Pennsylvania Dutch Disease

NO, this is not a disease that attacks trees. That’s Dutch Elm Disease!

This is an inherited trait. Pennsylvania Dutch, for those not in the know, has nothing to do with the Dutch. It is a misunderstanding of Deustch which is German for, well, German! (Either language or people)

Frankly, I have never heard anyone else call it this but my family. That doesn’t make it wrong, it just makes it weird! 🙂 The crux of the matter is, PDD is itchy shoulder blades. I can remember both my grandmother and my mother backing into the corners of walls and doors, and scratching their backs vigorously. In fact, when I was young (last century!) my mother only wore house-dresses. There were thin spots on the shoulders of the cloth of these dresses, from the continual scratching. According to a fellow blogger, this condition actually has a medical name. Notalgia paraesthetica. Well sheet, Marge! Who’da thunk? I MUCH prefer to think that it is a rare inherited trait due to my family’s history as Germans in Pennsylvania!

There are other things that seem to be “inherited” too, that are vastly interesting. For instance, you can inherit your sense of humor. Both my parents’ had marvelous laughs, and a deep appreciation of humor in life. My maternal grandparents both had quirky senses of humor. My husband has a wonderful sense of humor, and both of our children do as well. But unlike inherited medical factors (cancer, PDD, etc.) a sense of humor is “inherited” only in the sense that you were raised by people with the traits you then are more likely to exhibit those same traits.

My family is emotional. I had moments in both childhood and young adulthood where I had good cries with both my parents at different times. Yes, my dad was known to cry in private. Our family joke is that we cry at supermarket openings! So, yes, I have definitely inherited that characteristic! My son cries more often than my daughter;  she hates to cry. More like her father. I can remember writing in my diary (hey, we called ’em that back in the 80’s – there was none of this journaling crap!) that my daughter had cried while watching a movie! The movie was “Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend” which came out in 1985. We watched it at home on VHS, which means my daughter was six or seven. It made an impact on me, because to me it showed a commonality. Well, it was all uphill from there – I still cry over just about anything, while my daughter rolls her eyes. Sigh.

What other traits seem to be learned, rather than inherited? Having a temper? My parents both had them, but they were well controlled and understood. Me, not so much! My husband hates confrontation, and will do things he might not like to avoid them. BOTH of my children are the same. Makes for assumptions and misunderstandings – often! How about mathematical ability? My father and mother both had degrees in Business Administration, and my dad was a county administrator (dealing with money, budgets etc.) Me, I needed tutoring to pass high school algebra! So, maybe not so much!

Oh, you’ll love this one! When I was pregnant with Becca, for some reason I became obsessed with belly buttons. I hated outies, and wanted to have my doctor’s assurance that he would tie the umbilical cord in such a way as to insure innies. He about split a gut. When he calmed down enough to talk, he told me that was a trait that was inherited. Genetic. Whew! Both Ed and I have innies. So do the kids. What a relief! (BTW, this is, in no way, meant to be disparaging of those who have outies. It is a personal preference. I will still like/love you even if you have one!)

Well, there you have it. Whether your behaviors and traits are learned or inherited, ya gotta live with ’em. After all, it is our peculiarities and idiosyncrasies (learned or inherited) that make us so interesting, right? RIGHT!


About ReaderWoman

Professional reader and researcher for writers - Reviewer and Editor for online book review sites - AVID reader (well, duh!) writer, crafter (sewing, jewelry, fiber art) photographer, herb gardener, love to learn new things - Married 3842 years, 2 "kids" (now 34 and 36) and two grands (13 and 15) Born and raised California Girl, with stints in Tennessee, learning to speak Southern, and Arizona, learning that living in a trailer is NOT fun! Enjoy conversations with wine and chocolate, long walks and being with hubby and family. Life is good!
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