Posts Tagged Family

Nate

“My name is Nate.

In his will, my grandfather made a bequest to me of this boarhead and two rifles- one of which was used to kill the animal.

I cherish them because he specifically wanted me to have them.”



Nellie

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“Hi, my name is Nellie.

I come alive whenever I see this album. It brings me back to my teen years which were sheltered and happy. I first bought the album when I was 13 and collected photos up until the time I left Tanzania to come to America. The year was 1974 and I was eighteen.

I was young and laughter was always present, especially when most of these pictures were taken. My mother and fathers pictures are in there and my brothers and sisters. And my one niece at the time, I was her idol so where I went, she went. I had one best friend that I really, really miss. We lost touch when I moved to the States. She went to England and then became a doctor in New Guinea. And I just don’t know how to find her. I’ve tried but this album remains my only connection to her.

America is my home now but Tanzania is still my true home. There are things about Tanzania that I miss sometimes. The people are genuine and they’re honest and when they tell you something they mean it. They’re not fake and they follow through. But the US has given me the opportunities that I could never have in Tanzania because in the states I could reinvent myself to do whatever or become whomever I want to be. For me to be able to work with McCartney or whoever in Hollywood, it’s — it’s just an amazing thing that I would never have had in Tanzania. Like when I’m watching the Oscars and can point out how many people I know that I’ve touched. It was like, oh, I know him or oh, I know her, so yeah, that’s pretty amazing. So I love this country for giving me these chances for success.

I still get impressed by all of this. My friends say I’m still too innocent and even at my age right now I’m thinking, oh my God, yeah, they’re right. But it’s my childhood in Tanzania that has given me a spirit that those I work with are attracted to — it’s why John probably wanted me around, and McCartney, and why they turned me on to other people. It allowed me to succeed, absolutely, Yeah.

Other than this ebony necklace I am wearing, not many things are still with me from my childhood in Tanzania.  The beads have a healing quality and are thought to be protective and symbolic. The wood of the ebony tree is very beautiful and it never rots, it just doesn’t. It will always remain the same. Like the feeling I get seeing the people in this album each time I look.”

Tidbit:
Nellie is a makeup artist based in San Francisco and has worked with many of Hollywood’s most notable actors and some of the world’s most iconic musicians. Where she mentions McCartney and John in the story, she is referring to her time spent with Paul McCartney and John Travolta respectively. These days she spends most of her time working on projects with Silicon Valley’s brightest innovators.



Janet

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“Hi my name is Janet.

My mother was a phenomenal seamstress. She sewed anything that could be constructed: dresses, snowsuits, bathing suits, and once, a pop-up camper. As a teenager, she dreamed of becoming a fashion designer, but no one from Maine has ever done that, so she became my mom instead. She bought me my first pair of serious scissors and told me that they should last a lifetime. I keep her old scissors with mine. Somehow, seeing them together reminds me of all the hours we spent sitting side by side at her old Singer. Anyone who has known me for more than five minutes has heard a story about my son, Crockett. A couple of months after his first birthday, I was diagnosed with cancer. I remember sitting in the dark, holding him long after he had fallen asleep and thinking that if I died now, he wouldn’t remember me. He wouldn’t even know that I loved him. Maybe it’s hormones, but when your children are new, you love them with a ferocity that is overwhelming. But I didn’t die, and now Crockett is 17 and on his way to becoming a fashion designer. I know that some people probably think that I am too involved in his life, but they weren’t sitting in the dark with me 17 years ago. I love him with the same intensity of that long ago night, and I know that every second I spend with him is one that might never have happened. Not so long ago, I bought him his own pair of scissors. They should last a lifetime.”

Tidbit:
Three generations of scissors. Crockett’s appear on the right and someday they to will have the patina of his grandmother’s seen on the left.



Shyno

“Hi my name is Shyno,

My object is the umbilical cord that connected me to my son and my son to me.

It was part of this little seed inside of me that grew into a beautiful young man. This was the initial connection, and now there is this huge emotional connection.

Though my children may travel and live far away, I’d like to have a little piece of them nearby.”



Laura

“I’m Laura,

This is my chicken, Jennifer. We have eight chickens and one rooster named Radio. Since Sweet Pea, who was my favorite, passed away this year, Jennifer has taken her place. But she is the last of the originals so I’ll have to get more that I raise.

I am not a crazy lady. Eight years ago it started. I just brought three of them into our family, one for each kid, so that we had that life to experience because that’s what it’s all about. I wanted the kids to be around that new life and watch them grow up. It’s been a lot more interesting and fun and valuable than I can imagine. Lessons for everybody.

We purchased our chickens as babies. You start them in the house. They have to be warm so you have a heat lamp and people are always holding them. I’d be making dinner and holding a baby chicken. And they really do bond with you in that way.

They become part of the family. The dogs protect them, the kids protect them, we protect them. And they give us eggs, and entertainment!

I once gave Sweat Pea acupuncture after she got injured and was limping. Down the street from us is a veterinarian that has dabbled in acupuncture and had helped our arthritic dog. I asked her if she won’t mind trying it on Sweet Pea even though she had never done it before. She had no idea if it was going to work, but it totally worked. She was not limping after the treatment and I was a happy momma.

Sweet Pea passed away this year but she had a lovely life.”



Mehdi

“Hi my name is Mehdi

It was February of 1981 in Tehran, Iran when my father had purchased a brand new car. On the morning of the 2nd anniversary of the Revolution he decides that he and I will go do some driving tests in the outskirts of the city on some empty roads near a military base. We switched seats so I can drive. Seven or eight minutes later I hear loud noises and realize that my dad has been shot. He opened the door, raised his hands and then fell to the ground and died. I was 14 years old.

We would eventually learn that he was shot by the members of the Basij, a paramilitary volunteer militia who had wrongly assumed our car belonged to the opposition group,  Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (MEK Militia) , just because of the color alone. Eight people fired on our car. All the bullets went through the vehicle without hitting us except for one that hit my dad in his heart.

What transpired in the following year and a half would be a process of negotiations by my mother that ultimately paved a way out of Iran and into Germany and then the United States for my mother and me.

By Islamic law, the father of the victim gets to decide the fate of the convicted, i.e., it’s an eye for an eye.  My paternal grandfather chose to pardon the accused because “it was a mistake”. This led to an unspoken agreement, a deal with the government, that if he pardoned the soldiers it would help in allowing my mom and I to leave the country. My grandfather died about a year later and my mom continued to pressure the government to admit they had made a mistake and with the help of a lawyer was able to acquire a letter from the government that was an admission on their part. She wanted desperately to save what she had and this was our way out legally and with passport as tourists. Had I stayed, I would have been banned from leaving the country at the age of 16 and potentially eligible to become a soldier and fight in the Iraq/ Iran war.

I was thinking of making a stop-motion movie with a scale model car to illustrate what had happened on that day. I did a lot of searches on Ebay and finally found this exact replica of a Renault 5 and in the exact color. I have never shared this story with anyone and not even my wife knows the history of the car.”

Tidbit:
Mehdi graduated from the University of Texas in 1991 and received his Doctoral from the University of Washington in 2000. He currently is employed at University of Washington/Fred Hutchinson Cancer research Center as an Oncology pharmacist. His mom lives a mile and half down the street from his family and is the best grandma ever.



Liz

“Hi my name is LIz,

My object is a 1970’s New York Times cookbook. The reason I choose it is because in my family most things revolve around food. If we don’t remember something about a trip or we don’t remember what we did, we always remember the restaurants in which we ate and the food that we really liked and the food that we didn’t like.

When I turned twenty-one my mother gave me this cookbook. She learned to cook with this same book shortly after she married my father in 1975. It was helpful because it was not only a way for us to forge a relationship over something that was so important to the both of us but it was also saying something about independence. As you move on in your life and you graduate school, you should know how to take care of yourself, so you should know how to cook.

Someday no one will use cookbooks because so many recipes are online, but this book is my history, so I think I will use it forever. But I don’t think I will be as good a cook as she is!”



Brett

“I’m Brett,

At age 11 I started to play field hockey, hoping to be as good as my two older sisters. What I didn’t realize at the time was just how much more this would mean for me. It took me out the classroom setting where my learning disablity often made me appear lazy or stupid.

My mom was the only person who seemed to know I was always trying my best. She would be at every game running up and down the sidelines with words of encouragement. When I entered the 9th grade I learned that after her 7 year battle with cancer, she was told it was terminal. As her health deteriorated, I would work harder and harder to improve my performance on field. Or at least that is what I told myself. Looking back I now realize it was the only way I knew how to deal with my mom being so sick and my fear of losing her.

She wasn’t able to be there when I received my undergraduate and graduate degrees. Nor did she get to see me play Division I Field Hockey and Division II Lacrosse, but one thing I know is that she would have been extremely proud of my success. Her endless stream of support will never be forgotten.

Tidbit:
In the summer of 2011 Brett summited Mount Kilimanjaro and raised $13,000.00 in memory of her mom to fight breast cancer for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. It’s never too late to help such an admirable cause. Just follow the link: http://getinvolved.fhcrc.org



JD

“My name is JD. I’m obsessed with hats, I absolutely am!

And not just any hats. Not caps, but actual hats- the Fedoras, the Homburgs, the Panama’s. These are the hats that I’m really drawn to. I can tell you that my grandfather is definitely the biggest influence in my obsession.

At an early age my grandparents would drive over from a little town in west Texas to my parents house. As soon as my grandfather walked through the door he would kneel down to give me a big hug. I’d come running up to him and every time the brim of his fedora would crash into my cheek.

I always stood back and looked up at him and he looked like such a movie star, such a gentlemen in his chocolate brown Fedora. And this guy, he was a blue collar manual laborer, a bricklayer.

But he was also the most gentlemanly, the most reserved and articulate man that I have ever been influenced by.

For me a big part of his identity was that hat. I think back to when they were leaving our house every Sunday, driving away in their old Chevy Impala, into the texas horizon, I could always see, peeking over the window, the Fedora.

Now that I’m a young man, these hats are definitely central to my style. Most of my friends don’t recognize me when I’m not wearing a big brimmed hat.

I feel most complete and I feel most at ease and I feel most like a gentlemen when I’m wearing my hats. What else can I say?”