The mermaid has been telling me for years that she may have lived past lives…after all, you never know; perhaps a slave in Egypt, a cotton picker down south, who knows? So, one day I see an ad for Ancestry.com and it’s only $69.95, and so I get it under the guise of a gift for the mermaid, and we scrape a few scales off her and send it in to the DNA processors. Now, there are people who say this is a big scam, and others who say that it is the way that the bad guys are collecting the world’s DNA. For me, it was just a way to set the record straight.
We patiently waited the six weeks and the results finally came in: 87 percent Irish, 12 percent British and one percent Viking (or the equivalent). No Egyptian, no other past lives DNA! Ha!! However, the mermaid was quick to point out that past lives don’t show up in DNA. Who knew? She did theorize however, that the crazy in her family was probably due to the one percent Viking, but there I had her, as I pointed out that I was pretty sure it was related to the 87 percent Irish.
So, all this DNA talk led me to test my own DNA. I was pretty confident that coming from Italian and Irish parents, had, well, produced Italian and Irish kids. There are four of us, some look more Irish than Italian, some the other way around. But I was pretty sure in the end, we would all wind up with two DNA strands. So, I was very surprised when I received the results. Now it wasn’t like the guy on TV who trades his lederhosen for kilts, but it set me back and started a conversation in the family that was interesting.
My mother held her end of the bargain up, as I was listed as 48 percent Irish. Good work mom, it seems that her family who came over from Ireland in the 1850’s, had pretty much stayed within the clan. My dad however had some explaining to do, because the report listed me as only 28 percent Italian. My dad, the baby of his family, and still going strong at 90, seemed a little fuzzy on the ancestral family tree, which is funny, because he knows all the Yankees batting averages over the last ten years! The remainder of my primordial soup was quite surprising: nine percent Jewish; eight percent Caucasus; two percent Bantu; one percent Iberian Peninsula; and the rest a smattering of Mediterranean countries.
To say I was surprised is an understatement. To test the veracity of the processor, I had both my brothers do the test, and their results came within reasonable limits to mine. So, what is the story? Well, I figure that some distant relative started somewhere on the Eastern Mediterranean shores of Israel and then started to migrate north toward the Russian Black and Caspian Seas where presumably some hanky-panky took place over the years. After a couple of Russian housekeeping exercises, part of the family made the trek across the Carpathian Mountains and landed in Italy, where after consuming many bottles of homemade wine, more canoodling happened. At some point, one of the relatives went to visit Sicily and met some vacationing Bantus from the southeast coast of Africa, and let’s just say that both groups left happy.
Finally, those southern Italian half breeds, tired of being dumped on by their arrogant northern brothers, left for the shining shores of America via Boston and finally New York City, where my grandfather opened a thriving junk business. And I guess to the horror of the family, the baby of their family fell in love with the baby of that aforementioned Irish family, and the rest as they say, is history.
So as Passover and Easter approach, remember we are all one, a wonderful mix of humanity, swirling together just trying to do our best and make this world a better place. Peace!