A beginning…

Where to begin. At some point I was born. That didn’t lead to the life I was quite expecting so I did it again. Sort of. Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself.

It’s a strange phrase, getting ahead of myself. Can you get behind yourself? What does it look like to be ahead or behind yourself? But I digress. That’ll happen a bit.

Do I begin with my mother, my father or my grandparents? Perhaps this is a good place to start.

Like most people, I have four grandparents. Their origins vary quite widely, but invariably can be pinned down to being “European”. Try not to blame them for it, they didn’t really have much of a say.

My maternal grandmother was born in Russia in 1912. She was born of noble stock and recalls the mild spot of bother that Russia got herself into in 1917, twice, as mostly people coming into the house to re-distribute the wealth. This way everyone would be equal. But they aren’t. For starters, her father was quite bright. So bright he spent a lot of time in Siberia making up for it. In this instance, in the dark, the family sewed bits of gold between two leaves on the tree in the back yard. Small bits of gold, mind you, but carefully sewn together such that they looked natural.

So people came in and looked through the house looking for the wealth. They took the silver candle sticks, the copper fittings, dug up the larder, and the back yard, but never looked at the money tree.

So folks, money really does grow on trees. Well, perhaps it doesn’t grow, as such, but it did in her garden.

Eventually, all people need to grow up, and so she did. It was arranged for her to marry an old gentleman, to increase the family fortune. Every couple of generations her family would arrange for a prosperous merchant to marry into the family. They got noble connections and the family got someone who was smart with money. A good deal, really.

She wasn’t a big fan of this deal. To sweeten the deal, for her that is, not him, she was given a last trip to Moscow. Here she met a man, who was exotic and foreign. He seemed slightly older than her, spoke rotten Russian, but was quick witted and very charming. Within two weeks they were married (and he was actually the same age as her, but had silver hair) and she brought him home to meet the parents.

Parents thought it was a joke and went along with it. Slowly, they realised and Father and new gentleman had a “talk”. Here Father spoke to new Son about how his daughter was “special” and would need “special treatment and attention”. New Son said he was aware of this and would take the necessary steps and do the necessary things to ensure she was taken care of.

This was the first indication I knew of insanity in my family. My grandmother was special. She had incredible survival ability, but very little intelligence and some very strange and bizare notions about how the world worked. She was able to sniff out a dangerous plot with incredible accuracy. She could manipulate people to do what she wanted and needed.