My Infamous Relative Revealed! Plus, Some Thoughts on Family Pride

This is it, folks, it’s time for our Big Reveal! The moment we throw open our family closet and shine a light on that bullet-ridden skeleton we’ve got hiding in there.

Just who is this infamous relative we referred to and oh-so-cleverly illustrated in last week’s post? I’ll tell you!

Only first, let’s give a shout-out to the fine folk who responded so readily with the right answer:

Andrew from Andrew’s View of the Week
Delphini from My Window
Husband of Anne from Jupp Kappius, and,
My sister-in-law, Laurie

There are a few things I’d like to point out:

  • First, the instructions said to put the initial of the last name in the comments, and that’s exactly what sis-in-law Laurie did. Just the letter. Exactly what was required; no more, no less. That, my friends, is the mark of a solid ‘B’ student. (Love ya Laurie!)
  • Next, it was only after the first few comments rolled in that I realized how incredibly lame my instructions were. All I said was to put his initial in the comments to prove you know the answer. Meaning all anyone had to do was read the first response (that would be Andrew’s), add the letter to their own comment and claim they knew all along.
  • Lastly, no one did that! Making the Feeding on Folly community a collection of the most honest, trustworthy souls I know!

Truly. You guys are the best.

Either you admitted you researched it, as Diane from LadiesWhoLunchReviews,etc did, or that you had no clue until you saw the letter, as Matilda from did. Others said that even with the letter, they still had no idea (Oh Roo, silly Roo). I mean, they could have said “Oh, that must be Q,” and never let on they didn’t know!

Wow, people. Just… wow.

It just goes to show, you are everything my notorious relative was not. And may I say, I’m honored to share this little corner of the internet with you.


Okay, now on with the Big Reveal: My infamous relative is none other than…

Vidkun Quisling!

I think my illustration is pretty spot-on, don’t you?

I won’t tell his whole story here (you can read his Wikipedia page for that), suffice it to say he sold out his country to the Nazis. But it’s not merely that he was a traitor, for even traitors can have their good points.

What made Quisling a… well, a quisling, is that he acted in his own self-interest. He wasn’t a Nazi; he didn’t buy into their ideology or hold to their plans. He merely went with the team that promised him the highest rank.

The jerk.

Now I’d like to point out — not that it matters, but I’ll point it out just the same — that I’m not an actual descendant of his. Despite having two wives, he didn’t have any children. So there’s that.

My dad was 17 years old when Norway was invaded by the Germans. I’m not sure how quickly the details of the invasion spread or how early Vidkun’s involvement was known, but my dad remembered the effect it had on his family.

In particular his Aunt Clara, for Aunt Clara was proud of her family and their relations. Just to be distant cousins to the Quislings was an honor, as they were a prominent family and several were in service to the King.

It’s interesting, is it not, how quickly our pride can turn to shame? How the actions of one individual can spread over the ocean, all the way to a small town in Iowa, into the heart of a white-haired spinster whose only crime was in boasting of her family’s royal connections?

But that’s the danger in boasting. It can so quickly turn against you.

Roo asked me in her comment last week how I felt about being related to this jerk Quisling.

I admit a part of me gets a kick out of telling people, partly for the shock value, but mainly because it’s a great story. And given the number of years that have passed, there’s no cause for shame. As Claudette pointed out in her comment, he’s not me. His actions do not reflect on me in any way.

And this is where I find Quisling’s role in my family tree an important one, for he forces me to stay humble.

Look at it this way: if I say the bad branches in my tree do not reflect on me, then I must say the good branches don’t either. Any successes my ancestors achieved, any noble or generous acts they may have accomplished, have no bearing on me. I can be judged by my actions alone, no one else’s.

This book I found in a forgotten cabinet, Pioneer Memoirs, has been an entertaining read for me. As it happens, Aunt Clara wrote periodically for her local newspaper, and her father, my great-Grandfather, had some of his experiences published as well. A few of their pieces are included in the book, and I plan on sharing some snippets with you in the weeks to come.

My reason for doing so is twofold:

  1. They’re great stories, and I’m all in favor of Story.
  2. The next two months or so are going to be crazy busy for me with many changes afoot, and this blog may very well suffer for it. Either I let it drift to the wayside, repost old articles, or let Aunt Clara and Great-Grandad tell their tales.

My pledge to you is that I’ll do my very best to avoid any family boasting. My request of you is that if I should slip up, you call me out on it.

All you need do is leave one comment: Remember Q.

19 thoughts on “My Infamous Relative Revealed! Plus, Some Thoughts on Family Pride

  1. Denying the bad at the expense of the good – rings true to me. One does not inherit good taste and good sense, one either has them or does not. You, Christi abound in both. I’m glad to be friends.

  2. I’m actually a little bit jealous. I mean, if you have to have a bad-apple ancestor, make it one with some gumption. The atrocities of my ancestors (at least the misbehavior that I’m aware of, not knowing anything about the Bio Mom side of things) are all essentially pedestrian, usually triggered by a combination of laziness and ignorance. No jazz hands or Wikipedia entries… 😉

    1. Let this be a lesson to you, Brian. If you want to be remembered to later generations, show some gumption and make it big!… er, no… on second thought, don’t do that. Brian, put down the bazooka!

  3. I’m looking forward to Aunt Clara and Co = you have interesting rellies.
    And since I am not a history or war knowledgable person, I don’t know Mt Q, and have no inclination to go see how naughty he was. I like my ignorance. 🙂

    1. Ignorance is indeed bliss, right? 😉
      Aunt Clara was a revelation to me. I remember Dad telling me about her, but I had no idea she wrote, or great-grandpapa for that matter.

  4. I’ll gladly wait patiently for when you return. My big family secret is when my great-grandfather hung himself in the barn. It seems he gambled away all the money set aside for heat oil for the upcoming winter. What a standup kind of guy.

    1. Oh my! I can’t imagine what that did to your poor great-grandmother, but as you’re here she must have made it through. Amazing how resilient some people are, when others are sorely lacking.

  5. I went back to read last week and, I’ll admit, I never even heard of Quisling before. (Sadly, there are enough villains to go around it’s hard to guess!)

    My only family claim to infamy is that my grandfather (whose given name was Adolph—but he hated it from early on, so everyone called him Chi—for Chicago) well, grandpa was not a fan of authority. He was drafted and sent to serve on a Pacific Island—I forget which one, now—in World War I. He was court martialled for dereliction of duty and drummed out of the service. He spent so much of his life chasing around to find work, he always was a bit of a free spirit. Though he settled down when he had to to raise a family. So, all in all, not nearly as exciting as your claim to fame. But reading about your history made me scrabble for my closest version.

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