My distant background is not very well known to me, but I do know that I have a diverse and turbulent one. I know my grandparents well and visit them once a year at least. Grandma B. lives only about ten miles away. My family used to see her every week. Traditionally we visited: my Grandpa Roger at Thanksgiving in Redding; spent Christmas with Grandma B. in Napa and now in Sacramento; and then visited Grandma Jan and Grandpa Mike for a week or two in Idaho.
Although I do not know the history of my family very well, I do know about some of the family problems. My father’s parents are split up, and my Grandma B remarried numerous times. She had seven siblings, and was the youngest of them. She does not remember having a very happy childhood. My mother’s family is still together, but it has been reduced. Two of her brothers have died, and the remaining one still holds some bitterness toward his father for his old drinking habits.
Fortunately my Grandpa has stopped, for good, now. My mother’s brother’s names are Bruce, Brian, and Kirk. Kirk suicided when he was a teenager. Brian died in a car accident when he was drunk.
I had a great grandfather and great grandmother on my mother’s side that died while I was younger. I still have one great grandmother that is alive on my mother’s side, and none on my fathers. My last name came from my Grandpa Roger Nelson. My Grandma B is short for Grandma Dorothy Brignoli. That was changed from Brignouli for ease of spelling. My mother’s family had the name Williams, with Rose and Ladd for my great grandparents. I have many cousins, and know only a few of them. At a recent family reunion I got to meet many of my relatives who I may never see again. My ethnicity is a mixture of Swedish, German, French, Mexican and Irish, but both my parents were born in the United States.
My Grandpa Mike is very knowledgeable about living in the far north and how to survive in those conditions. He knows many people who hunt deer and moose and he himself still fishes. He also has raised ducks and has all sorts of wild life visit. They have quail, muskrat deer, mink, frogs, geese, and beaver in there backyard and sometimes they have random guests like turtles. Strangely my Grandma has a phobia when birds get too close to her, but loves to watch them from her porch or window. They will tell us of how the wild-life is faring and what new kinds of creatures they have.
My Grandpa Roger still lives on a farm with four dogs, a cat, and a few horses. He lives with Shar, and the both used to ride horses a lot. They know all about the different breeds and many of the contests. They used to go on very long horse rides won some ribbons for their horses.
My mother and father share many of the experiences that my grandparents do, but they also have done very different things in their life.