Sixteen community-linked women — holding careers in the arts, banking, philanthropy, publishing, news media, design, food, leisure and acting — met at Chanterelle Edmonds Hometown Bistro last month to be introduced to one another, share fund-raising and marketing ideas, offer encouragement — and party.
They all left as friends, but two of the women attending the private event left as newfound cousins.
Author Jeanne Misha Martinez Carter (Misha Carter), who staffs Edmonds Diversity Commission, and Lynnwood resident Cynthia Andrews, development associate at UNCF (United Negro College Fund), had never met before the evening’s gathering, but after chatting realized that their family ties go back several generations.
Says Andrews, a life coach and the energy behind bringing the Chicago Steppin’ craze to Edmonds: “How often do you attend an event where you think you will not know anyone, but leave finding a real-life blood relative who only lives 15 minutes away from you? Well that happened to me!”
My Edmonds News (MEN) requested an interview with Misha Carter (MC) to discuss how this Edmonds-Kind-of Coincidence came about. Please join us as we take in the story of two women who now share more than just a fun evening with girlfriends.
MEN: Misha, having been at Chanterelle’s the evening of your’s and Cynthia’s discovery, it was such a thrill to hear you and Cynthia cry out in that first moment of realizing that you are related. We are pleased that you can take the time to describe to our readers this incredible twist of fate.
First though, please introduce yourself to My Edmonds News readers.
MC: My hometown is Anchorage, Alaska. I came to Seattle to attend Cornish College of Arts and loved the Puget Sound region so much that I stayed.
I have lived predominately in the unincorporated area adjacent to Edmonds but recently moved inside the city limits. Besides being on the Edmonds Diversity Commission, I teach martial arts classes in Edmonds, and have authored my second book, Wisdom of the Tiger – Detach and Discover, which will be published in the next few months.
My karate studio is organized as a non-profit, Carter Karate Institute of Peace. Under that banner we have raised funds for many causes including Family Shelter Everett, and the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. We were able to also assist the victims of the Oso mudslide with our fundraising.
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MEN: Please describe for our readers how the moment of realizing you and Cynthia are related came about.
MC: After Cynthia and I were introduced at the Chanterelle party; I showed her the cover of my first book, “The Criminal Color: A Book of Realism ” on which a photograph of my mother is featured. She looked closely at the picture and said, “My mother is photographed in front of that very same backdrop. Her picture was taken in Yakima.”
I replied, “Oh! My mother was in Yakima when this picture was taken.” It only took a few more moments before we realized both women were in Yakima at the same time. Then, we went through people we know until that “ah ha!” moment happened.
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MEN: In genealogical terms, how are you and Cynthia related?
MC: From what we’ve determined so far, the relationship is through a marriage that took place on our mother’s maternal side. My grandparents and Cynthia’s grandparents.
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MEN: How is it that you’ve never met before?
MC: Cynthia was raised locally and I was born and raised in Alaska. My grandfather, Reverend John Holliday, who originated churches in Alaska, Portland and Hammond Louisiana, was married a number of times, five or six, actually.
He even re-married his first wife (my grandmother, Lula Augusta Franklin) 33 years after they divorced. But during the time they weren’t married, he wed a woman named Carrie. She is our link.
There are seven children in my family and we could never afford trips to the Lower 48. By the time I finally left Alaska, my grandfather was married to someone other than Carrie.
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MEN: Since meeting each other – what familial connections have been made with each other’s immediate family?
MC: My mother is most excited to re-connect with Cynthia’s mother, Rosemary; as well as with Cynthia and the entire family.
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MEN: Is there a reunion, or luncheons, or other “We found each other!” celebrations planned.
MC: My brothers and sisters want us to all meet each other sometime this summer when they visit from Alaska. We’re working on setting a date.
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MEN: Well, first of all, My Edmonds News would like to express happiness that the two of you, and your respective families, have an opportunity to get to know one another. Secondly, we would like you to stay in touch with us as your exciting story develops. Thank you for taking the time to do the interview.
— By Emily Hill