Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Southern as a Nationality.

While writing the discussion on my recommendation this week, I was brought back to the time I first moved to the Northeast. I never in my wildest imagination thought I would be living in Massachusetts (heaven forbid!). Yet, here I am almost twenty-six years later, but never let it be said that I'm anything but Southern. When I first moved up here, one question I got time and time again was what nationality was I? Flabbergasted at first as to what to say. Everyone seemed to know exactly where they were from. The two most popular answers were either Italian or Irish (my husband's family migrated from Ireland). This shouldn't have surprised me since the city was divided up into classified sections of one's origins. Why my husband's family had an issue with the girl my husband dated before me because she was Italian. Then look what happened- they got me!

But I hadn't a clue how to answer the question. I would hesitiate only slightly before going into my rendition- "Well, let's see. On my daddy's side, I think, there's Irish, Scottish, English, French...I think. My momma, well, her side came from English, German, Native American...no wait, I think there's some..." Wouldn't it just be easier to say Southern? I think so. We do considered ourselves a nation, don't we? We use to. When I left, I think some of my relatives were still fighting the Civil War.

When my son was six, he visited my parent's home for a week by himself before my husband and I met up with him. He was smothered by my family with all his cousins, aunts, uncles and don't forget Mamaw, but when I showed up, I was surprised because I could tell me something was bothering him. Taking time out, I got him alone and asked what was wrong. Didn't he have fun? He started listing off a million activities- swimming, four wheeling, riding horses, fishing, staying up late watching movies, playing with his cousins.

"Then what is bothering you?" I asked.

He leaned over and whispered, "They keep calling me a little Yankee."

"Yeah, honey. So?" I answered.

A look of disgust covered his little face. "Mom, I'm not a Yankee! I'm a Red Sox!"

Perspective, I suppose, but an important distinction none the less.

I don't even think some of the Yankees realize they're Yankees, but Southerners know they're Southern. Really, I've never needed justification, even with my children explaining to me how technically one can't consider Southern an ethinic background. When someone ask me now, there is no hesitation, only my children easing away from my side. I answer simply, "Southern."

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