Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cousins, Or Aren't They?

I finished a batch of slides for my parents, made a DVD of them to take home with the old slides and requested that they bring up a new batch of slides to scan on their next visit, which they dutifully did. Whenever I get a new batch of slides, mostly in trays, I often don't have a single clue to the contents except for the age and style of the slide tray. So when I start scanning them, I create a folder called unknown to put that tray's digitized files into and then rename it later in the process when I know enough about it to give it a descriptive title my parents will understand.

So I put the first four slides of a new tray into the scanner and got it to working. Generally while it is working I do other desk work that needs done or surf the web, answer emails and such. When the scanner stops, I look up at the screen to see the four digitized pictures and save them into the folder I created on my computer's hard drive. This time when I looked up, I saw the faces of my cousins. Except they couldn't be because the age of the tray was older than they or I were by several years.

From the other three photos, I quickly figured out that I was actually seeing my Aunt and Uncle on their wedding day and my cousins had yet to be born. It got me to thinking about how we look so much like our ancestors but due to the generational gap, the only way we really ever see that at times is through the magic of pictures and time. Sure we sometimes have genetic triggers like a distinct color of eyes or shape of the nose, but when you compare photos 30 years apart side by side, you can see how similar people really are.

My aunt in the recently scanned photo looks exactly like my cousin. My grandmother in another photo looks almost identical to how my aunt looks like in current time. Three generations and they all look so much alike.

I'm married to a native of the Philippines and our daughters look nothing like me these days due to the heavy influence of their mother's genes. However, if you take their baby pictures and slap them up against a baby picture of me, we look like the peas in the same pod. If I had had sons, perhaps they would still look like me when I was their ages.

Its one of those things that should be intuitively obvious but it still caught me by surprise when I looked up and saw my cousins about 30 years too early.


Kelly said...

This is a topic I've always found interesting. It's true that with the passage of time, looks can change quite a bit. While I would initially say the older of my two brothers and I more closely resemble my mother (and my sister and other brother my father), that has fluctuated somewhat over the years. So often mannerisms can influence what we see.

We have three children and the oldest is my fringe benefit from marriage, so no blood involved. Yet I can remember having people (who didn't know) tell us we looked alike! (and I'll admit she did gain some of my mannerisms and traits from living with me)

Ultimately, I think it's very much in the eyes of the beholder. People see what they want to see.

Genetics are a funny thing, too. Our younger daughter is a redhead (auburn, not carrot), yet neither my husband or I are (both grey now!) I can't tell you how many times she's been asked in her lifetime where the red came from. As a little girl she wasn't sure what to say, but now she just gives folks a lesson in genetics and tells them that red hair has to be present on both sides of the family (it is) to come out.

Bob said...

Yes it's funny how all this works. I am bald much like my dad was (more than him, in fact) and see him looking back at me from the mirror! My brother, on the other hand, 5.5 years older than me, has a full and thick head of hair. And my daughter looks a great deal like my mother (and I admit that's a case of seeing what I want to see)!

Ed said...

Kelly - Genetics are a funny thing as my mom is the only blonde in the family. I too also many people tell me how much I look like my dad despite my blonde hair and his black hair and the fact that we have no blood relation. Perception is a powerful thing.

Bob - The bald thing has struck me and left my brother untouched at this point. I've always heard that baldness is a gene that comes from your mother's line but I'm not sure if that is a wives tale or even how you are supposed to know if they are carriers since I have yet to see a bald woman.

sage said...

It is interesting how we can confuse generations in photos. I hope your mother is doing better.

Ed said...

Sage - Thanks. I have a few posts coming up on that subject.

Kelly said...

Ed, both my mother and my sister had 'female pattern baldness'!! Though neither was totally bald, they both had major hair loss and struggled with coverage at times. My sister even had a hair transplant at one point! I was glad that trait passed me by. I was told back in my 40s that if I had it, there would already have been signs. I still have a full head of hair. Gray/silver as can be... but I don't mind that.