Monday, 3 April 2017

Go Zags! Remembering Dad on the 25th Anniversary of his Passing

Dad, second from left, Spokane WA, ca. 1953-6

As the 25th anniversary of Dad's passing was coming up, I was thinking of how to best mark the anniversary. While it sometimes feels like his passing was a lifetime ago, at other times, it feels like yesterday.

I can still remember that cold, silent and clear, 3 April 1992 evening when we left the hospital after he passed. We were exhausted and numb, headed home to start making the dreaded phone calls to family and friends. I still feel it in my body each year - an inexplicable sense of tiredness late March and early April - perhaps deep seated memories of two emotional weeks in the hospital with him before he slipped away.

Yet, in the time since his passing, there's been three grandchildren, new partners, homes, jobs, and challenges. In fact, it's been a generation since he passed. His grandchildren have only been able to know him through our stories, memories and photographs (and the odd-lopsided boot rack or bookshelf with L brackets in my mother's home. He fancied himself a master carpenter, but history has proven otherwise). I know that he's with us at every turn and for each new chapter of our lives, but it doesn't stop us missing him.

As this anniversary approached, Gonzaga University, his alma mater, progressed through the NCAA March Madness tournament and will play tonight in the Final Four Championship game against North Carolina. Dad won a sports scholarship to Gonzaga in 1952 and played basketball and baseball while earning his Bachelor of Business Administration degree.  While we cheer on the team, we can't help but think of him. He loved his time at Gonzaga and being part of those teams. Win or lose, this game is special in so many ways.

As Dad would say (and want us to say), Go Zags!

Cheers, K.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Kiss Me ... I'm Irish?

 Source: InspiredImages/Pixabay

My DNA results have arrived! The results are much what I expected - very European and British - as I have been finding with my genealogical research. I tested with Ancestry DNA and FamilyTreeDNA. In this post, I'll deal with the Ancestry results.  The results from both companies are generally the same, but there are few interesting twists. 

The caveat is that ethnicity estimates are just that - comparisons to the genetic profile of a representative sample of the native population. Despite, the warning about the generalized nature of ethnicity estimates, they are fun to take a look at and ponder.

This is what Ancestry DNA estimated for me:

European 99%  
  • Europe West 37%
  • Great Britain 30%
  • Ireland 25%
  • Trace Regions 7% (Scandinavian 4%, Iberian Peninsula 2%, European Jewish <1%)
African <1% (Trace Region: North Africa)

The interesting bit is that Ancestry pegged me at 25% Irish (theirs is a separate category). To my knowledge, I have no Irish ancestors or heritage. However, a cousin of my mother assures me that there is at least one Irish connection on the Brown side. Whether or not that accounts for a quarter of my ethnic makeup, remains to be seen. 

In digging a bit deeper into the Irish result, I did note that Ancestry includes in its definition of Irish, the locations of Ireland, Wales and Scotland (also found in France and England) - which might be taking into account my Welsh family and Scottish McPhee roots. I guess it's my Celtic heritage coming through. 

In any case, I've been thinking that I just might celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year to embrace my newly discovered Irish heritage - however defined or calculated. Any excuse for a party... especially in the dreary month of March! 

Cheers, K.