For the last bunch of years, I’ve observed Halloween and Dio de Los Muertos as a time to honor the ancestors, specifically my grands and greats who’ve died. By honor I mean, mostly, remember.
Apparently I look most like the Carlson side of my family, which would be my maternal grandmother Beverly’s family. They came from Schleswig Holstein, the northern part, I think, as they’re more of Danish than German descent. Danish Jews, dontchya know. The Carlsons owned a big department store, and apparently had money. And a Carlson ancestor is said to have come over to the states in the 1700s and been a trapper-trader. That's early for the Jews, dude.
My Grandmother Beverly was not the easiest person. She never thought my father was ‘good enough.’ After both my siblings married goyim, she whispered to me, once, loud enough to be heard by them, that she certainly hoped I was going to marry a Jewish boy. I’m told that at my brother’s wedding she shoved my father’s third wife (a goy) aside.
But she was the first person in my family to take me seriously as a writer, at a young age, when everyone else just said ‘that’s nice, sweetie.’ She gave me useful feedback and encouraged me--she was also instrumental in getting me to go to college after I'd dropped out of highschool. My grandfather Abe was a writer, with several YA fiction books about boys at camp to his authorial credit (though I’ve read one, and, well, um…sorry Grandpa, not so much), and Beverly was, until the end of her life, a dedicated and voracious reader.
Three things I associate strongly with Beverly and Abe: swimming—she swam every day until almost the end of her life—root beer floats (summer nights in Maine, a treat they had rather religiously), and Scrabble. My grandfather generally kicked everyone’s ass, getting a couple of seven letter words in each game.
Find a penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck… Today I found a penny on my bus seat, only it’s a Netherlands penny, not a U.S. one. It’s tiny and has a woman’s head on it, surrounded by stars, with the words (teeny tiny) Beatrix Koningin Der Nederlanden circling her.
Tonight after work I will go to a bon(e)fire at N&C&co’s; there will be s’mores and sparklers, but no actual bones.