“What hereditary characteristic(s) do you have that you’re happy with? Are there any that make you unhappy?” is our question this week.
How does one not toot one’s own horn?
By all concerned, my sister was always considered the beauty of the family, which never ceased to amaze me. After all, since I was born people have said how much I looked like her. I have mentioned before how this got me into trouble with former teachers of hers, who expected another under-achiever, (when I would rather have died a thousand deaths than get a B).
As soon as I started looking like a young lady, (my sister is sever years older than I), we were mistaken for each other, and often asked if we were twins. This led me to a great disservice to myself by avoiding all make-up for many years, in order to be liked ‘for myself’. What a fool I was.
We looked like our father’s side of the family. Now, she has not changed, but I have. I now look more like our mother and one of her sisters. That is fine, except I wish I had looked like them when I was younger, since in their heydays my mother was compared to Rita Hayworth
and young Crystal Gayle was a dead-ringer for that aunt:
I still have the Joyce small brown eyes. I always wanted great eyes. When I saw my [then] almost-ninety year-old Joyce aunt a few years ago after more than fifty years, she said, “My dear, it’s like looking in a mirror!” It gave me pause, but I gathered myself and said, “That is quite a compliment!” I knew that she was thinking of herself in her own salad days, when she had been favorably be compared to Susan Hayward:
Two traits, however, have caused me to receive many compliments from strangers.
One was legs. All of the females on both sides of my family were renowned for having shapely legs. I used to defuse too much attention by saying, “Thanks! Good legs run in the family.” (Pun intended). I had mine, which are now gone, but many of the women in the family kept theirs until very old age. Even my very short aunt, whose length from ankle-to-knee were seemingly a matter of a few inches, had well-proportioned and smooth curved calves until she died, well into her seventies.
Another area which people often comment is our skin. We were all blessed with clear, smooth skin of even tones. My sister’s complexion was of a somewhat darker shade than my brothers’ and mine, which is easy, since ours was always very, very light, actually, rather pink. We both sunburned much more easily than she did. That tendency seems to have come from our Northern Italian grandmother and our Irish grandfather,(mother’s and father’s sides, respectively.) I could have done with some real tanning and without the peeling. However, we all enjoyed good skin, all over.
When people ask us what to do to have our complexions, I answer, “First, pick your grandparents”, since all four of ours had great skin. I am still getting some compliments on how good my skin is, unfortunately, some now feel the need to add, “for your age”!
I am grateful that I have my parents’ eyesight. Both leaned slightly toward farsightedness, which I did, yet I only began to need readers in the last eight years. (Both my sister and brother are near-sighted.)
My hair is almost completely white; I grayed early, as they do on my mother’s side. My father’s side kept their hair color well into late life, but the men bald and the many of the women’s hair thinned. (I’ll take the white!)
I am also grateful to have inherited writing genes. My father’s mother wrote and was published in her local newspaper. Two of my uncles on that side wrote and perhaps more in the family did; (most were quiet, private people). My mother wrote. Both sides had a love of reading and learning.
I am probably happier for those traits than all of the others combined.