RHYS BOWEN: Welcome to Day 2 of Travel Week at Jungle Red Writers.
Yesterday I mentioned that travel must have been in my genes and I was bitten by the travel bug from my toddler days. But then I started to wonder where in my genes it came from. From my Devonshire father's lot? I don't think so. Nor the Welsh who only moved across the border. But then I remembered my French great grandmother, Josephine Bonne. I'd like to have known her--she was 17 when she married my Welsh great grandfather, who was 35. They had 14 children. He died. She married again. He died. Then at 82 she decided to go out to Australia to be with her eldest daughter. In those days it was a sea voyage of months, but off she went alone. I have a picture of her with her children and grand children around her, looking about twenty something with a tiny waist. So if I have her genes, I'm glad.
All my family has also inherited the Welsh musical genes. Two of my children are professional musicians. My grandkids all have lovely voices and play instruments. It's funny how talents are passed along, isn't it?
So what family genes do you have?
HALLIE: I love to travel, too, but like Rhys I can't blame it on my parents who mostly stayed home. They were writers -- I definitely inherited their writer gene. But where did THEY get the gene from? No great Russian writers (or comedians) that I know of in my family tree. I'm sure I got the foodie gene from my mother. Also the bossiness gene which every one of us got in spades.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: What genes did I get? I know I got the "I know the best thing to do" gene from my mother. Sadly, all of us kids got it, and that made for some fun times as I was growing up. Eesh.
I also got the "if one is good, maybe three are better" shopping gene. And you made me realize exactly where it came from--double dose. My paternal grandfather owned department stores. And my maternal grandmother was a shopaholic, way before there was even such a thing. After she died (in the 1960's?), we went to her closet and found--well, for example, the same blue dress: one in EVERY SIZE. I don't even want to think about that.
From my dad? Well, he was a reporter and author! (The music critic for the Chicago Daily news, and wrote two non-fiction books on American music.) Amazing, huh?
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: My paternal genes dictated my appearance. If you compare pictures of my father and me at the same age, we look like the masculine/feminine version of the same person. He was a beautiful singer, and so am I (and my mother has a wonderful singing voice as well.) Sadly, none of my children have inherited that talent...all three of them require large buckets to carry tunes. My mother is a talented artist and a gifted writer who also strongly encourage my interest in reading, writing, and the arts - so which part is nature and which nurture?
More of a mystery - both my parents had perfect eyesight, so where did my amblyopia/myopia/hyperopia (yes, all three) come from?
One thing I know for sure: I got my southern Grandmother's body type. All the Key women had, shall we say, generous figures; and all their daughters and most of their granddaughters have inherited the kind of metabolism that would enable us to withstand an extended famine. Sure, I have to buy larger dress sizes now, but when the Mayan Apocalypse comes this December, I'll be sitting pretty.
JAN BROGAN - I got married in my mother's wedding dress and it fit like a glove, so I'm guessing that means I got her body type. Personality-wise, I probably inherited more genes from my father, but the frugal part definitely came from her. Neither one of them was a writer, but my father was a lawyer, so a teller of tales. More striking than what I inherited, though, is what I passed on. Although my son looks just like my husband, he is frighteningly like me personality-wise. As my husband puts it, my son ended up with "my software package" entirely. He's even in journalism now writing a literary column for the New York Daily News and at 22, written his first novel.
LUCY BURDETTE: I inherited my mother's love of food (though she did not enjoy cooking and was not very talented in that department) and her utter nuttiness for animals. We always had pets, usually more than one, and they were treated as full members of the family. Tonka, my Aussie, and Yoda the cat enjoy those privileges now. And I'm small and bossy, like my paternal grandmother. John explains that I seem to have no concept of how big I actually am...I figure it's one of those traits that serves animals well in the wild--they puff up so they look more ferocious and unappetizing to potential predators.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: If I have a travel gene, I inherited it from my parents, but they outdid me by far. As the first middle-class generation on either side of the family, they were determined to see the world, and they didn't miss much except the Middle East and Africa. My father also planned the day's adventures around meals, and I suspect I inherited that, too, as well as my chin and nose... My dad was very creative. If he'd had the opportunity, I think he would have loved to write. He invented the advertising slogans for his company, and after he died I found a folder of poems he'd written but had never shown to anyone. He also had a lovely voice, which I, unfortunately, did not inherit. (Julia, you can give me a bucket, too.)
RHYS: Okay, your turn. Did any of you inherit a travel gene from an interesting family member?