My Life Story in Ten Pictures (Pt. 5: Haitian)

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a mutt. What I mean by this is that I come from mixed stock. Today I will be focusing on my father’s side of the family. This is the side of the family that hails from Haiti.

This is our flag. 

My father’s side of the family is very large. Here is a little tidbit to give you an idea of how large it is. Not too long ago my grandmother was discussing my future wedding with my girlfriend (that is all my grandmother ever talks about). She made a comment to my girl that we should have a small wedding. My girl was ecstatic, because she really wants to have a small wedding. The smile was quickly wiped off her face when my grandmother added, “Small wedding, family only. Keep it to like 250 or 300 people!” Get the picture now?

Let me introduce you to the key players.

old ladies
From left to right (all the Tantes are grand-aunts): Tante Raymonde (r.i.p.),
Ma Gigi (my godmother), Ti Grandma (my grandma),
Tante Huguette, Tante Lulu, and Tante Mimi.

My Haitian family is very much a matriarchy. My grandmother’s generation is full of strong, dynamic women. My grandmother was one of nine siblings, eight of whom were female. Each and every one of the ladies you see in this picture had an active hand in raising me (and I do mean an “active hand”). When I was younger I would go to my grandmother’s house nearly every day after school. They would feed me, make sure I did my homework, and prevent me from killing my little brother. Also, each Sunday was like a little mini-family reunion. I would see all of the grand-aunts pictured here and a cast of many more. I miss those days.

dad and aunts
Tati Nani (Nancy), Tati Gagi (Margaret, r.i.p.), 
my dad, and Tati Beanie (Sabine) 

The next generation continued with the female dominance. My father has four sisters and no brothers. Most of his first cousins are also female. My aunts were all spread apart when I was young. One lived in Haiti (Tati Gagi), one lived in Miami (Tati Beanie), and two in New York (Tati Nani and Tati Gizou who is not pictured above. Sorry Tati Gizou. I’ll get you later.). Still wherever they were, I always felt just as close to all of them. They would spend summers and the ocassional christmas up here and we would pick up right where we left off every time I got to see them. I was treated completely as one of their children.

The cousins: Me, Mica, Tina, Alain, Christian (in diapers),
my brother Laurent, Valerie, and Jonathan (in Valerie’s arms)

Speaking of the children, there we are. We were all raised as if we were brothers and sisters, despite the distance that separated us most times. These days, as we’ve all gotten older, things are not quite the same as they used to be, but the love is still there. This picture was taken in Haiti circa 1992. I was in Haiti for almost the whole summer that year. We had so much fun! The only cousin not to be pictured here is my cousin Adam. He was born a short while later. Here is a pic of him in a ridiculous Santa outfit to make up for it.   

He used to be so cute!



  1. Awesome pics! You have a most interesting heritage to talk about. I love to hear about big families that stayed close and actually did things together and were FAMILY to one another. Sadly, it’s far too rare these days. 

  2. @Shirlann – I am with you on that one, although he is a cute baby. Nice fam. Dave, 200 folks though? Good Lawd. I dont even like 20 of my closet family member i know i dont want those niggardly bastards at my wedding. All i would get would be toasters from the family dollar. I’d have like 20 toasters. SMH. LOL

  3. hey what do you mean things are not the same anymore? it’s not my fault you are too busy to call me. lol jk i love the pics (haha adam in the santa outfit) and the memories. p.s. the cousin picture was 1991 and i don’t think matriarchy is a word.

  4. p.s.s. i have a plan for my wedding to cut down the people…i am trying to get my mom to start family feuds with people. i might take over her facebook and start sending them mean messages. i suggest you just start posting worse pics and writing meaner things…it will save you a LOT of money. lolol

  5. I really like this series of yours. πŸ™‚ I have a huge family as well, all over Brazil, and of course second-cousins and third-cousins are all just cousins too. πŸ™‚ Sadly, I haven’t seen most of them in years (or even met some of them), as I live so far away. :(But like yours, my eventual wedding’s going to be enormous, as I’m planning on having it in Brazil. πŸ˜€

  6. Family is so wonderful!!  I have only one cousin in the world and he is the age of one of my children. I have one uncle. My Mother is an only child, my father had only one brother…. So although I think having a lot of family around is wonderful, I have only experienced it vicariously!! Enjoy yours! πŸ™‚

  7. I bet it was fun, growing up in a large family, where all the cousins, aunts and uncles are around.  Your aunts all have similar smiles – you can tell they are sisters!Looks like you will have a large wedding, no matter what, with so many family members, let alone friends!Kathi

  8. Lol. I love the “small” wedding. 250-300. I feel ya on having a ton of family members. my dad is 1 of 11 and my mom 1 of 5. all of my cousins have tons of kids and all of my cousin’s kids have tons of kids. ha ha. good lord.

  9. Nice family. Sounds like a lot of fun. When my niece was first adopted from Haiti, she called me Ti-Lu, short for Tante Luann. Or is it short for Tati? i don’t know. Either way, now that she’s 22 she still calls me that when she wants something!

  10. What a beautiful family! I like big families. They’re so fun! My hubby has a pretty big family (his mom has 7 siblings and they all have kids!) and we go to get-togethers a couple times a year. I love them!My family is sort of big, but we rarely see any of them because most of them live in Europe. Thats the one thing that makes me thankful for Facebook!

  11. I talk  about wanting a caribbean man all the  time.   Have any single  male relatives?  Late 20’s to mid-late 30’s?  :DI wish I knew more of  my heritage.  All I know is that I’m basically a european mutt with a little cherokee thrown in.   I’ve always envied big families that  grow up together with cousins  and aunts and uncles and all that.  My immediate family doesn’t have  much  to do with our extended family, mostly because they’re all  jerks, but it’s definitely something  I’ve always wanted to have. 

  12. I love family roots like this,you are blessed.I come from a long line of Mennonites and we were raised closely too,my mom is one of eleven.So ,you remember Vi and I are coming ,how is the 19th looking?

  13. So cool! My grandma is Haitian (been in the states for like 50 years and STILL has such a strong accent people can’t understand her over the phone, haha) and my mom used to spend summers there. My grandma’s sad though because she says Haiti is so awful she’d never want to go back now. ~V

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