Politics and How To Avoid Kissing Your Cousins

The subtitle of this post is:  Why My High School Mantra Was Genealogy, I Am Doing It, My Genealogy, And The Reasons Why I Am Doing It Are Very Clear To Me*

When I was 12 my family moved from the thriving metropolis of Boise, Idaho to the not-as-thriving semipolis of Burley, Idaho and I was thrust into the grade/middle school phenomenon of “going with” someone of the opposite sex.  Now, before anyone pulls out any For the Strength of Youth pamphlets, let me just say that 1) I’m old and it wasn’t written yet, hence my weakened youth and  2) to “go with” someone at the age of 12- in a town where most kids weren’t allowed to date until they were 16- involved very little of actual “going” anywhere.  At least until we were 14 and got our driver’s licenses.  (Then there was some going, but still no dating because the boys asked girls to “go with” them,  not go out “with them–there’s a difference.)

So, anywho, during one of my first recesses (this is where all the going with magic happened) at my new elementary school a girl very helpfully pointed out a cute boy she thought I should go with.  And he was a very comely lad indeed.  The problem?  Well, I had already gone plenty of places with this boy because he was, in fact, my first cousin.  And since we lived in Burley, Idaho as opposed to say, Burley, West Virginia– or even Buckingham Palace– my new friend’s attempts at matchmaking were squandered on me.

What does this have to do with politics, you ask?  Well, let me tell you.  Do you know who else I just discovered is my cousin?  Mitt Romney.  But that’s not all. John Huntsman is too.  By way of my great-great-great grandfather, Parley P. Pratt.  I know, I know–many of you are oohing and ahhing over my new found political connections and the power I now wield because of them.  The rest of you (I’m looking at you Mormon friends) have just realized you too, are related to the same presidential hopefuls by way of the same ancestor.  Because that whole polygamy thing really worked as far as increasing posterity goes (notice my use of the past tense here because, and I cannot emphasize this enough,  MORMONS NO LONGER PRACTICE POLYGAMY*).

And guess who else is my cousin by way of old Parley… one of (I was a fickle fourteen year old) the boys I “went” with– without going anywhere– in the ninth grade.  I’d like to say we broke up after our week-long like affair because of our shared DNA, but I honestly don’t think we gave it a second thought.  If we weren’t showing up at the same family reunions, we weren’t cousin enough for it to count. 

This boy is not to be confused with the one who may have had a crush on me and helped me cheat my way through computer class.  No, that was my mom’s brother’s wife’s nephew.  So it probably would have been less weird for me to go with him– without going anywhere, of course– than to not go anywhere with my distant cousin.

You may be wondering if I have anymore of these fantastic stories about former boyfriends who also happen to be cousins.  Why yes, since you asked, yes I do.

Like the time in tenth grade I was going with a boy (and since he had his own car we actually were going somewhere –lunch–but it wasn’t a date because I wasn’t sixteen yet) and he pointed to a kid and said, “there’s so and so.  He’s my step-brother”  And I replied, “Really, because I think he’s my cousin.”  That night I verified with my mom that my boyfriend was, in fact, her cousin’s step-son.  And just to throw another twist in, she added that the same cousin’s ex-wife (the mother of my boyfriend’s step-brother) was my mom’s brother’s wife’s sister.  Got that?  It means I was going with–but not dating– my step-double second cousin.

Then there was the time I went on a student council trip to the state capitol for some very important mock governing with other aspiring politicians from Burley High.  Our late night strategy sessions–as is wont to happen with those in power–turned into a game of Truth or Dare.  But first my second cousin (not to be confused with my double second cousin–this was just a single second) and I had to lay down some ground rules that no one could dare us to kiss or do anything like unto it.  Because we did attend the same family reunions.  Which left only two boys I could be dared to kiss–one of whom I wanted to kiss even less than I wanted to make out with my own cousin.  It took some serious political strategizing to get out of that quandary, I tell ya.

So what is the moral of this delightfully long post?  Were it not for the wise advice learned from an old Primary song about genealogy–even with its unfounded assumption that the reasons for doing genealogy were very clear–I would have unknowingly kissed a lot more cousins.  So sing your Primary songs, folks.  You never know when they’ll come in handy.

* For those who never had the pleasure of singing this song, like I did  during the three–count them, three–hours of church I attended each Sunday as a child (and still do, btw), here is a link:  oops, sorry.  Apparently this song is now Family History, I Am Doing It and makes very clear, unlike the original version, the actual reasons we do gene…I mean, family history.  And it’s not to avoid kissing our cousins.  Who knew?

** And, let me just add, that guy on Sister Wives and the women in funny dresses on the news ARE NOT PRACTICING MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS (otherwise known as Mormons Who Don’t Practice Polygamy.  At least not since 1890).

5 thoughts on “Politics and How To Avoid Kissing Your Cousins

  1. Dani says:

    So glad to know it wasn't just me. When I moved to SLC in 1999 (a place I didn't know anyone, so couldn't possibly find a relative on accident, right?) I dated for almost a year a very distant cousin.


  2. Melinda says:

    I know some people that married first cousins. Its so weird. No, really, they're weirdos. I wouldn't want my aunt for a mother in law, so I wouldn't even be tempted. She's awful.


  3. j.a.c. says:

    My husband of and I share the same great, great grandmother. Of course we would have figured this out before we got married if it was cool in the 80's to whip out your pedigree on a date instead of just watching MTV (back when you could) dancing to WHAM and eating frozen yogurt. But if we knew, then we wouldn't have the 7 interesting children we have now. Right?


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