“Heritage” Festival


Well it has been a couple of weeks since I checked in here. ‘Tis the season. In addition to Christmas and Hanukah (yes, both) we have a bunch of family birthdays. Plus I work for a nonprofit and it is annual appeal time. So I am coordinating mailings, processing gifts, etc etc etc and it is crazymaking. On top of that, my son’s 4th grade class has been working on a big social studies project: interviewing grandparents, researching & writing reports on their countries of origin, and culminating in a big party, at school, during work hours, to celebrate everyone’s ethnicity. Ok. Let’s set aside the fact that ancestry can be an emotionally-laden topic, for example for adoptees or kids with absent parents. Here is what I’m wrestling with:

First? My son wrote about the wrong country. He interviewed my dad who was born in Vienna — and then wrote his report on Germany. Believe me, we have talked about the difference between Austria & Germany. But somehow he forgot. I suppose if I was a better parent I would have discovered this before he researched and wrote the whole report. Luckily he does have some actual German ancestry on my husband’s side, but that isn’t who he interviewed. Hence the quotation marks around “Heritage.” (Please, no comments from the peanut gallery about the narcissism of small differences. I know, I know.)

And second? Not only do I not have two hours free in the middle of the day tomorrow, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to cook up some German Austrian German dish to bring for the class. My family food traditions do not include German cooking. My mom was a devotée of Julia Child and our best-loved family dinners revolved around parsley and garlic and shallots, not sausage & sauerkraut.



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