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Location: Viljandi, Estonia

Thursday, May 04, 2006

New Amsterdam and Marta the Movie

When I first met Epp, I was a recently-graduated journalism major in the very far away city of Helsinki in Finland in the summer of 2002. I was in a group of about 15-20 fellow journalists and I had imagined that the Estonians, Austrians, Bulgarians, and Russians would all be wearing their national costumes.

We all had to introduce ourselves and identify our place of origin. But when I went to say my country's name, I said "New York" instead. Oops. I should have said the lengthy and bland sounding "United States of America." But I said New York, and, I have to say, it seemed more appropriate. The world has its international cities. In New York we wave our American flags and (most of us) speak English - but often it seems we are to the US what Hong Kong is to China. Part of the map, yet spiritually distinct.

I lead you into this maze of words because in digging up my dead ancestors I have found that many of them lived in this city from its founding. Some of mine, and Marta's ancestors were the earliest Dutch colonists to arrive in New York. If you ask my Irish grandmother if she's Dutch - she'll say no, and she'll be mostly right. The Dutch in our family line occured so far back - 17th century - that if you were to do the math, you'd find someone like my grandmother to be less than 1 percent of Dutch origin.

My grandmother's grandmother's name was Annabelle Jaynes. Her great-grandfather's name was John McEvers, born in 1766 in the City of New York. McEvers was of Irish descent, but his grandmother was named Katerina Van Horne, a Dutch woman. She was born a few blocks from here in lower Manhattan in 1702. The McEvers relocated to Ontario, Canada in the 1780s following the establishment of the American republic with good reason. John McEvers' father - Jacobus McEvers - also called James McEvers - was the stamp distributor in the Royal Colony of New York. He's actually a historical figure. As you can read here:

Cadwallader Colden, a venerable Scotchman, then eighty years of age, was acting-governor of New York. He was a liberal-minded man, but duty to his sovereign and his own political convictions compelled him to oppose the popular movements. James McEvers was appointed stamp-distributor for New York. The Sons of Liberty demanded his resignation. The governor protected him. When, late in October, stamps arrived, McEvers, alarmed, refused to receive them, and they were taken to the fort at the foot of Broadway for safety.

It's kind of interesting to find yourself living in a place that really has been home to your family for - in one way or another - 300+ years. So that makes us true New Yorkers.


So yesterday in the office, we were trying to determine who would play us (and our spouses) in a movie. It has been long established that the famous Hollywood actor to portray me would be a long-haired, unshaven, gangly, awkward, and goofy Keanu Reeves.

But who would play Epp? At first I recommended Tereza Heinz Kerry as a joke, but later sank deep into thought. Who would play my wife? My colleagues suggested an East European (how original!) but most of them are models, not actresses. So I kept thinking and thinking. And I eventually decided that I would choose the super-hot French actress Juliette Binoche to play the Estonian journalist Epp in the Petrone movie.

There aren't enough child actresses out there to consider for he role of Marta. However, I might suggest one in the mold of the famous 1930s actress, Shirley Temple. You know, a little cute white girl with puckish charm. Shouldn't be that hard to find. Then again, Marta could just play herself!


Blogger Eppppp said...

Meg Ryan could play me as well. Or Terry whatshername Desperate Housewife. I would like someone funny.

Keanu... Of course Keanu for you. Your alter ego.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Giustino said...

I chose Binoche because she sort of looks like you. Plus I actually think she could handle the immensely difficult role of playing you due to her background in romantic comedies and thrillers ;)

9:38 AM  

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