Thursday, May 10, 2012

That's funny, you don't look Latvian

I'm not particularly good at social networking.

I joined a business networking group and didn't get a lick of writing business from it, although it's where I found the photographer who did my son's graduation pictures and met the acupuncturist who worked on my lower back. Actually, I ran into him the other day at Petsmart. He greeted me first; I almost didn't recognize him wearing casual clothing and I was tempted to ask him how he recognized me with my pants pulled up, but I decided to respect boundaries this one time.

I do participate in a business networking site called LinkedIn, however. The other day I was updating my profile and LinkedIn suggested some possible contacts for me under the title People You May Know. Well, I didn't know the Morgan Stanley managing director they proposed, but his last name had more than a familiar ring to it -- it was the same as my maternal grandmother's. I never knew my mother's parents, who died before she was 25, but I did know some of Grandma's brothers and sisters, my great-aunts and uncles. However, when the last of that generation died, I thought all connections with the family were lost.

Still, what could it hurt to contact this man and ask if we could possibly be related? I thought about it for a day, then decided the risk of being considered a stalker was worth it.

Sure enough -- his grandfather was my beloved great-uncle Izzy. We're cousins. We've been in touch multiple times each day this week, and his sister emailed me, too. He sent me a family genealogy that indicates this branch originated in Latvia (I had thought it was Lithuania or Romania) and he shared a photo from the old country that pictures our mutual great-grandparents, Izzy as a 17-year-old rake, and my great-aunts Bertha, who I remember, and Celia, who I never knew.

Bertha, Celia, their sister, Rose (my Tante Rayzel) and my grandmother were all dressmakers and tailors. It's said that Celia could sew a man's suit when she was just 13. For the last week or so (before my LinkedIn "reunion" with my previously unknown cousin), I've been working on an article that includes my genetic predisposition to sewing, crediting these women as the source for what is more than a hobby to me -- an activity that has brought enormous joy and peace to my life. And here were two of them, at ages 15 and 22, before my very eyes.

Ferklempt much?

So, I've been continuing to work on the Wild Things. I had intended to do two units and make them into a simple wallhanging stretched over canvas -- just a little something to put on my etsy. However, I can't stop sewing them. I'm not sure what the final setting will be -- I may combine them with some New York Beauty variation blocks -- but this will be one colorful quilt!

The pattern doesn't show four units put together like this, but I love what happens in the center.

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