Tag Archives: family

Pwned by family: Project renamed Operation Silver Fox

Pwn: v. Pwn is a slang term from Internet gaming, derived from the word “own”, that implies domination or humiliation of a rival (or in this case a parent)

My children have informed me that I am not to seek a sugar daddy (see yesterday’s post on this important topic).  And I have to admit their reasoning is sound.

#2 Son says:

a Sugar Daddy is a fat dude wearing a gold chain at a strip club who exchanges goods (da monies) for services (da sexytime).  This is not the image I want to have of my mother.

When he puts it like that, I definitely get the point. Yuck. Gold chain! Probably wears a pinky ring too. Double yuck. OK – scratch Operation Sugar Daddy. It hadn’t exactly gotten off the ground anyway.

If I’m going to embark on this mission, they say I should shoot for a more positive name, like “Operation Silver Fox”. Son #2 continues:

…Think silver fox, Mom. Think Sean Connery, Robert Redford, Richard Gere…

Richard Gere! Now we’re talkin’  – and he can even dance! Who cares if he knows which end of a hammer to use on a nail.

Operation Silver Fox it is.

Even with this name change, my daughter isn’t convinced that my eggs are in the right basket. I think she wants me to reduce expenses – sell the house and move into a mud hut.  In all fairness, she’s got a right to be wary – her 80- year-old mother-in-law has been living with them for five years and probably won’t be leaving except on a litter.

But she’s willing to play along for awhile if I put some thinking in to how I’ll brand and market myself.

“What’s your strategic plan, Mom?” she asks.

I’m thinking. I’m thinking.


Pause: n. a temporary stop, a brief suspension of the voice (or fingers on the keyboard)


This prolific poster is on holiday break in order to enjoy the onslaught of family from afar, snow from the heavens, and plenty of good food and drink.

Safe, healthy and happy holidays to all. See you in a few days.


To be a Paige: place and people of kin

I am a member of a family that has coalesced around one name, Paige. No matter that many of us were born with non-Paige surnames – we all consider ourselves Paiges. (We’re like the Kennedys — except for the Irish Catholic part, the political dynasty part, the dogged-by-tragedy part… oh, and the money. If you’re a Joe Kennedy descendant you’re a Kennedy, even if your name is something like Schriver.)

Right now I’m paying my annual pilgrimage to our family home, Pine Haven, on Cape Cod. My great-grandfather Timothy Paige bought Pine Haven in 1911 as a summer home when he came into some money from his uncle who had earned a bundle during the California Gold Rush selling pickaxes to the miners. Tim and the other Paiges had been farmers in central Massachusetts (Hardwick) for generations, so the inheritance was quite a shock.

Pine Haven -Paige haven since 1910

Pine Haven -Paige haven since 1911

Some of the money went for infrastructure in the village of Hardwick and some was spent on Pine Haven, the house next door to it and the house across the street. Pine Haven’s current owners are my second cousin Patty, who was born a Paige, and her husband. The house across the street also remains in the family and other cousins have bought or built homes within a block or two, so you could almost say we have a family compound – although it’s hardly grand.

Patty has taken it upon herself to organize family reunions every few years. We come from all across the country to participate and celebrate our Paigeness. We make a day trip to Hardwick to see the Paige Library, the Paige pew in the Universalist church, the modest Paige Agricultural Center, the statue of gold-rusher Calvin Paige.

Paige Library, Hardwick MA

Paige Library, Hardwick MA

About ten years ago Patty’s husband instituted a suitably fake-solemn ceremony when their daughter Paige married. With a ribbon, certificate and pompous pronouncement, he inducted the groom into the “I married a Paige” clan. Since then, whenever a member of the extended Paige family marries, their spouse is inducted at the reception, witnessed by growing numbers of the in-law clan, and cheered on by the “birth” Paiges.

So here’s the question: why am I a Paige, and not a Kimball, Bachrach or Keyes? Although my dad’s mom was the Paige, I carry equal shares of genetic material from my other three grandparents. I’m just a quarter-blood Paige by that reckoning.

But if my grandpa had been the Paige instead of my grandma, my Dad would have carried the name as a full Paige and I’d be a half-blood. If I was my dad’s son my name would still be Paige and I could also consider myself full-blood.

At each generation, the blood of one family line is diluted by each new family into which the children marry. Over time the dilution of a particular family’s genes could be considered only homeopathic in strength. And yet, if the family has sons at each generation who pass the family surname to their sons, the name continues at full strength, no matter how many generations have passed.

When does a bloodline begin then? Who is the most essential Paige, or Smith, Jones, Epstein, Kennedy?

Why am I a Paige? Because we say so. Because the Kimballs, Bachrachs, and Keyes never got their familyness acts together the way the Paiges did.

The regular gatherings of the clan and sub-groups of the clan reinforce our Paigeness. Patty’s collection of Paige photos going back more than 100 years and her unstinting hospitality to family members reinforce our Paigeness. The wedding ritual certainly celebrates Paigeness. And finally, we are blessed with a connection to Place. Pine Haven is the place we’ve been coming to for a hundred years, and there are more of us across the street and down the road. We can also go back to a village in central Massachusetts and see our name on various plaques on buildings, headstones in the graveyard.

We are literally grounded, and in today’s quickly changing world I find this solidity comforting.