Monday, March 21, 2011

Family Resemblances

Caroline Engene

This is my great-grandmother (for those who know my family, this is Grandpa Benson's mother).
My sister Karen is the SPITTING IMAGE of this woman, who died long before I was born.
It is strange for me to see this picture, which pops up on my computer regularly (because it's in my desktop images folder), where the person looks so familiar and yet is dressed and wearing her hair in a way that naturally I've never seen my sister gussied up. And what's with that hairdo? Is her hair cut short on top and curled? Weird. Though kind of cute on Caroline, who may have been about 20 years old in this photo.
When I see such a strong resemblance among family members, I can't help wondering if they share other traits. Did Grandpa's mother have the same angelic singing voice as Karen does? Why not — the genes are so similar (right?) that the vocal chords would be too (right?).
Well I don't know, but I can't help wondering if this lady would have had the powerful right arm Karen had when she played ball. She wouldn't have played ball, but she probably churned butter, milked cows, carried water, did laundry by hand. And that's not all. What about the non-physical characteristics. Like, did she love animals like Karen does? Was she an excellent cook? Was she active in her community?
Two memories regarding Caroline Engene have been relayed to me. That my own mom as a child didn't like buttermilk, but would drink it when she visited her grandmother because "I'd drink anything she gave me, I loved her so much." And my aunt Reta remembers relatives saying that her grandparents were hard workers and took pride in the barns they built.