I have always considered my family an Irish family.
My paternal grandfather emigrated around 1900 from Limerick, my grandmother from County Donegal. My mother’s family arrived earlier from Ireland – her grandfather was a prosperous builder of row houses in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia.
My mother’s grandmother, who married an Irishman, however, was a Virginian – family lore has it that she was a descendant of Edward Doty, an indentured servant who arrived in America in 1620 on the Mayflower.
My husband never knew his father, whose parents came from Germany. Joe Wingert was raised in his Irish grandparents’ home in Bucks County.
When you have two sons and two daughters and 13 grandchildren, there’s lot of opportunity for diversity. The older grandchildren have started to marry and they are bringing a diverse group of spouses into the family.
My oldest son’s son, whose mother is of German descent, less than two weeks ago, married a woman of Greek descent. This son’s two daughters have relationships with one partly Irish-American and one young man from England.
My older daughter married a man of Irish and English descent, whose grandmother fled to South Africa to escape English Black and Tan marauders in her village. He left his home country during Apartheid.
From his first marriage to an Afrikaner, he has a blond, blue-eyed daughter, who married a man in San Francisco in a traditional Chinese wedding. Now there are also a son and daughter born in America; the son married to an English and Pennsylvania Dutch young woman.
My second son married a woman who was born in the Philippines and raised in Maryland. His oldest son just married a woman from Delhi, India, in Albuquerque, N.M. A larger wedding is planned for next fall in India.
My younger daughter married an Irish-American, a member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in Scranton. One of her sons married a Scrantonian, with an Italian and Middle Eastern background. Her oldest son will marry a Dubliner next June in County Wexford. My granddaughter’s husband has an Italian-American mother and an Irish-American father who came to this country through Novia Scotia.
So five are married, eight to go. Some will marry, maybe some will not. In any case, I predict that in the future, there will be offspring in varying shades of black to white, many cultures and many traditions. There are already shades of brown.
No legislation to keep that from happening, and that’s a future of promise.
Because, of course, all of my family members must be beautiful, talented and intelligent. Already there are engineers, musicians, a physical therapist, an Air Force officer and lawyer, a public school teacher, corporate entrepreneurs, a filmmaker and, yes, a super-flexible yoga instructor.
An “Irish” family no more.