmer, Chairman of the Town of Lake and Veteran’s Service Officer for Marinette County. Whenever someone needed help, he was there to lend a hand, loan equipment out, take care of people. Gosh, I wish I could have known him. My mom is a lot like him in so many ways – especially in the way she deals with people and also her acute political acumen.
My Grandma, my wonderful Grandma – Anna – whom I miss each and every single day and think about all the time. She died back in 1987. She would have been 92 that year. A strong, intelligent, independent and loving woman, she owned her own land and owned her own car as a single woman She was a school teacher. She put herself through Teacher’s College and taught in a one-room school house. The same one-room school house my Grandpa attended when he was a child, where my mom, uncles and cousins all went and where I also attended first grade. I still hear compliments from family members of pupils she once taught who cannot say enough about my Grandma. I can feel her always near. And once in a while I swear, I swear I catch a whiff of her scent – from her cooking – or some other wonderful aroma attached to her memory. It’s comforting.
My Mom. Shirley – What a glorious lady. She is my idol. She is the epitome of what I hope to aspire to but not sure I’ll ever be able to emulate. She is my rock and I cannot fathom my world without her in it. I cannot say enough about her strength, tenacity, convictions, , intelligence, abilities and the incredible person she is. There isn’t much she hasn’t done. She has the ability to bridge gaps and work with people who have opposing viewpoints in such a way that is amazing. Why? Because she is fair. She doesn’t discriminate. I get my love of politics from her as well as her sense of humor. Her sense of humor is delightful. We can fall down in a fit of giggles for no reason at all. People think we’ve been drinking but my mom doesn’t drink. It’s just good old fashioned fun. The oddest most peculiar things happen when she is around – silly, crazy things that leave you scratching your head and smiling for days. A better mom, you’d be hard pressed to find.
My uncles. Uncle Ted and Uncle Tom – my mom’s brothers. Two of the most fantastic men you’ll ever meet. They never married but should have. They would have been the best husbands and fathers. They can be cantankerous at times and they aren’t known for wearing their hearts on their sleeves. But doubt their love for me? NEVER. They spoiled me rotten growing up. And now, they do the same to AnneShirley. They are also my rocks. My world is incomplete without them in it. I am so blessed to have them for my uncles. If you have ever seen the movie, “Secondhand Lions” – you’ll have a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about when it comes to the “Uncs”, as I like to call them.
My husband. Jess is my best friend and the love of my life. I knew on our second date that we would marry. I wasn’t looking for a husband. But we clicked from the moment we first were “set up” by our mutual friend Jill. It was like finding something you’d lost long ago but didn’t realize it until you found it. It was like we were made for each other. We don’t get sick of one another. We like the same things and every minute we are together is like a never-ending slumber party or play-time with a best friend. I’m blessed beyond belief to have him for my husband. He gets me and believe me, that is no easy task because I think I leave plenty of people scratching their heads with the things I come up with and like. *cough cough Wolf Girl, Fishy…
My daughter. AnneShirley – The light of my world. Only four years old but I can’t remember what life was like without her in it and what’s more, I don’t want to. She delights and amazes me each and every single day.
Anything and everything that is good and decent about me, I get from these people – my family.