Thursday, November 1, 2007
I grew up not knowing most of my family, I knew them by reputation only and their reputations proceeded them. So compelling were their reps that though I didn't even know them, still they had a great influence on me. They were always with me.... I had no faces to attach to them, scarcely any memories to go with them, only the stories. And the stories weren't many, but they were very intriguing! But my mom refused to talk about her family, so I didn't ask.
I didn't ask, but I'm sorry to say I snooped! I was so curious that I could not resist. Sadly, my snooping did not pay off. All I found was a few pictures. My mother had them in a box in her closet. They did not jibe at all with the stories and impressions that I had gotten. Somehow, I expected neglected, half-starved children but instead, they were beautiful and well-tended. This only added to the mystery and intrigue.
And so I continued to try to solve the puzzle of my family, the family who were distant, mythological figures to me. The stories that I heard of them, whenever I did hear a story, sounded so wonderfully romantic. I filled in the rest that I didn't know about, which was most of it, with little snippets of knowledge that I had obtained here and there. Overheard conversations, the few times that I had actually met any of them and what I remembered from those times and of course, the snooping and thus the myth was born. And like most myths, it was all true in its way.
The story starts with Grandma, who was and is a flamboyant, colorful figure! There were 4 children and my mother always said that my Grandmother, who had grown up the pampered only child of a Doctor, just wasn't ready for the responsibility. I never really understood what she meant by this, because she never told me.
But I did know that my Grandma used to like to shoplift! My mom said that she never went into a store without walking out with something extra. Once she shoplifted a poodle skirt which I think is hilarious! It was rather strange because my Grandpa, her husband, was a physician as well so obviously, she didn't need to do this. She apparently did if for the thrill. Grandma was apparently very outrageous!
She missed the flapper era by a few years. But since I'm not sure what they called the girls like her from her generation, I will call her a flapper. She smoked, drank, cussed and of course....shop-lifted and I suspect, may have been pregnant with my mom when she married my Grandpa. And now at 90, when she gets mad, she strips off her clothes which only serves to illustrate the uncompromising integrity of her character.
A lot of people on my mothers side, probably suffer from some kind of mood disorder, my Grandmother being one of them. Not much was known about this type of thing in time for it to help her, but Grandma had some money, so she was considered eccentric, rather than crazy.
My own mother has a love-hate relationship with eccentricity. But she's had to learn to live with it because I don't think that anyone in my family really has any choice but to be slightly eccentric, it's in our upbringing, or maybe even our blood.
I have gotten away from blogging recently, as you have probably noticed. While I was having problems, I spent so many weeks hunched over my keyboard that I sort of needed a break. I have been working on this post for awhile and it is coming very slow, so I decided to publish the first part, even though it is not even close to being finished.