Multiracial Family Stories

Since my last post, something has slowly dawned on me: my whole family's immigration and migration story is interesting and valuable.

Sometimes, I devalue the experience of the white side of my family because it is one of the things that makes me different from my friends. I wish that I knew more about my black family in Georgia and that I could talk about being sent there for summers. I can't because I wasn't. I spent summers in Colorado where my white and black halves converged.

And it was great, just not like everyone else - filled with southern food and gospel and R&B. I spent my summers riding horses, learning how to drive, biking at altitude and hiking in the mountains. The neighbor kids weren't cousins but they were friendly and we did everything from jump on the trampoline to break into their own homes when we got locked out.

Aside from my experiences, here are some of the things I value about the two sides of my family. Both of my grandpas left the south. They were the only ones of their generation to do so. They both joined the Air Force and used it to pull themselves up from poor country boys to the middle/upper middle class.

Both of my grandmas were smart. One was a teacher. One started her own beauty salon (one might assume this was the black grandma; one would be wrong) and then went on to be a secretary in the Air Force. They both left the north with their husbands and lived all over the United States.

On both sides of my family, relatives have left what was comfortable for a better life. On one side, a Jewish great-grandfather left England. He arrived in Ellis Island with his sisters. He supported his growing family by running numbers and gambling. My grandma inherited his love of betting and took it to the dog track. She loved to wear stilettos. I'm not sure how those went over in the stands.

I have lived in seven states and two countries. When people hear this, they ask if I was in the military or married to someone who was. I think that, without an understanding of my family's willingness to seek out better opportunities, to keep moving until they found home, to bet on a long shot, I would feel weird for having moved so much without a "good" excuse. Instead, I am able to make it a part of my family story and accept that we are adventurers and optimists.

I hope everyone can see how their family has shaped them in a good way.

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