Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mexico and Family

Sunday, to make ourselves feel more cultured and international, we drove to Tijuana, Mexico. This was a first for all of us. For some of us this was even the first time we'd ever crossed an international border at all.

We parked on the U.S. side and walked across the border. It is surprisingly easy to get into Mexico. There are no guards, no checkpoints and no waiting. The most difficult thing is operating the full body turnstyles. In fact, if you aren't paying attention you won't even see the placard telling that you've made it to the border.

Once across the border capitalism kicks in. Everyone is trying to sell you something - cab rides, Chiclets, necklaces, donkeys (and donkey shows, God help us), food, drinks, blankets, arts, crafts and probably drugs and sex if you are in the market for such things. I was prepared for the little kids looking sad and hungry, tugging at your shirt sleeve and pushing little knick knacks. I was not ready for the intensity of the guys running the little shops up and down Revolution Avenue.

We didn't stay too long in Mexico, but we left a lot of money. Thaddeus and Michelle bartered like pros. I slipped off on my own and bought some paintings done on cuts stones from a guy that didn't really appear to care if he sold me anything. He had a cat named Junior that kept causing trouble when the guy was wrapping up my stuff. I can get used to a place like that.

Meanwhile, someone from worked spotted me while I was in Mexico. It truly is a small world.

We returned to Los Angeles early enough in the evening that Thaddeus and I had to entertain ourselves for awhile. (I believe Michelle was off reading Magic Street by Orson Scott Card, which she finished in the few days she was here.) Anyway, years ago I stole my sister's genealogy hobby after being assigned some writing project in a sociology class and Thaddeus has recently taken up a more concerted effort to track his own roots.

Thaddeus and I came to discover recently that we had a shared name in our family trees. We spent Sunday night finding out whether this man was indeed the same person. It turns out that Thaddeus's Samuel Marvin and my Samuel Marvin were indeed the same man. Suddenly it became possible that my best friend was also my cousin. I started to enter Thaddeus’s family tree into my genealogy software to see just what sort of cousins we are.

At this point, I should mention something else about family. Some of Thaddeus’s renewed interest in genealogy comes because his family tree contains a number of notables. One of his great grandfathers, Thomas Hinckley, was a governor back in colonial times. The current president of the LDS church, Gordon Hinckley, is from that same family. As it would happen, a newspaper article had reported that Gordon Hinckley is related to both Presidents Bush, therefore Thaddeus is too.

And the connections don’t stop there, my friends. After discovering the Marvin connection in our family trees, it turns out that I too am related to George W. Bush. Thaddeus is related to the Bush side. I am related to Barbara (Pierce) Bush’s side. The genealogy software boiled it all down as Thaddeus and I have no direct relationship because of this fact. However, we would not be deterred. George W. Bush and Thaddeus are 9th cousins. George W. Bush and I are 11th cousins. Thaddeus and I agree that we were therefore 9th cousins by marriage, twice removed. (Disagree with this all you want; we are sticking with it – that’s what family does.)

All in all, it was a full day.


Becky Rose said...

Ugh, I shudder to think that I may be related AT ALL to that man! Who did you see from work in Mexico? Or can you not say because they were coming out of a donkey show???

Brent said...

I was spotted by one of the HIMP auditors - I'll guess it was Jose; that's always safe.

Brent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becky Rose said...

Kinda like, what happens in Tijuana, stays in Tijuana?

Michelle said...

I still find it odd that you two, who found each other so randomly, became best friends at all. Perhaps your family connection drew you together or perhaps you are both just crazy!