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Cultural Heritage Day

Last week Maddie came home from school and announced, “In two days we get to go to school dressed like our cultural heritage! So I’m going to dress Hawaiian!”

Yeah, ‘cause we look so darn Hawaiian.

Actually my mom grew up there and I was born there, so TECHNICALLY Maddie’s descended from a Hawaiian, I guess, but we’re the white Hawaiians. The ones that actual Polynesian Hawaiians don’t so much like.

So I set out to put Maddie straight on our heritage and explained why she really couldn’t dress Hawaiian. “Well,” she pouted, “Then what can I dress up as?”

Ah, now we see. It’s called Maddie Gets To Wear A Costume To School Day.

I rattled off some of the nationalities we’re actually descended from – Portugese, Irish, Scotch, Welsh, French, German, and Native American. I then tried to strongly encourage her to dress as a pioneer since that would truthfully be our closest heritage – I mean, my ancestors came from Portugal in 1642. Not exactly fresh off the boat.

Maddie poured through the costume closet while I was teaching that night and when I came home I learned both girls had decided to dress Welsh. My mom went online and looked up some sort of Wales national costume, and bless her heart she spent the next day sewing furiously for both girls. Seriously, I know how fortunate I am.

When the girls came downstairs the next morning, they were in red shawls and white or print tops with black or red skirts and black or red aprons. I know this was authentic(ish) but they did look a bit like they were about to tell me about the Bottomless Bowl at the Olive Garden.

Both girls scampered happily into school, my friends looking at me inquiringly since most of their kids, not being the Dress-Up crazies that MY kids are, did not dress as any particular heritage.

I explained the whole Wales thing to a friend of mine, who snorted. “If you really want your kid to dress like a Welshman, you should have put a mining lamp on her head, smeared some coal on her face, and sent her in wearing overalls and carrying a canary. That’s some authentic Welsh heritage for you!”

Now THAT I would like to have seen. Would a half-empty pint in one hand have been too much?


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