Monday, September 14, 2009

My Miracle Year: Eastenders

(To the left: Uncle Ted, me, Grandpa Husom, Steve & my Eastender Gran) All my life I've identified with “the princess and the pea” -- I have a very low pain threshold, and darn it, I do feel the pea. And, many friends have teased me about having been a Queen in a previous life.

So I find it pretty funny that my Grandma Husom, Doris Grace Butler Husom, born in England, was an Eastender. Her birth certificate says, born in “the District of West Ham, in the Sub-District of South East Ham,” 1904. About this area, Wikipedia says,

“...Eastender territory extended further east due to the 'diaspora' of East Enders who moved to West Ham about 1886 and East Ham about 1894 to service the new docks and industries established there.”

That means I’m a peasant. Or at least ¼ peasant. And I have strong suspicions that many other parts of me may be peasant also. Certainly the Norwegian part. Probably even most of the German part (my Dad’s side) -- but more on that another time.

Anyway, back to Eastenders -- which also refers to a British TV show that ranks as one of the most watched in the United Kingdom. An Anglophile, I’ve always gravitated to the monarchy/upper class, Bronte/Austen type shows on PBS and BBC; I thought Eastenders was a bit vulgar and common.

However, Wikipedia says about the East End matriarchs, central to the programme:

“[They are] strong, brassy, long-suffering women who exhibit diva-like behavior and stoically battle through an array of tragedy and misfortune…. These characters are seen as being loud and interfering but most importantly, responsible for the well-being of the family and usually stressing the importance of family, reflecting on the past.”

So, I guess I’m proud to be part Eastender. And if I could speak for my girl cousins, they probably would be too.

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