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Der Sonntagsspaziergang (The Sunday Walk), 1841 Giclee Print

The Sunday Walk by Carl Spitzweg, 1841

The holiday season is a time for family; the hones we are born into or the ones we acquire along life’s way. For better or worse we are all part of a family or people. These clusters have their own idiosyncrasies, values, and notions.

It has me thinking of those wealthy families from the Victorian era; Vanderbilts, Astors, Rockefellers, et al. When someone broaches “The House of Morgan” or some other dynasty . . . what does it all mean? On the nature versus nurture debate what does it mean to be a Carnegie? Lincoln? Saxe Coburg Gotha? Good looks (or perhaps not so good looking traits) aside, what characteristics does a family share?

When someone declares “Do not make deals with the Smiths!” What are they referring to? Or if they exclaim “Of course she charming, she is a Lewis daughter!” Looking at both my parents I can say I definitely identify with one branch of my family over the other. I am certain many others can make the same statement with their own families.

Below I list some of the traits of both branches, both positive and negative.

Maternal; The L Side

  • Compassionate
  • Fun-loving
  • Passionate
  • Zany
  • Temperamental
  • Envious
  • Judgmental
  • Focal Point: Blood above all else

Paternal; The D Side

  • Highly intelligent
  • Ambitious
  • Creative
  • Witty
  • Devout
  • Uncompromising
  • Blunt
  • Focal Point: Long range sacrifices over short term satisfaction

There are many sayings in each family but the one that stands out is my maternal side. “Oh, she’s an L. They are not the kind of girl you court, they are the type of lady you marry.”–We are ‘good girls’ and better wives. Caring domestic goddesses . . . As for me, it stops at caring and goddess. Domestic . . . well, let us say “I have not yet explored my full potential.” Or as my brother would say “Way to set the bar really low. All you have to do is step over it!”

Does anyone want to take a guess, at which side I relate to? What about your own family? What does it mean to be a son or a daughter of so and so?