Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Parents, Sisters, and Brothers

My immediate family consists of my parents and my sisters and brothers. My parents had six children (four daughters and two sons), in order of age, Karen (me), Michael, Sandra, Danny, Maria, and Janet. All six of us were born in the same decade, the 1950s. The eldest (me) was born in 1950, and the youngest (Janet) was born in 1959. Our parents, Irma Mary and Mike, have died. Actually, Sandra and Michael have also died. I guess you could list the family members like this.

Mike, 1921-2000
Irma Mary, 1924-1997
Karen, 1950-
Michael, 1952-2009
Sandra, 1954-2002
Danny, 1956-
Maria, 1958-
Janet, 1959-

Mike, our father, was an only child. He was a dentist and then an orthodontist. He served as a Captain in the Dental Corps of the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Irma Mary, our mother, had four brothers (two older and two younger than she). She had a Bachelors degree in chemistry and zoology from Louisiana State University and was on her way to medical school when she met and married Mike. She then became a wife and mother. She was a highly creative person. In her fifties, she became an exercise specialist and gave land and water exercise classes for women. Later, she obtained a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education and taught nursery school.

Karen is next. That's me. I teach English to international students at the university level. That's all I'll say about myself for now.

Michael came into his own after serving in the U.S. Navy in the 1970s. He then attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute and obtained a Bachelors degree in Sociology. He was passionate about music and worked as a disc jockey at WTUL radio station in New Orleans and WRFG in Atlanta. Michael suffered a devastating stroke in 2001 and died on December 9, 2009.

Sandra, also, has died. She was cute and vivacious. She worked as a Licensed Practical Nurse until she and her husband John started their family. They have three daughters: Kristin, Lindsay, and Allison. Sandra was a devoted wife and mother. She was one of those people who truly enjoy motherhood. Sadly, she died of cancer in 2002.

Danny is an entrepreneur. From an early age, he has run an antiques business. He has two daughters, Ananda and Zia. Ananda designs and makes jewelry. Zia has just obtained her Bachelors degree in Business and Finance and works for a corporation in New York.

Maria is full of energy and surprises. Before Hurricane Katrina, she worked for Festival Productions, which organizes the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Maria loves to dance and can do so all night.

Janet is a grounded and focused individual. She worked for years as a Registered Nurse in charge of an Intensive Care Unit. In 1996, Janet had an aneurysm. She has made a remarkable recovery, although the aneurysm has left her with some aphasia (she can't always bring up the words she needs to express her thoughts) and some right-side paralysis. Janet and her husband Richard have two adolescents, Lauren and Patrick. Both are talented, bright, independent, well-grounded teenagers.

These descriptions don't begin to express the complexity of my family and our relationships. Perhaps I will return to this subject in future posts.

My next post will be a poem about my sister Maria.

1 comment:

  1. WOW... Karen Ashley, this warms my heart...
    Much Much Love, RaTaTa (treetop!)