My sister is the spitting image of my dad. So Italian, so petite. Dark hair, dark eyes. A nose that is Roman but not too Roman. And the older she gets, the more she looks like our lovely Irish mom with her pert cheeks and tiny teeth.
I, on the other hand, look so unlike my parents that once when I was 13 my mother and I were mistaken for a couple. When asked how long we’d been together, she perplexedly replied, “Ummm… since birth?”
At 5’10”, the only person taller than I am, and only when I’m barefoot, is my aunt’s husband. For my entire childhood, people assumed he and my aunt were my parents because my uncle, like me, is tall and lean, and my aunt, also like me, is fair with a shapely jawline.
But look at this photo of my great aunt. I have Zia Pat's chin--the Cascio chin with its minuscule cleft. The rest? It must be from my maternal grandfather’s family, the side we know very little about because all of their records were destroyed during WWII.
I’d like to imagine that somewhere in a church basement in Europe is a photo of a young lady, her baby fine hair sitting softly atop her smiling visage. In black and white, you can’t see her hazel eyes, but her slightly crooked nose is delightfully appealing, and her striking cheekbones could cut a man at the knees.
For now, I guess I’ll just have to be content to be the redheaded (step)child, even if my family swears I belong to them.