(originally published on LiveJournal)
This week’s question from Designz by Dede is:
Name three generations of family members on your mother’s and father’s sides, starting with yourself and any memories/stories you have of them.
My long-term memory is as good as my short-term memory is bad. Therefore, I have a lot of stories about distant and not-so-distant family members.
One of my favorite memories – and least favorite, actually – involves my Aunt Sue and Uncle Bruce. I gather that Sue & Bruce met in law school at Berkeley, and they dated for quite awhile before they got married. One day, my Aunt Sue watched my sister and I at her apartment. Not-Yet-Uncle-Bruce was there too. I was about 5, maybe even 4, so Ann would have been between 2 and 4, depending on the time of year. Anyway, we were helping them clean the apartment. Bruce accidentally sprayed Lemon Pledge into Ann’s eyes. He was panic stricken! It was sooooo funny! That same day, we were supposed to go to the zoo. Only it turned out that it wasn’t a real zoo, it was a group of people who were pained to look like animals. I still remember some guy (I think he was a guy) painted like a zebra. Freaked me out, big time.
Both my mom’s mom and my dad’s mom died in 1980. I don’t have a lot of memories of them. I do remember playing hide and seek with Grandma Missestoney (mom’s mom). I also remember a day when my sister and I were running through our house. I pushed my sister into the kitchen towel rack. She ended up having to go to the emergency room, so my mom dropped me with my Grandma and Grandpa. They took me swimming. Later that night, we all had dinner together. The aunts – who I guess still lived at home, or at least nearby – were all trying to get me to eat broccoli. Grandma Missestoney raised her voice and told them to let me be. I used to remember exactly what she said, but I can’t now. I just remember her standing there in the kitchen with a casserole dish.
My Grandma Babica (Babica is Polish for Grandma) lived in this tiny house in Martinez. I found out recently that her second husband built it. I never got to meet him. He died before I was born. Anyway, the house had a garage with a green plastic roof. My sister and I used to sneak out there to see what was in it. I can’t remember if anything good was there. I remember plants. The house had a small backyard with a peach tree. I do remember picking peaches and making Jell-o with peaches in it with my Grandma.
I guess that’s only two generations. Seeing as how only one of my great-grandparents ever met me – and it was in 1976, when I was one – I don’t have any memories of them. So, I’ll come back down to my level – my cousins. I have a zillion cousins. Seriously, there are:
- Vern & Sue, who have Thomas
- Mike & Danara, who have Trevor and Caitlyn
- Joe & Wendi, who have Nick, Chris, and Mandi
- David & Dawn, who have Karina, Marc, and Alyssa
- Tony & Jeanette, who have Lauryn, Jordan, and Teryn
- Roger and his wife, who have kids, but I don’t know them
- Jimmy and his wife, who have two boys, Josh and something
- Anita & Fred who have Emma and Jake (twins)
- Beth & John who have John’s step-kids, whom I don’t know
- Cathy & Scott who have Josh, as well as Scott’s 2 step-kids
- Kristen & Adam who have Eden and Eliana
- Heather & Stephen who have Stevie and GIa (twins)
- Bill & Stephanie who have Sarah and Isaac
I started out with my Dad’s side (Vern through Jimmy). Jimmy and Roger are my Aunt Betty’s kids. Betty is schizophrenic, and I’ve been scared of her since I was a kid. I found out when I was in high school that she had a third child, whom she placed for adoption. I’ve always wondered about that. My dad’s side of the family isn’t particularly close to us, but they’re still nice people. I was really touched by how many of them showed up at my mom’s funeral.
On my mom’s side, we’re all pretty close, I think. At least Kristen on down through Jake. Kristen, Jen, Bill, Ann (my sister), Dan, and I are close in age. Jessica, Tyler, Nick, Scott, Sandy, and Jake are all my baby cousins, though Jessica just graduated from grad school and Jake is a freshman in high school. He’s the last one in high school actually. Sandy started at Amherst this fall.
I’d also like to mention something I find interesting. In Max’s family, many of his family members became pregnant out of wedlock. In my family, the only member to experience a pregnancy outside of wedlock was my cousin Bill. He and his girlfriend Rachel had Sarah. They split up sometime after Sarah was born, and Bill ended up with custody. He and his new wife, Stephanie, just had Isaac last fall. So my cousins range in age from about 50 (Vern) to less than 1 year (Isaac).
I’ve never met Josh, Caitlyn, Jordan, Teryn, Isaac, or my cousins Jimmy’s and Roger’s kids. I also haven’t met any of the step-kids. It’s not for lack of wanting to. There just aren’t a lot of opportunities to.