The Sittingbulls were modest, simple people that changed what they could, and accepted what they couldn’t. Ayita was a product of her family after all. They had raised her to care for others more than herself. Always see to the comfort of those around you before you seek comfort for yourself. If you didn’t, how would anyone ever learn how to act. So it was really no surprise at how hard the Sittingbulls had taken their daughter’s secret marriage.
Ayita and Jiri had showed up in Oklahoma married, and with a 1-year-old daughter. Grandpa Chase didn’t speak to his daughter for 2 months. So angry was he at being denied the opportunity to congratulate the man strong enough to accept Ayita, and revel in the birth of a child that would be his only grandchild. He questioned whether or not this man’s family had the capacity to be as accepting of diversity as he was.
Which was a fair question with all things considered. The Dalianas side of the family had come to the Sittingbull half independently wealthy from money they could trace back to the 1700’s as the world was changing and philosophers became politicians. Samath Dalianas had a knack for finance, and had more than doubled the family’s abundant wealth over the years by branching out in shipping and trade. Sandra remembered feeling like it was much too Onassis for her, and then she found out that Aristotle was the guy grandpa had been advised by. Smart move. So her father’s family had maintained strong family lines in Greece with a few other members scattered in chunks over Europe, and the United States. Needless to say when one was a part of an affluent Greek family, news traveled quickly. The twenty-eight immediate family members of the Dalianas clan had arrived together on the honeymooning couple’s hotel door in France the day after the wedding. It made for quite a retelling during holidays when Sandra met up with her completely scattered extended family of all races gathered in some preplanned centralized location. Always it amazed Sandra that despite her racial obscurity, her completely biased Greek half never failed to treat her just as warmly, and as inexplicably inane as any other Dalianas offspring having the misfortune of being born in what Nana Irene termed ‘this doomed generation’.
The blind affection from all halves of Sandra’s diverse family hadn’t properly prepared Sandra for some of the unsettling thoughts about race and inequality that apparently a lot of people in this world had. She had found out early in her life, and often, that people were either intrigued or horrified by her obvious racial ambiguity. She was always made aware that life as a mixed breed was more than just differing religions, languages, and mentalities. Everything seemed to come back to that one question. What are you? Over the years Sandra had come up with a multitude of witty repartee for this line of conversation. Her favorites have been: Human, Yoko Ono and Sammy Davis Jr.’s secret love child, and what they really found at Roswell. Her best friend talked up her envy at every turn saying how wonderful and interesting it must be to be so unique. True, but not much fun when you really thought about it.
In the mirror stared back at her a tan complexioned girl with unruly curly black hair, untamable eyebrows, long nosed, and thick lipped with overdeveloped breasts, obnoxious hips, and the frightening ability to put on muscle like a linebacker. She grew hair in the oddest spots, and there really wasn’t a base that matched her skin tone. No eye shadow that did wonders for her ever-changing eye color. Most clothes fit her awkwardly if not skin tight or impossibly loose. And then there were men. Did she really want to get into men? Oy vey.
Due to her parents’ international lifestyle, Sandra had grown up everywhere. She had been born in Rome on a humid night in mid-July. She had celebrated her 3rd birthday on a yacht outside of Norway. Her fifth was on the coast of Brazil. Her most memorable was her sweet 16 in New Zealand. Obviously one didn’t maintain friendships very well, or relationships of a more carnal nature. There had always been love in Sandra’s life. Without fail grandparents, aunts and uncles, first, second and third cousins, and a few acceptations showered her with affection whether they were Greek, Cherokee, African American, or some other odd mix. Ayita and Jiri were the most loving couple she knew; fiery due to their mixed ancestry and beliefs, but just as loving none the less.