Racial Memory

Ok, so tonight, in London, I was introduced to someone from Ireland purely becuase we were both female with red curly hair and both had ancestral claims from Ireland.

Now, I am 5th generation Irish-American born and raised with a high percentage of Irish pride. My father’s family (following the surname) comes from Ardee, Co. Louth.

I thought it was laughable that an English gentleman thought we should meet, purely because we share Irish descent.

But this woman, Theresa, validated a few things for me, and as a daughter of an anthropologist, I couldn’t help but take notice. She validated for me a sense of of what the Irish do to live — through humor, taking the piss, and celebration all at the same time. She validated that when she does go home to Ireland, whether alone or surrounded by friends she always feels at home…the same feeling I took away the last time I visited when I was merely 15 (24 years ago). She validated feeling at home on Irish soil regardless of where she’d been since….

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Going back to where I came from.

24 years ago I had the opportunity to do my junior year of high school at a sister school in Worcester, England.  Bookending my time there I had a chance to visit Ireland, where I was pretty sure my ancestors came from (at the time there was a question about Wales, since my last name is Morgan and apparently ALL Morgans were thought to come from Wales…not true, by the way)…alas, I digress. 

So I went for two brief trips to Ireland, once with my Ma to Dublin, and once with my Dad to Dublin, Waterford and the East Coast that lies between. 

At the time, the family lore, such that we knew, had referenced Waterford in our history, and Ireland, and that the clan was in upstate New York somewhere in the mid to late 1800s, and that was about it. 

Continue reading “Going back to where I came from.”
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