I have to admit, I got stuck. I ran out of Sound of Music anecdotes (blog worthy ones, anyway) and then spent several weeks thinking – what do I write about next? I started with the easily remembered stories – the ones that come out at parties when people ask questions. But what about the parts of growing up as a von Trapp that had nothing to do with the Sound of Music? Will readers be interested in those? I guess there's only one way to find out. But first, let me set the stage.
Both my father and mother, Henriette Lajoie von Trapp, came from large families – my father the oldest of 10 and my mother, third oldest of 12. Mom likes to tell about having 14 bridesmaids in her wedding party – her seven sister’s and my father’s seven sisters.
Between all those aunts and uncles, I wound up with 46 FIRST cousins. 21 of them share the von Trapp heritage, and each of us have different stories to tell of growing up part von Trapp, part whatever our non-von Trapp parent brought to the table. For me, that part was an iron-willed woman whose mother emigrated from France to marry an American soldier she met during WWI.
So other than English as a native tongue, there was very little about my childhood that could be considered typically American. My parents’ strong European and Catholic backgrounds shaped their values, customs and beliefs, and subsequently our family.
On top of all that, in 1949 when my brother George was 1, and my sister Monique was 10 days old, our mother contracted Polio. After a long battle and slow recovery, she was confined to a wheelchair. Regardless, she and my father added four more to the brood, wrapping it all up with me in 1965, 17 years after they got started.
Based on that odd mix of circumstances, you can see the dilemma. There’s so much to tell, where do I start? And will people find the stories entertaining and interesting? I guess there’s only one way to find out. I’ll just dive in and let you tell me what you think. That’s the good thing about a blog. You know where you stand pretty quickly. – F.v.T.