|I can hardly deny that I am both narrowly educated in matters of the world and painfully naive as to my own families' cultures. I mean I don't know very much -- say, compared to Sister Dash, who's a fiend on her Swedish identity -- about my Norwegian and Icelandic heritage, let alone my Bohemia-Czech-Slovak-Polish side. So I was surprised and delighted to run across this article about Lutheran Romani (otherwise known as "gypsies") in Transylvania/Romania.|
Now, I have no personal investment in Transylvania (although I'd really like to master that "Dracula" accent!), but the Romani (or Romany) are another matter: A family legend, presumed factual, is that the Penas family ended up in Bohemia because their gypsy travels brought them there. There is support for such a story, too. For example, my Fulbright-Fellowship-winning uncle was unable to trace the family back in Bohemia and Eastern Europe much beyond the days before they moved to the States. And our name is a Greek-related name, meaning "poor" (when Jesus says "blessed are the poor" the word translated "poor" is "penas" -- pronounced "pen-ace," which is how some in the family tree pronounce it): I had a Greek doctor in Illinois who took great delight in greeting me in Greek and addressing me as the "beggar," because in modern Greek our patronym refers to the gypsy-beggar. So there is circumstantial evidence that there is "gypsy blood" in these, my veins.
Now I find out that some maybe-distant cousins are fellow Lutherans. How exciting is that? For me: quite!