|First||April 28, 2013|
|Third|| Race, Gender, And the Media
JMC 4858-Section 001
Welcome to my Wiki!Edit
Hello all! This is the wiki of...John Gramlich! I am current Junior at the Univeristy of Oklahoma where I am studying Advertising. I was born and raised in Mckinney, Texas, but currently call Atlanta, Georgia my true home in the South! Hope you enjoy my story, feel free to comment and share! Thanks!
Gramlich: A Brief HistoryEdit
After researching my last name "Gramlich", I thought I'd give you all a little insight into my family history. The name Gramlich originated in Germany, and is literally translated into "angry". Though the name suggests one thing, I personally believe that my family isn't a very angry one so that's kind of ironic. Further, there were over 25,000 census records with that listed the last name Gramlich on it including 902 immigration records. That's a lot of Gramlich's coming over to the United States!
Here's an overview of the Gramlich Surname:
Mom's are the coolest.Edit
Growing up, I had the greatest childhood. I lived in a simple neighborhood of ten houses, each house ranging in land from three to four acres per property. My family and I lived a relatively simple life. By no means would I say we were poor, but similarly we weren’t in the richer class of society at that time. We were happy. We were close knit. We were, in the simplest of words, a true family. Our day-to-day schedule varied from school, dance rehearsals, sports practices, but we always, every single night, had a family dinner. It was our time to unwind, share stories about our day, and just enjoy each other’s company. It was the weekend, however, that would be the greatest experiences. My dad and I would wake up early Saturday morning to do all the lawn work. Our house had a two and a half acre backyard, so it took a fair amount of time but it was worth it because while we were working, my mom and two sisters were cooking a huge Saturday meal. Every Saturday we would have this glorious feast, if you will, that looking back now, at the time I didn’t realize how important it was, but would do anything to be in that moment again.
I guess for me, it’s fair to say that I never had negative experiences with my parents or siblings regarding race or gender. At times we would get snooty looks from those in the upper class, due to our simple
dress and school uniforms, but besides that, our lives and interactions with people were genuinely nice, honest, and overall, enjoyable. I think that personally, it stems from my parents because even some of our neighbors would try to wrap us up in drama in the neighborhood, or talk down about certain people. Specifically, my mom is by far one of the most amazing people in my life.
My mom was a teacher. She has taught pretty much every grade level there is and I think, though she was a great teacher that she learned even more from her students. She taught in a variety of schools from private schools, to public schools, to inner city schools where the conditions weren’t as ideal for children to grow up. But, through talking with her and gaining insight to her experiences, she told me that she learned that
though certain schools were nicer, or the curriculum was technically harder, children are children; and they all received the same treatment. She continued discussing memories of her past teaching experiences with me and forty five minutes later I found myself just leaning back on my chair, smiling. The passion my mom has for people I believe she translated to all of her kids, myself included. Her heart is the size of Texas, where we grew up, and the last thing she told me was, “I’ve never known of any situation that can’t be cured with a smile and a minute-long bear hug.” That to me defines me family, our daily dinners, our Saturday feasts, and our pure joy for one another. Thanks mom, you don’t know how much that means to me.
Wait...you have how many cousins?Edit
You know those things that you don’t realize are maybe out of the ordinary? Well, believe, my extended family is one of those situations. No, I’m not saying that they are super bizarre, or have any crazy strange quirks, but just the size and demographics of my extended family is a bit…unusual.
My dad is one of eight. Yes, you read that correctly, one of eight. He is number five to be exact, having four siblings above him and three below him. To really spell it out for you, the order goes Cindy, Dianna, Charlotte, Debbie, Jeff (Dad), Jim, Maria, and then Greg. He was the first boy of the bunch and sort of took on the role of big brother, even for his older sisters. Now, my mom, wait for it, is one of nine! Yes, I know, even crazier. She is the second oldest and in order her sibling list looks like this: Cyndi, Mary Beth (Mom), Michelle, Laura, Patty, Robert, John, Becky, Richard. SO, to say the least I have quite the extended family. What even makes this greater is that they are all happily married and each had three or more kids. Even MORE crazy is the fact that a lot of my aunts and uncles kids also have kids of their own. So in summary we’re looking at 54 first cousins, and 13 soon to be 14 cousins’ kids. Phew!
Though it may seem crazy and hard to keep track of my family and whose kid is whose, it’s one of those experiences growing up that I’ve sort of taken for granted. You see, what I failed to mention is that the majority of both families live in Arkansas. My dad grew up in Fort Smith, and my mom in Pine Bluff, about two and a half hours apart from each other. When they got married they relocated to Dallas, TX for a while and had my three sisters and me. Since I can remember, the holiday tradition has always been the same. We would spend Thanksgiving with my mom’s side of the family, and Christmas with my dad’s side of the family. It was great. I looked forward to the long road trips with my sisters and the wonderful times we had at both extended families homes. However, reflecting back now, I can genuinely say I have learned so much about where my parents have come from because of these holiday trips. These trips weren’t extravagant, no. They were wholesome, fun trips that revolved around telling stories, baking together, playing massive games of kickball, and just enjoying each other’s company. All in all, it was my favorite childhood memory.
However, just to offer a funny anecdote about my two extended families. Since both families were from Arkansas and since they were both fairly large, both sets of my grandparents who also knew each other, thought it would be great to throw a combined family reunion! Each separate family was so excited to interact with another large family because they didn’t know anyone else who was so crazy in number. Well, needless to say my sisters and I did. I can’t even tell you how many times we were introduced to cousins we already knew. At the time, it was frustrating, but in retrospect, is probably one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in my life. I mean, who gets to say that both of their extended families are genuinely close with one another?
Anyways, what I’m trying to get at with this story is, reflection can go along way. You don’t realize what you have sometimes until it’s way down the line and it’s not as accessible as it once was. My family and I don’t go to family holidays anymore. We’re fortunate to have both sets of grandparents still alive, but we’re lucky if all of us can even match schedules to be under the same roof for more than twenty-four hours. Yes, it’s sad sometimes to think about, but I think it makes us value what we grew up with and what we have even more. It makes me remember that no matter the circumstance, no matter the time and place, if I fall, I have 15 aunts and uncles, 54 first cousins, and 4 incredible grandparents who are sure to catch you.
Being the youngest...What. A. Task.Edit
People often refer to the youngest as "the golden child" or "the favorite child". The way my oldest sister Amanda said it worked was best. She said that the oldest child was the "trial-run", the middle child was the "oddball" and the youngest child, was the "clear favorite". She doesn't actually believe that but at the same time, still gives me all the grief she can because I'm the youngest.My sisters are without a doubt, my two truest friends. I've talked to a lot of my friends here at college and they say they're either not very close with their siblings or don't talk to them very often. Now, I won't sit here and say to you all that I talk to my sisters everyday, but then again, I don't think that is how our friendship works. We are so close because we have invested so much in each other from the beginning. One of my favorite stories regarding my sisters is my freshman year homecoming in high school.
I had finally mustered up the courage to ask a girl who I had thought was pretty for quite sometime. I asked her at a football game and she enthusiastically said yes. Well I thought she enthusiastically said yes. We planned our date night and as the date got closer, I was more and more excited. My middle sister, Melissa, who was a senior in high school, was giving me pointers as to what to do, how to act, and how to properly treat a woman on a date. My oldest sister Amanda would call me and ask me all sorts of details regarding what I was wearing, if I was nervous, and how I thought the night was going to go. I told her that I thought it was going to be the highlight of my freshman year.The night of homecoming came, I went and picked up my date and we went to dinner with a big group, and then proceeded to the venue. When we got there however, I noticed her and her friends were talking in a small group on the bus. They then turned and said, "The winner of the 'Who could bring the biggest loser' contest is Stephanie!" Stephanie was my date's name. I immediately knew what had happened. Stephanie came up to me, took her ticket, laughed, and went inside. I had never been so humiliated. I had recently gotten a cell phone and texted my sister, hoping she would have her phone on her. She didn't, so I ran inside and started searching for her. I finally found her, and just started crying. I told her what had happened and she just wrapped me up like no one else in the world mattered. She then looked at me and said "John, get ready for the highlight of your freshman year." She proceeded to make a huge dance circle with all seniors and throw me in the middle and told me to dance. I had always loved dancing since I was four years old and am quite good at it. I danced in that circle and received that greatest applause I've ever received for anything I had ever done before. It made my night. It made my year.
My oldest sister, upon hearing the news, called me that night when I got back and just talked to me for an hour or so about how I was mature for how I handled it and how proud of me she was to call me her brother. My sisters, Melissa and Amanda have shaped so much who I am today. Their hearts, their spirits, they are truly incredible people. To be so selfless and share so much compassion with whoever they come into contact with is not only beautiful, but inspiring. To Melis & Amanda, thank you...for everything.
In SummaryEditAfter researching my family and reflecting on my life experiences with them thus far, I can honestly say I didn't realize how much I would learn about myself from seeing how my family grew up and where they were from. My mom and dad grew up in suburban Arkansas, one of the most historic places for known and deliberate racism and they are the most welcoming and accepting people I've ever met. I think it primarily goes back to my grandparents and how big their hearts are.
In talking to my grandma on my mother's side, she shared with me some stories about racism at her school back when she was a girl. She explained how kids would make deroggatory comments towards any kid of color and that if you weren't of a certain religious background, you would be yelled at, ostracized, and publicly humiliated. Further, she said that what made her choose not to participate, and eventually choose to stand up for these kids was something her mother told her. Her mother, my GiGi, told her one thing. She said, "Dolores, put yourself in those children's shoes. How do you think it would feel to be scared, sad, and never want to go to school?" This struck me greatly because to me, this defines my family. My family, all the way back to my great grandmother has understood what it means to "treat others as you want to be treated" and that is something that will stick with me and my future family to come.
Links to my family treeEdit