Monday, September 18, 2006

Cousins


My mother had 12 brothers and sisters. Most of them were as prolific as my grandparents at producing progeny. So, I swear you can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone who is very likely one of my cousins. The sad thing is, I can't even tell you how many cousins I have without looking it up on my family tree software program. What's even sadder is that I honestly don't really know a single one of them.

Although my 81-year old mother has difficulty remembering what state she lives in, she can still pretty much tell you the names of each of my cousins, their spouses and their offspring. She can also tell you which one robbed a bank, which one is a cross dresser and which one thinks they are the Scarlet Pimpernel.

Most of my interaction with my cousins was when I was a kid. The photo above is of me (center in case you couldn't recognize my smile) with my cousin Mike and his sister Mary Lou. They were my Aunt Irma's oldest kids. Mike was a year older than me. Mary Lou was my age. Aunt Irma had another six kids before divorcing her husband. His name was Coombs. That was reason enough to get a divorce.

Aunt Irma was a twin. Her brother, my Uncle Ira was special. When he wasn't in that place in Idaho where they keep special people, he was living with my grandmother sequestered in his bedroom convinced the communist Chinese were tunneling under the house to get him. Apparently he felt he had something the communist Chinese wanted.

My Aunt Irma always reminded of Jimmy Dean, the country singer who went on to lend his name to pure pork sausage. She kind of looked like him, but she really sounded like him when she talked. I could never understand why my mother's side of the family all talked like they had just stepped out of the Grand Ole Opry. Perhaps it is just the way country people talk.

Odd as she was, Aunt Irma at least had a sense of humor. My Aunt Gladys didn't. She was just odd. We used to call her Aunt Happy Butt behind her back (Glad Ass...Happy Butt...get it). Aunt Gladys married a man named Otis. It was his second marriage and he came with a passle of kids from his first marriage. From the looks of them, Otis could have very well been married to a first cousin when he produced them. My brothers and I nicknamed them "the Martians."

I could go on and on. Aunt Dolly had eight kids. Uncle Jimmy had five. Uncle Dewey had three. Uncle Marion had five. Aunt Alma had four. Uncle Tommy had three.

Don't even get me started on second and third cousins. It's a wonder Tess and I weren't related before we got married.

I guess that could be another post.
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