Family resemblance can be fascinating

Published 7:30 am Saturday, August 27, 2022

“Why there’s Christina!” my grandmother said, jumping up from her chair with outstretched arms in the waiting room of a tailor shops. Suddenly she realized she was rushing not toward her sister but a mirror in front of her. She enjoyed telling this on herself at family gatherings.

Isn’t family resemblance a fascinating topic?

Have you noticed how friends and neighbors gather around newborns to express their opinion of who he or she looks like? Some said an aunt, another a grandparent, another a cousin. Occasionally somebody even says that sweet little infant looks like his or her mother or daddy.

I once visited a hospitalized cousin. Gathered around his bedside were two of his children and their spouses and several cousins from the other side of his family. There was only one of those cousins I did not recognize immediately. She turned to me and asked my name. In that second I saw her dad’s face in front of me. I identified myself, and then said I knew who she was because she looked like her daddy. We had not seen each other since we were children. I believe it would have occurred to me who she was if we met on the street.

One of my aunts told me that at church one Sunday, she was waiting on my uncle to meet her downstairs. Then she saw this old man walking down the steps and down the hallway. It was some distance away, but she thought he looked a little like her husband. As he came closer, the resemblance was stronger because he was her husband. They had grown old together and she had never looked on him as an old person.

When I was younger, a lot of people told me I looked like my daddy. That was when my hair was almost as dark as his, before the grey started mingling with and eventually taking over the black hair. In later years, someone saw me and my mother together and asked if we were sisters. Mother was flattered, I was somewhat taken aback. Actually today I sometimes see her face in my mirror for a brief minute.

One of the strangest things that happened to me was when I saw a back and side view of myself in a mirror. in our church Ladies’ Room. The mirrors were probably placed in a way the brides could check their gowns from every angle. As I turned slightly, I saw not myself but the image of my mother’s sister. I was surprised because nobody had ever mentioned a resemblance. Although my mother and her sister were sometimes mistaken for each other. As I walked away from the mirror that day, a warm glow washed over me. I had loved that aunt deeply. I still hold a deep affection in my heart for her.