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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Heritage Is A Four-Letter Word. Twice.


Sharp sunlight is reflected and bounced off the deeply mottled turquoise of the harbor at Marbella - Puerto Banus - where the jet-setting beautiful people yacht-surf. Even I look like a beautiful person squinting happily into the camera, my frizzy hair backlit into a rusty glow.
“You look Irish,” my Mediterranean daughter says, and needlessly adds. “It doesn’t look at all like you.” I smile and smooth down the plastic holding the ancient photos in place. I run through my Irish ancestors, the Fitzpatricks and the Fitzgeralds, until I bore even myself. No one has ever met any of them, any of their descendents. There’s just me now, and my Iberian daughters prefer the ounce of Italian blood I claim.
“The Irish are drunks,” says my daughter’s boyfriend. I shoot him a look that he doesn’t understand, so I say:
“Yah, an thass only ta putap wittallaya that aren’t,” I say in a brogue taken from movies about Boston. The boyfriend looks up then, his dark eyebrows raised in confusion. The girlfriend shakes her head, rolls her eyes.
“What were you doing in Puerto Banus, anyway?” asks my proletariat daughter.
“A friend lent us a place his parents left him,” I say. “They were movie stars back in the forties. The apartment was small and ugly, though, so we spent every day in Malaga. We drove back and forth by the harbor, and one day I noticed a wooden sailboat with blue sail covers. We rode in to have a look and stayed all afternoon.”
I smile at the memory of those beautiful, outrageously expensive ships - the yachts and schooners and transatlantic cruisers - and I smile at the dirt poor couple strutting expansively under the sharp October sun. They looked a lot like my Mediterranean daughter and her boyfriend.
 “I wonder why I never thought to go to Ireland,” I say.
The daughter and the boyfriend look at each other, then get up and leave.
“Fine,” I say. “Erin go bragh.”

30 comments:

  1. You had me swept into the conversation, defensive for the Irish and everything. My favorite part was when she shot the daughter's boyfriend a look that "he doesn't understand." Great image.

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    1. Glad you were caught up in it, and thanks for sharing your favorite part.
      Thanks, Kristin!

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  2. hi, Kymm - thanks for linking up this week

    love the line about why Irish drink :) lol

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    1. Wasn't sure that line would translate, so glad it did.
      Thanks, Barbara! And thanks for being a judge! w00t w00t

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  3. Such rich and textured writing Kymm, and I love that they are paging through an old photo album with real pictures in it! Wonderful piece!

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    1. Glad I could take you there, Valerie. Thanks so much for the feedback, and the love!

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  4. Wonderful, as always, kymm. I love the line where she runs through her ancestors until she bores even herself. And the look the boyfriend doesn't understand. Richly textured scene!

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    1. You are too kind, Steph, but thank you!
      My Dad has been into genealogy big time. I actually had him in mind, boring me - hahaha.

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  5. As an Irish gal I say "Love it"!

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  6. I like the line about why Irish drink. Sounds reasonable!

    Photo albums are so rich with history. Even with the digital age, I print about thirty pictures a year to put in albums. (I guess so they can joke about how I look in old pictures :))

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    1. I'm so bad with photos it's beyond pathetic, but one of my daughters loves pouring over photo albums, so I really should print out a photo or two...
      Glad you agree about the drinking!!! Thanks, Janna.

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  7. i couldn't imagine not embracing every bit of my ancestry.
    this took me back to sitting with my grandma, going through her old photos, i just wish she had lived long enough to share all those memories!

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    1. Funny you should say that. All my "ancestry", photo albums and such, is back in the States - I haven't seen those old photos in decades.
      Thanks for reading, Renada!

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  8. Great use of language and very funny dialogue.

    This was conversational and funny.

    well done

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    1. I'm so glad you found it funny. I love humor, but am insecure about it.
      Thanks, Lance!

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  9. I love this. The whole scenc and conversation is hysterical. As an uber gringo among many Latinos, I relate. :)

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    1. lol Uber Gringo. Hahaha
      I'm so glad you were amused! And thanks for the love, lumdog!

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  10. Very intense imagery, and the proletariat daughter compared to the ex jet-set wishing mother with her romantic Irish dreams - Bostonian ones of course, not quite Dublin - is very funny!

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    1. Thank you so much, Managua, especially for finding it funny!

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  11. I love this story. Your images are strong, and the conversation is fantastic. Brava!

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    1. Thank you so much for the love, Brenda, and for visiting!

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  12. Lovely story Kymm! The narration feels almost wistful. I love the interaction between mother and daughter (and boyfriend) – believable and natural. Gorgeous writing, as always!

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    1. Wistful... yeah, for time gone by I guess.
      Thanks for the love, Suzanne, (and for the compliments!!!)

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  13. Really wonderful. Great visuals

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    1. Thank you so much, H.L.! Glad you enjoyed it.

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  14. You pulled me in to a conversation that could have happened in many a household, as if I were right there. That was very cool!

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    1. The Irish have a way of pulling you in... Did you have a hangover later? haha
      Thanks so much for the "cool", Tina!!

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  15. I enjoyed this a lot. The writing is fluent, but never superfluous, the imagery is striking, and the piece as a whole touches on interesting themes of identity and belonging. It seemed to me that the narrator quite enjoys her sense of "otherness" - a sort of private rebellion against conformity, reminding her of her days as a free-spirited wanderer.

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    1. So glad to hear you enjoyed it.
      Thank you so much, calliaphone, for your kind words and and perceptive insights!

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