All My Relatives Are Crazy So How Did I Escape?
It was a close call, let me tell you, but being the youngest of the family gave me tremendous advantages. No matter what trouble I was in they had already been there.
If I came down with a disease they had already had it. Winning a prize, getting a concussion, losing my virginity… all had been done by some member of the family and was therefore, of no consequence. If this sounds discouraging it was not. It was a constant declaration of the fact that I too would likely survive. I learned most of what I know from their experiences.
One of my brothers, discouraged I guess by the chaos of our full-to-bursting house, “swore and be damned” (that was a common utterance in our family) that he would never have a houseful of kids and he had eight!
Even though they all grew up to be very nice people and reasonably sane I took the lesson to heart and learned never to say “never”!
Another brother, experimenting one day with the new shotgun, blew a hole in the boys’ dresser. I learned that day that guns, in a small space, could be very loud and that I did not like them! This lesson was a freebie also as I was not the one that had to meet with Mother regarding the hole in the dresser.
And my older sister! She actually married a man that refused to eat pickles out of a jar someone else had stuck there fingers in! What kind of husband material is that?
What if you were in a hurry for a pickle? What if you were on a picnic and forgot the fork? What if you just needed the jar and had to get the last two pickles out and every time you stabbed them they scooted over to the other side of the jar like little green twin torpedoes and you were getting mad and.. well you see what I mean. She probably spent a lot of time guarding the pickle jar just to make sure no one stuck their fingers in it.
So I stored that away in my mind and determined that I would never marry a man who objected to fingers in the pickle jar.
The people in my circle of friends, one of whom told me once that having supper at my house always made her sweat, found the members of my family downright awe inspiring. And so do I.
I would never have made it without them.