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Intro: All throughout my lifetime (thus far), I’ve been asked – almost on a daily basis – what nationality I am. Some people thing I’m Asian, some think Mexican, others (more accurately), guess Native American. The question is posed based strictly on the shape of my eyes (although other features have since become more prominent). Truth be known, I’m a combination of German, Irish, French, and a double dose of Native American. On my father’s side is Blackfoot. My mother’s side brings me Cherokee… but I don’t believe my nationality has as much to do with my appearance as a more metaphysical connection to ancestry. I remember one day when I came home from school crying because the kids had all called me “Chinese Eyes” and taunted me, my mother dug through a drawer of old photos until she’d found the one she’d been looking for. My great-great-grandmother, Grandma Olinger. Low and behold, she had my eyes exactly. Two of my three children also inherited these eyes… and to me, they’re magick. This piece was written just last year when I took another look at that picture and my ancestry.

“Magick Eyes”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
2007

She was a woman I never met –
but she had a face I couldn’t forget
as I traced the photograph with one finger;
touched the face of Grandmother Olinger.
They say a photograph never lies…
and I’ve got Grandmother Olinger’s eyes.
I stare at the photo in mystic awe,
wondering what my grandmother saw.
She died many years before my birth,
traveling far beyond this earth –
leaving behind her legacy
for the generations who’d come to be.
And though she never knew my name,
pictures don’t lie – our eyes are the same.
Were it not for her, I’d not be me
and I wonder if she sees what my eyes see.

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