I'm a Bit Irish - and everything else!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! While everyone is a little Irish on this day, I really am a little Irish! I grew up most of my thinking I was mostly German with a little Irish thrown in for good measure - a fantastic combination of temper and stubborn, if not a bit plain. But several years ago, I had a conversation with my Grandmother Brunner that made me realize I had a much more colorful heritage than I thought. Yes, there is the German and Irish. However, she went on to tell me about how her grandfather grew up in eastern Austria and her grandmother in western Poland. She was mortified as a child to learn her grandmother's maiden name was "Chernovsky." "We can't be Polish!" she recalls thinking mortified - because that's when people were making a lot of Polish jokes. I have two plates belonging to my great-great-grandmother Chernovsky (well, I think Smith or Kreuger or Mueller might have become her married name - I was chuckling at the story and don't remember!) in my dining room and it makes me smile each time I look at them. My grandmother also told me about the English in my heritage. She remember her two aunts from England who lived in New York. She remembers they visited once when she was young - they always called them "the sisters." Grandma Brunner doesn't remember too many of the details now, and perhaps that's the morale of the story - don't wait to hear the stories of your family's history. I never had a chance to have a similar conversation with my Grandma Reith - I wonder what she'd have recalled? I do know her mother had the best name - if not the longest! - in the family - Willamina Anakatrina Kresbach Winter. They called her Minnie. Grandma Reith passed away several years ago, but Grandma Brunner will turn 88-years old this week. Happy birthday, Grandma! And thanks for helping me appreciate where I came from.



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