Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes...

In my family, we talk a lot about...


The Lewis Nose


The Dolstra Eyes


and The Valk Red Hair.

I didn't get any of these traits. I did get the Robbins Teeth and Knees (neither trait is great!) and Ears (I do like them!). I also have the Valk freckles, but not as prolifically as my mother.

At 5' 1/4", I'm a shorty, like my mother and her mother before her.

I have blue eyes, like countless ancestors before me.

I am very thrifty with my money. While I do have some Scots in me, I have a lot more Dutch. The Dutch can make the Scots look wasteful and extravagant!

One of my mother's family lines is Tuinstra, which translated from Frisian means roughly "Gardener." I did not inherit any green thumbs from that line!

I love history and telling good family stories, like all the Robbinses do. Sometimes that means leaving the facts out here and there. Often we add interesting details!

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I would say that on my husband's side of the family, the main trait they talk about is The Midkiff Humor. Watch out! It's pretty ironic! Although I'm only a Midkiff by marriage, that's an aspect where I fit right in. My kids inherited that "gene" very quickly. When my daughter was only three years old, she played a practical joke on me. A friend had come over to visit me while I was changing my infant son's clothes. After re-dressing him, I started replacing his socks and shoes. Because I was busy visiting (i.e. yakking) with my friend, I subconsciously searched around the couch for my son's shoe that seemed to have gone missing. I did not realize my daughter was watching me intently until she suddenly burst into gales of laughter and pulled the missing shoe out from underneath her! I hadn't even realized it had disappeared until that moment!

Another thing I've noticed about the Midkiff men is that they walk as though they just got off their horses, although my husband's ancestors have not been on a ranch in several generations. Perhaps that's a trait they've picked up from their Civil War ancestor who served in the Texas Cavalry.

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Many of my readers know that my finest moment in researching my family tree occurred in 1997 when my paternal grandmother reunited with her mother's family 70 years after she and her younger brother were kidnapped from their mother's home by their father and placed in an orphanage. It was a great sense of restoration when we saw family photos and heard stories of similar traits that Grandma and we descendants had inherited from her ancestors.

Grandma and her mother looked enough alike to be twins. They both love(d) crocheting and knitting. They are/were independent, strong-minded, stubborn women who speak/spoke their minds.


Ernest is the young man on the left.

I have a photo of my Grandma's Uncle Ernest, who has the same crinkly-eyed, wide-mouthed grin that my dad and his youngest sister--and I--have.

My Grandmother's father had brown eyes, just like my dad's oldest sister's kids. I believe all of my Grandma's other biological grandchildren have blue eyes.

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I knew that my father's ancestors had been carpenters for generations in several of his father's ancestral lines. Dad was the last of his line to build a house, by hand (no power tools). However, my brother works with wood, too: he carves fabulous chainsaw carvings and competes annually. Several years ago, I discovered that my mother's Hoekstra line had several carpenters as well. Every school day, I go into the woodshop and assist half a dozen of our special needs students as they cut, drill, sand, and glue pieces of wood into birdhouses, banks, shelves, and racecars. I love the smell of wood being cut and I love working with it, shaping it from generic planks into three-dimensional works of art.

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Speaking of creativity, writing is in the blood of the ladies of my direct maternal line. My great-grandmother was an invalid for many years before her death. She wrote letters and filled out a Family History book to pass the time. My grandmother probably wrote a letter nearly every day of her adult life, even after she became blind with macular degeneration. My mother wrote her parents nearly every week for years from our homes in Alaska and Washington State to their home in Michigan. And I...well I can't NOT write, which is why I love to blog. I can ALMOST get the words out as fast as I'm thinking them!
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