Blame it all on my Roots
“A people without the knowledge of their past,
origin & culture is like a tree with no roots”
When my children were born, like any parents I named them and bestowed gifts that had been passed down through generations and engaged them in family traditions. As I moved out and about meeting new people generating conversations with strangers at play groups, school, sports and as the internet was more accessible, I noticed a lot of the things I did or enjoyed were familiar to one culture or another. I came to love the diversity I was learning from different areas of life.
I had always understood a very small aspect of my heritage. That I was a mix of Native American and Irish. That was it. The native I totally get. I am tall, darker skin, black hair, and I can be savage!! My father 100% tans in a very red (not sunburn) way. That sounds so Irish, right? That is from his mother’s side. My last name is Joyce which has been traced back as a descendent to James Joyce, the great irish poet. My Father had this amazing black hair that shown like patent leather indoors and had a blue tint when he stepped outdoors. As a little girl I watched him stand tall, proud and silent. He is to this day all those things, minus the black hair! His hair however was never the bone straight hair of Native Americans. It was curly, perm curly not wavy and frizzy when left alone... something he passed down to me as well. This is where I find our Irish heritage coming out. Most people laugh when I answer the question my daughters and I are most asked…”What is your nationality”? Now, my children obviously have another side to them, that we found out included Armenian, Persian and other typically dark featured groups. For me when I say Irish, I am met by “Huh”? I started to question this myself, because like most I think Irish and see curly, bold red hair, light skin, freckles and short. None of which are familiar to me. So I began to dig. I tracked my family back to Ireland indeed, but the interesting thing I found was that my birth name began in a town called Glamor-ganshire (Welsh). Now it all makes sense to me! My lineage quickly moved to Ireland and is one of the original 14 tribes of Galway. Yep! “I’ve traveled around, been all over this world, boys I ain’t never seen nothing like a Galway Girl”.
I love traditions. I know so many people love to do things different and be unique. I live for building on old ideas and carrying items, celebrations and beliefs over for the next generations. My older sister and I had kindergarten pictures taken in the same dress 7 years apart, both with pigtails. I put my 3 daughters in that same dress and those same pigtails for their kindergarten pictures! Becoming more familiar with our Irish roots as each year passes, my sister and I started Patty Parties, when our kids were young! Saint Patrick’s Day always meant we were together, we ate well and everyone laughed! So today was no different. Everyone gathered at the table and we enjoyed Irish Proverbs, good music and even better food.
Remember friends, “If you are lucky enough to be Irish, you are lucky enough!”