Pondering Nature vs Nuture and DNA
Yesterday having a free day went to visit my mother's cousin Joan whom I haven't seen for about 30 years. Just lost her address when I went to Africa but found her recently via family since I started on the family tree - I've mentioned it before on my blog.
We have been chatting on the phone and it's almost like the years in between just didn't happen.
She grew up with my mother so I wasn't surprised that she sounded like her on the phone. Hard to believe she is 80 next week the way we have been talking - her mind is a clear as a bell.
The tube journey was easy but the buses to her house really got me flummoxed. Was so surprised when I eventually got on the correct bus there was an elderly lady who actually knew my mum's cousin and who when we got off carefully walking with two sticks took me to her front gate. Seems locally Joan is everybody's friend when it's needed so the lady insisted even though walking was difficult for her. Naturally I couldn't leave her there so slowing walked with her back to her own gate then rushed back.
I was wondering what kind of person I'd meet that would evoke such a response from a total stranger. When she opened the door and went in I was in total shock. She didn't look anywhere near her age. Bizarrely it was like looking at an older me - not facially but her style of dressing, her makeup, the way she speaks, mannerisms, her house, furnishing, colours themes and bits and bobs were almost the same even down to her interaction with the local community. The only difference being she is fastidiously tidy while I live in organised chaos with papers everywhere. Other than that we were mentally in tune with each other in a way I don't even have with my own sisters. Both of us were completely taken by surprise especially as she has lived in the same area in London nearly all her life and I've lived all over the world. The one other odd thing is she has a collection of Teddy bears and so does my sister Anne-louise.
I've long wondered about the issue of nature vs nurture because I have a similar relationship with one of my sister's daughters. We have often said over the years it is so weird that she is not my own daughter. Recently I've been thinking about DNA as well. Especially after following the branches of some of my family members and finding out that many of the descendants of just one (maternal) male relation, the 2nd & 3rd generations all now living in America, Australia, England, France and other countries who don't even know about each other are all following artisan professions. Likewise I found similar traits in family's other lines on both sides of the tree.
Gosh what memories she has. The school she went to, the evacuation from London during the war. Her pictures and snippets of documents. Just love the 1930's one above of my great aunt Ethel and her youngest daughter Iris. Her lovingly preserved docs of one male cousin Nelson who was shot in Italy while on active war duty. All very emotional she's has asked me if I could trace records of some family very special to her I didn't know existed.
Well I'm going to see what I can do.....