Does The Apple Really Fall That Far From The Tree?

 This is my entry for Living Out Loud. The theme is “All in the family”.

Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future. ~Gail Lumet Buckley
 About a year ago, I attended a high school football game in my hometown. Seated on the bleacher in front of me happened to be the guy I went to my junior prom with. My husband pointed him out and asked if I knew who he was. I hadn’t a clue, so he filled me in. I said hello to the guy and asked him if he knew who I was. He answered, “Yeah, you’re one of those Carter girls from Schuyler, aren’t you?” So, he didn’t recognize me either. At least, not specifically. I guess we’ve both changed a lot in a span of almost thirty years.

I am the youngest of six children. I have two brothers and three sisters. Our personalities are vastly different from one another, and we’ve each taken different paths in life. Physically, we resemble one another. Yet again we are each quite unique, gifted with different traits from each parent. The women in my father’s family are tall and slender. The women in my mother’s family are a bit shorter and more rounded with what they call the “Harris hips”. Although, I have the height of my father’s side, I have to be careful in gaining weight because it goes right to my hips!

Throughout the years, people have remarked that my parents even look alike. What is funny about that is that when I was researching my genealogy, I found that the grandparents of the seventh generation of my father’s maternal line were the same as those of the sixth generation of my mother’s paternal side. And no, it doesn’t stop there! These same people are also my husband’s ancestors. I have found genetics of genealogy fascinating. I love pouring over old photographs and comparing family features. However, family history such as trades and talents have been passed down as well.

You have to know that all three of my older sisters have always been incredibly pretty. I have always considered myself the “ugly duckling”. I figured God had run out of all the good stuff in the beauty department when it came to me and the traits I received. So, instead of pretty and popular like the others, I became the studious one. Oh, I was still obsessed with my looks for many years. It has been until only very recently that I have embraced my inner qualities. As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is perception. Other’s opinions are based on their relationship to me. Superficial relationships judge me on appearance. People with whom I have intimate friendships know who I really am.

This is my mother and sisters (oldest to the youngest). I am at the far right.

Those words “one of those Carter girls from Schuyler” stayed with me long after they drifted from that guy’s mouth. I wonder how many other people from my past define me the same way. It is a label I have tried all of my life to escape, and I actually thought I’d been successful. Not that there is anything wrong with being a Carter girl from Schuyler, I just wanted to be me. I wanted my own identity, and I had struggled to achieve it. I can’t help but be perplexed by that guy’s remark. Did it mean I actually wasn’t the ugly duckling I’d perceived myself to be? Or was it some other trait that stood apart amongst the sisters? Maybe, I should have just been bold enough to ask him.

It’s really hard to say who I look like. I have physical traits of both my mother and father. Both of my parents have dark curly hair, so I guess I was destined in that area. While I have the downward slant of my mother’s eyes, I have the hazel tone of my fathers’. My father passed his nose to me and my mother handed down her cheek bones.  Mannerisms are an entirely different story. I am very much a talker and story-teller like my father, yet I am a listener and sympathizer like my mother. My mother and I both tap the table and move things around while we listen, and my father and I use flamboyant hand gestures as we speak.  Growing up, I swore I’d never be anything like my mother. A few years ago, I realized I had become my mother. And now, I know that’s a good thing. I’ll include pictures and let you decide. Personally, I think I look like my mother’s mother. Again, I’ll let you decide.

I have facets of both parents in my personality. My mother has always been a nurturer. She has always taken care of others. She was and still is incredibly emotional, gentle, resourceful, generous, and compassionate. She creates from her heart. My father was a grower and builder. He creates with his hands. He was and still is creative, stubborn, sarcastic, intuitive, and resilient. And even though a combination of all those things make me, I’m still simply Suzi.

I am in the center. My maternal grandmother is above, and my paternal grandmother below. So, what’s the verdict? Lastly, I will add pictures of each son when they graduated from high school and a picture of Dirt Man and I when we were much younger (shortly after we were first married).  I think they picked up a few traits from each of us. What do you think? (My humble opinion is that Oldest looks like me but acts like Dirt Man, and Youngest looks like Dirt Man but acts like me.)

Oldest and his dad at his High school graduation.

Youngest and his dad and I at his high school graduation.

Dirt Man and I at ages 20 and 22.

41 thoughts on “Does The Apple Really Fall That Far From The Tree?

  1. I think you’re really a good mix between your two parents, and with your grandmothers, I also see features of both.

    Now with your son, I can’t tell who he most resembles.

    But the one thing I know above all is that you really are beautiful, inside and outside.

  2. Funny, I always considered myself the “ugly duckling” and was always jealous that all of you tended to gravitate more towards the tall and slender Carter side while I got the Harris hips in spades! And you all seemed to get more cheekbones while my face is still looking for mine.

    I’ve always thought your oldest and my middle look more like brother and sister than they do their own siblings which must mean they both gravitate towards the maternal side of the family. I never thought he ever looked like Dirtman until a few months ago when I saw a baby picture of both of them and I was startled at how much they looked alike. I had just never considered it. Younger, def looks like Dirtman.

    • It is funny that our perceptions of ourselves are usually somewhat different than others perceive us. Yes, my oldest and your middle do look probably the most alike of the grandchildren and more alike than we siblings. And BTW, you have fabulous cheekbones.

      • And WHOSE face are you looking at cause it sure ain’t mine! I have no cheekbones! Our oldest sister got the majority of those.

  3. sweet pics , I feel you have a strong sense of belonging to your family and that’s great.I notice that the older you row , the more beautiful you become.

  4. Your paternal Grandmother is you in spades SC. Wow. Your oldest certainly has some of your characteristics. Both boys are handsome young men. You are so right about perceptions too. I always thought of myself as the quiet, little nerdy teacher’s pet. Time has handed me a mirror and I have to admit that I am not so bad to look at. Blueviolet has it right though, as your beauty on the inside matches the outside package. The inner beauty makes one shine.

  5. Genealogy is something that facinates me so much, I joke that I am related to everyone in Pickens and Oconee Counties SC and going back several generations I think all of our families does the same thing you pointed out about yours.

    Excellent post and Thank you for sharing the look back on your Family, you are defiantly one of the Carter Girls it appears but at the same time your individualy person shines through

  6. Y’all are a good lookin’ bunch! Hereditary traits are fascinating. I love seeing the mix in Sydney, including the personality ones.

    These pictures and what you know about your heritage…..priceless.

  7. Oh my goodness…that reminds me of “the girls”. I have a blended family. When I lived with my father and step-mother, I had an older step-sister and a younger half-sister (all sisters in my mind…), we were always dubbed “The Girls”. I’m not sure if we ever had individual names. We got in trouble together even if only one of us deserved it.

    I was estranged from my biological mother from 13-18 (I think you know that story), and was reunited with her, we found that we cleaned the same way, laughed the same way, had so much of the same characteristics. How’s that for genetics?

  8. You are most definitely not an ugly duckling and held your own against your sisters for sure. I think you just didn’t realize it.

    I think you look incredibly like your maternal grandmother, the likeness to me is very strong. Your father looks a lot like his mother I think.

    It is always so interesting looking at family resemblances and I think they change over time and I also have found that looking at old photos as I get older I see resemblances I did not spot when younger. I was always told how much I look like my mother and I do, but a while ago I found a picture taken of me from the side in my twenties looking out to sea and there staring back at me was my father’s profile.

    Everyone says my daughter is the image of her father, so I hope over time some glimmer of resemblance to me might reveal itself 🙂

    Lovely post SuziCate, having such a rich criss-crossing family history is something to treasure and you clearly do.

  9. What a GREAT-looking family you have, SC!

    Honestly…you’re ALL so attractive, and I can definitely see the physical similarities, but at the same time, each one of your have your own individual unique “look”

    I can see a little of both your mother AND father in you, but you diffinitely favor your mother.

    You and Dirt Man make a FLAWLESS-looking couple!

    Thanks for sharing your family tree, SC!

    Enjoyed…..X

  10. Okay, I think you’re crazy about calling yourself an ugly duckling! Your eyes are amazing! Your hair is gorgeous, and that smile of yours – wow!

    And when I was looking at the pictures, and got to the pic of Dirt man and your youngest son at graduation – I thought the ‘girl’ next to him was his girlfriend! Not until I read the caption did I even know it was you!

    I really think we are all our own worst critics, don’t you?

  11. I think being called by your last name was the in thing for many years, and in some states still is. I can go back to North Carolina and people will say, I know you are one of those summerlin girls, but can’t tell which one. In school it was nothing to hear someone say “hey summerlin what’s up.” lol those were the good old days and I miss them. I think you are beautiful and you do have a beautiful smile. You also look like both of your parents. Thank you for sharing with us a little about your life. I love reading about it.

  12. It’s so interesting reading the comments here. I think you look like a total combo of your parents. And JUST like your MATERNAL grandmother. And you and Dirt Man and both boys are all gorgeous. Can’t believe you’ve ever considered yourself the ugly duckling! Crazy.

  13. I love your older pictures. I think I have a lot of my maternal g-ma in me too. At least I have the same thighs she had when she was younger (older she got thin and slender).
    btw- My mom is the better quilter. I sew only small ones usually because I don’t like messing with big ones.

  14. It’s funny because I always thought I was the least “pretty” of the 4 sisters. Didn’t bother me a bit because I also knew I was fairly brainy. When I look at your photos, I wonder what you were thinking. You are gorgeous. You come from a really pretty family.

  15. Now I have a real sense of the physical you to go with the you I have come to know through your writing. I think we are all blends physically of both our parents and that we resemble one or the other at different points in our lives. In the end..we are just ourselves with pieces from our parents but we are individual…just as we see and hope for our own children. But it is still fun to identify certain things that come from this side of the family or that one. What a handsome family you have today. One to be very proud of.

  16. What an amazing post. I love all of the photos you have shared. Family reunions are wonderful. You do look like your grandmother’s. I little here and a lot there. lol 🙂 I bet your Mom says you look like her and your Dad stays out of it. lol 🙂 I am sooo happy for your son. CONGRATS to him. May he have a wonderful future. 🙂

  17. Great family memories! Growing up in the South we’re pretty much are always mocked for marrying family..but hey aren’t we all? Family I mean. I think you are a beautiful blend of them all…and your words and your picture hold in common the beauty of just being you!

  18. I see a lot of you in both your grandmother’s pictures.

    I was the “smart one” also and my sister was the pretty one. I don’t remember anyone assigning us those roles, but that is certainly what I thought at the time. Funny how we pigeonhole ourselves.

    You’re quite lovely, btw. 🙂

  19. Insightful post. I look through our family photos with the same idea.

    The Mrs. is the middle sister of three and in her hometown she is always identified as “one of the insert last name girls.” It bothers her as well.

  20. You definately take after your maternal grandmother a lot! Your so pretty, I can’t imagine why you would ever call yourself an “Ugly duckling”. Then again don’t we all have that veiw of ourselves?

    Weird how your family lines have crossed. My dad and my stepmothers also crossed way back when.

  21. I absolutely see traits of both parents in your physical appearance. I really enjoyed this post…as I grow older I find myself analyzing who I look like, where I come from, what traits I have picked up, which ones I was born with. Really some fascinating things to think about.

  22. Being a “Carter girl” I think is one of the finest things anyone from your home town could ever say! Your family is held in such high regard and always spoken with such repect,it still amazes me.If we are a function and someone askes me who I am,I just say “married a Carter girl” They smile with the hidden message(YOU did good boy!) They then say”Pete Carter is a good man!”I will then tell them my name,”my name is Dwight!’ and they anwser “Where is the Bathroom?” I still get no respect in Nelson co!!!!! BIL

  23. Wow. You look incredibly like your grandmothers and they looked alike. And wow, your sons are gorgeous and they take after you. They both are vibrant and have sweet smiles just like you. And I just love you Suzicate.

  24. I am the youngest in my family, too, and I completely relate to the “ugly duckling” thing. LoL But let me tell you, Suzicate, you are beautiful! Your eyes are absolutely stunning. STUNNING.

  25. I agree that you look more like your mother… and your sons do have lots in common with Dirt Man!

    And Suzi, I think that it’s wonderful that you’ve embraced your personality traits and skills and simply your inner beauty – it’s a hard thing to do, and it’s never easy to maintain that sort of acceptance. But I don’t agree about you being the ugly-duckling. I personally think you’re beautiful, and as far as I know you from your blog, I know you’re beautiful inside as well.

  26. Love looking at your photos, the resemblances of your family members and YOUR beautiful smile! I bet “those Harris Hips” came in handy with kids. We’ve got them too. The black and white group shot with you on the right is my favorite. Looks like a Steel Magnolia’s moment, I don’t know why.

  27. beautiful pictures and yes you do look like your grandmother….. love to look at old photos and see the traits we have inherited….we are all apart of a much larger picture….very nice….bkm

  28. Oh, to have those cheekbones! To die for. I certainly wouldn’t consider you an ugly duckling.

    I agree that your older son favors you most and younger favors Dirt Man, but I can see pieces of you in both. There are incredibly handsome boys.

  29. I’ve always found family history so fascinating! I think you look like your maternal grandmother but I can see your paternal grandmother in you as well. I love all the pictures; they’re great!
    -Jen

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