Friday, March 06, 2015

The Leprechaun in Me


My last name is Marzec because I married a man from Brooklyn whose parents came from Poland. So while he is definitely an American, he grew up in Greenpoint—which is a lot like being in Poland. He went to a Catholic bilingual school (English and Polish). Marzec translates into the month of March in Polish. You can find it on a Polish calendar.

I’m not Polish. On my mother’s side I’m Czech and Slovak. At the time my mother’s parents left their home country it was part of the Austrian Empire. However, my grandfather said he lived near Prague. I don’t know what town my grandmother’s family came from. My grandparents met in this country and had seven children. My mother was Daughter #2.

My paternal grandparents were Irish and German. This makes me a mere one quarter Irish, but as luck would have it, I resemble the Irish side of the family—except for my height which undoubtedly came from the German genes because my father’s relatives were all rather slight leprechauns.

With the exception of my German grandmother, all my predecessors were Catholic. Unfortunately, my Irish Catholic grandfather could not marry my German Protestant grandmother in the church. They were married in the vestibule. (That was a long time ago. Catholics can now marry non-Catholics in the church.) My Irish Catholic great aunts were responsible for making sure my father and his siblings received the sacraments.

Genetically, I’m a mongrel. My daughters are even more homogenized since they are half Polish.

Yet, somehow it is the Irish part of me that I feel most at home with—the Irish wit, songs, legends, and myths. That’s why I’ve written three books with Irish themes, Irons in the Fire, Prince of the Mist, and Kiss of Blarney.

Hubby asked me to marry him on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day. Daughter #3’s birthday comes close to St. Patrick’s Day.

Good reasons to celebrate! That’s why we always enjoy corned beef and soda bread at this time of year, but no kielbasi. :-)

1 comment:

Leann said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day to ya Penelope! I have some Irish in me, but like you I am more mongrel than anything.

I enjoyed reading the history of your family and the details that so many of us don't seem to have.

I took your advise yesterday and curled up with a book, a blanket, and a nice hot cup of cocoa. Thanks for the idea!

Enjoy your day.