This is a portrait of one of my ancestors, proving for all time that I had some seriously dorky ancestors with highly peculiar ideas of how to dress their kids. I post it now for your enjoyment because I meant to do a far more interesting post, but alas, I've been sucked in to Ancestry.com. Every few years I get interested in genealogy and do something dumb like join ancestry.com or buy some family tree software. I don't know exactly what I'm looking for - evidence that weirdness is in my blood and bones, maybe? Some explanation for young M? The alcoholism gene, coupled neatly with the restlessness gene, as I misheard it explained on a morning public radio talk show some ten years ago? - but I do know I never find it. That may be because my enthusiasm wanes so very, very quickly. It's a royal pain, looking up all those records, and ancestry.com is one of those evil sites that charge you extra money every time you think you might have a lead. I hate that. I refuse to pay extra; it's as bad as Match.com not letting you get emails unless you pay them, the bastards. It's already ridiculously expensive and I wish they would fuck off with their intimations that not knowing when your grandparents died is somehow declasse. Ancestry, not Match, although I wouldn't put it past them.
According to family legend and rumor, I come from a long line of crazed gothic Southern Irish aristocracy. There's frighteningly little evidence to support this claim despite the miasma of secret doom, fin de siecle ennui and faded grandeur that surrounds me. Which, granted, I may just be imagining - that could be damp and dog fur, true. It's even possible that my whole family tree was made up; nobody was ever particularly forthcoming about any of it. When I was a child, I was sure that the reason we seemed to have hardly any relatives and all references to ancestry were veiled and murmured (and usually discussed only through the bottom of a bottle) was because my father was a spy, or there was some terrible secret in the family tree. As an adult I'm beginning to think that they were just all too lame to remember anything. Except, okay, there is this tendency on the part of the women of the family to go mad. These things happen in the best families, after all.
And then there is the undeniable existence of these weird cousins who come out of the woodwork whenever there's a funeral, eat a lot and then fade away again. I've always wondered who the hell they are; I'll never know, since the vast majority of that branch of the family have died off now. I think. There is the one who went off and became a Mormon, and then there's the one who works tirelessly for the anti abortion people, but she creeps us all out and we do not speak of her. Bunch of goddamn wackos, my father would say with some satisfaction. Jesus Christ, Felicity.