Thursday, April 17, 2014

Article #289 Unique Traditions

Not everyone in America was born here. Each immigrant brings unique traditions with them. Meet Jan Drummond of St. George who was born in New Zealand. Here’s part of her story: Almost all of us pakehas (Europeans) born in New Zealand in the 1940s had either British or Scottish great grandparents who had  immigrated.  This meant that our grandparents had funny accents because they were raised in New Zealand by either British or Scottish parents. All were dirt poor, drank hot tea at least 7 times a day, and raised vegetable gardens.  We sang "God save the Queen"  a lot and loved any news of the British Royal family.  Whenever "Scotland the Brave" would play on the radio, our father would make us get up and stand at attention.
            Growing up on a dairy farm, we had an out house which we called our dunny.  New Zealand is very volcanic with hot water bubbling from the earth and running in the streams so in the old days, we took our weekly shower in the local creek which flowed over a cliff like a small waterfall. We never wore shoes to school or ever owned a coat.   Christmas came in the middle of Summer so we often went to the beach for the day and ate bacon and egg pie for lunch.   At the beach, we would gather pipis and mussels and cook them for tea (dinner) over a small fire.
                It’s fun finding out where your ancestors are from and honoring their traditions. Joan Falzone Davis of St. George tells us about her roots in Italy: Born in NYC, my parents, sister and I moved back to Italy. Stayed a couple of years there, then moved back to NY where we lived in Brooklyn in a small neighborhood where everyone spoke Italian, even the shopkeepers. My world came crashing down when I went to first grade. A rude awakening where only English was spoken…a strange language?  I 'd assumed I was still in Italy-thinking that we had just been on a boat ride and got off to live somewhere else in Italy.  By the time I graduated from 8th grade, I was a proficient English speaker. In my leisure time, I studied the dictionary. Imagine that! As my world expanded, I found there were others like me––some from other countries, who spoke other languages…a melting pot of cultures and customs. NEXT TIME: Cultures and Customs.

No comments: