You and I have a deficiency. Kurt Vonnegut said, "Think of the British Navy, whose sailors filled the world's oceans during the height of their empire. And yet their sailors felt lousy all the time and died off in large quantities. Of course, this was all due to a vitamin deficiency."
As an Albanian myself I felt this. Thank you Louie.
Feels good. I grew up somewhere similar to this.. My grandmother had 12+children.. but the situation growing up was not that memorable.. it was poverty.. everyone on others food.. money.. stealing.. so people were thinking to get far from family.. may be my situation is that.. grown up in little village surrounded by all family members..... grown up just to leave them all.. would I go back and live that way? I doubt.. but really love building small close circle.. nephews.. parents.. kids..
Terrific edition Louie--you make a fundamental point brilliantly! I love the connection between scurvy and lack of broad family relationships.
BTW I’d say women were often the core connectors, nourishers and managers if these complex multi-generational, multi-family relationship structures. Like the decision to limit how many children they want, it is women who have made the decision to redirect their energy from these complex family relationship structures to other activities and areas of focus. My 86 year old mother and her three sisters, also immigrants to America, are the reason my 17 cousins and I know and for the most part like each other, and why these healthy relationships continue to our children’s and even grandchildren’s generations. It wasn’t our fathers who forged and maintained these relationships between all of us.
Loved the illustrations and photos of life in Albania and your family. If you think in generations instead of hundreds of years the connection between then and now is even closer: 6 or 7 generations to the life depicted in the paintings. In terms of when “scurvy” started its only been the last 2, of at most 3, generations.
Very good edition, Louie, as someone who was brought up close to the balkans in the 90s I can relate to your story. I think, though, that the issue is more complex.
As you know, when the communists took over, they nationalised the houses so everyone who had more than a bedroom would need to take in strangers in their house. We became an overpopulated society.
I remember my grandparents sharing a house with her brother and always fighting about everything.
So, after communism fell, everyone wanted a bit of intimacy. I felt the same after spending 5 years in a dorm with 4 other people. I couldn’t wait to get my own place.
But that was still ok, as we would hang out almost everyday. The issue nowadays is based on these damn phones and tablets, as we spend too much time on these fake social networks instead of building true relationships with people in our communities.
I plan to change that too.
Brilliant newsletter as always. I grew up with a large extended family too so this post resonates very well with me.