January 10, 2006

Family Resemblance

On Saturday, my friend Long Beautiful Hair turned fifty. Half a century! We celebrated at a country inn, where snow was falling onto pine trees outside and a fire burned in the fireplace inside. There was food, of course, and a band, and all kinds of crazy dancing. And it's good that the room was big because Long Beautiful Family is one of twelve kids.

Even though we’ve been friends for years, this was the first time I met Long Beautiful Hair's huge family. It was a bit disconcerting. The room was filled with women who sounded just like her or had her mannerisms, who danced like her or had her hair. She’s got a distinctive throaty voice that I would recognize anywhere, and it was startling to hear that voice coming from one of her sisters. And the way she shakes back her hair when she talks: her nieces do the same thing.

One time a friend who had the opportunity to be suddenly surrounded by my sisters and nieces said to me, "Really, it was kind of creepy. You all talk the same way, using your hands and swishing your hair." I thought of that Saturday night as I danced with Long Beautiful Hair's sisters and nieces, and watched bits of my friend reflected in their smiles, their laughs, and the way they moved.

13 comments:

Captainwow said...

way cool. I have a friend who could be nicknamed Long Beautiful Hair. I just spent some time with her and her sister and it was fun seeing the same hands, mannerisms, style of speech, etc...
fun for you to meet her fam.

peripateticpolarbear said...

I always find it wierd to meet people's families. It's as if I think my friends hatched from eggs right before they met me.

Bitty said...

My sisters, and I have seven, share a voice and vocal mannerisms. When one calls me on the phone, I often have to ask who it is if she doesn't provide some kind of information that identifies her early in the conversation.

I was left out of this loop, perhaps because they are my half-sisters.

So even through my own family, I know what you mean.

My daughter, who looks a lot like me, somehow got her father's facial muscles, and with them she makes his facial expressions on "my" face. That too is disconcerting!

Leslee said...

It's always a hoot to meet the rest of the family. Either they're all carbon copies of each other or they're NOTHING alike! I see Peanut doing things that I do and I've seen things I do in my mom. Kinda crazy!

elsewhere said...

Catching up with my uncle always saddens me because he reminds me in some ways of my now deceased father.

On another point, it's always interesting however much you try and define yourself against certain family members, outsiders always see similarities between you and them.

Friday Mom said...

You could put me together with two of my siblings if we were mixed in a large crowd in a heartbeat....the other one, not so much. It's really weird how alike we are in our mannerisms, and yet so different in our perspectives on life.

cheesehead said...

A really cool thing about being adopted is seeing how much alike my sister and I are, though we share no DNA. It really blurs the whole nature/nurture line

joanna said...

I find it interesting to have a cousin, with whom I was not raised,have speech mannerisms like my own. And we have what her friends call "that laugh." "I'd know you were related by the sound of that laugh," they said when we met a few years ago.
My sister and I have very similar voices--so much so that her baby has never been shy around me--though she looked a bit confused last summer when she watched and listened to her mother and me chat with each other.

ccw said...

I am always amazed by the similarity in family members; whether they like it or not.

Anonymous said...

People always say that my sister and I share mannerisms. The interesting part is that people do not agree about how much we look alike. Some folks say we look almost exactly alike, and some say we don't look alike at all. I think it depends on what part of our faces they focus.

SuperB

halloweenlover said...

How fun! I also love meeting my friends' parents, or visiting their home towns. It gives you this secret and intimate glimpse at a little part of what makes them special.

Sfrajett said...

Why are family resemblances so fascinating? I could talk about them all day. It's one place where I get ridiculously enthusiastic. But it is such a mystery and a layering, where you see one or several people swimming up under a single person's surface. I loved this entry. I pictured the party exactly.

Yankee T said...

Grandma Blue and I look nothing alike, but her children and mine have said we seem alike somehow. Voices, mannerisms, manners of speech. It's funny.