Catching up: DNA surprises and a move!
In a recent blog, I explained how I discovered, via DNA results from a genealogical inquiry, that I likely had two unknown sisters. Inspired by my experience, my husband, Kevin, then submitted his spit for analysis, and we learned the results of his heritage check today, when he was also notified of a second-cousin match filed with Ancestry.com.
Kevin believed his family origins were German, though I managed to trace both of his great-grandparents back to a predominantly Jewish settlement in Russia (Germany was actually a relatively brief stop in its migration pattern). Coincidentally, the family relocated in Germany (Prussia) at a time when Russia clamped down on Jewish inhabitants. Provided this information, Kevin said he was raised as an unchurched, unaffiliated American of German descent. His first exposure to religion had been a yearlong Christian Bible study class, taken at my urging. There had never been a connection mentioned to Russia, though it struck him as ironic that I would raise that flag, given that he’d chosen to become a Russian linguist and translator while in the Navy.
The Patrick family, like most Western European families, is confusing to track. Kevin’s great-grandfather anglicized the family’s foreign-sounding surname when he entered the U.S., fearing immigrant discrimination. Kevin’s own father made sure to bless his children with Irish first names to further “fit in” — naming the sons Michael, Duncan, Sean, and Kevin Patrick. None of the men look even remotely Irish, though Kevin can affect a pretty passable accent on a whim.
Perhaps a fear of persecution ran a little deeper, to the cellular level. The results are in, and even with all of the diluted bloodlines through marriages, Kevin’s heritage remains 25% Jewish. How fascinating is that to learn!? Certainly this open doors to new lines of self-discovery for him, at the same time that I’m still finding my way with new sisters and newly discovered birth family information. He’s about to have a born-again non-Christian experience, while I’m embarking on a born-again-as-a-“Nelson” journey!
I mentioned in another blog that we purchased a house in central Illinois last October with the intention of retiring there in five years or so, after rehabbing it to our design and fancy. The relocation delay was due, in part, to Kevin’s desire to fully acclimate before leaving his “real life” behind (I have family in that area, having been raised 12 miles from the new house). Surprise to us all — due to a very skilled contractor cousin and my OCD personality and flair for building, the house has just been completely remodeled! We’ve done everything except for exterior repairs and yard work, which will be undertaken in spring.
Between signing papers for the house last October and finishing the renovation this week, Kevin spent a lot more time in Illinois than in Wisconsin, handling details like cable TV, etc. He also found that the cost of buying duplicate “must have” items like beds, couches, and microwaves was becoming ridiculous because, yes, I do need a beer bottle opener in both houses, etc.!
SO … Kevin announced — after being invited to a couple high school ball games (where he met a new golf buddy and became interested in joining a Bushnell bowling league), and after Aunt Jackie dropped by to bring us dinner a few times, cousin Donny snowblowed our driveway as a surprise, Uncle Gene brought in our mail and handled our garbage days, cousin Debbie came over with cupcakes just to brighten a day, and Kevin obtained an Illinois driver’s license — that he was willing to actually pick up stakes and move effective, oh, on Friday. (He told me this on a Monday.) He’d called a moving company, and it could be set up immediately, if I agreed.
So here’s a shout-out to Mad City Movers and particularly Aaron and Dave. Despite another unexpected Illinois snowstorm last Friday, they gave us above-and-beyond service, which included helping shovel the driveway “so you won’t be inconvenienced.” They were friendly, professional, and they dismantled furniture, wrapped and moved it, laid floor protection, and calmly handled every “could you move that over here instead?” request. Bravo.
And bravo to my German/Irish/Russian/Jewish impulsive husband who, after all, did propose to me on our first date, and who did buy the first house we saw in Madison shortly afterward, and who did agree to buy the Illinois house on the same day we saw it (and only it) during a family visit. When he commits to something, he does it with all his heart, and I should have known the five-year plan would be reduced to months, given the love my family has for him and the welcome they’ve given him … and me.
We still have the house in Madison, and I still have a bed and towels there, and I won’t formally relocate full time until July, after all of my Madison business obligations are met (I do have to pay for this adventure, after all!). In the meantime, however, I’ll be commuting for meetings, speeches, and to see friends and business colleagues. We aren’t “leaving” in the traditional sense, but we are continuing on this crazy, winding journey we call our lives.
God only knows what waits around the next curve or cliff.
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