Category Archives: RELATIVE HUMOR

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I am blessed to be the grandma of four young grandchildren:

Jack who is seven,  is kind, helpful, tender, has a memory like a sticky trap (those of you who have vermin will know what this is) and is the most energetic child I know!

Lola is five and is very independent, speaks her mind, artistic, imaginative, stubborn, smart as a whip (those of you who have been “whipped” know how it smarts!) and witty.  (She once spoke to her grandpa with an “attitude” and her mother said she was not to speak like that and to only speak nicely to her Grandpa and to apologize.  After three minutes of total silence from her, she looks up and smiles and says to her gramps, “I am so lucky to have such a handsome grandpa”!  No apology, but she did speak nicely to him.  I swear I don’t know where she gets that from! LOL)

Avril is three and is model material.  She is so beautiful, long blondish hair, with gentle curls at the end, blueish-green eyes, two big dimples and smiles all the time.  She is coy, and will do anything her older siblings do, has a tremendous sense of balance (did not get that from my side of family!), has a giggle that makes you laugh whenever you hear it, physically tough, and can give you the “stink eye” if she wants something and you say, “No”.  (That does come from my side of the family!)

Lastly, (though I hope not!) is Zane who just turned one this spring.  He is all smiles, loud, loves to throw things, bites, (We call him Sunny Baudelaire from the Lemony Snickets movie) may grow up to be a drummer and like all my grands, prefers Grumpa over Babushka!

Yesterday the Wild Ones (as I lovingly call them) came to celebrate Father’s Day.  I made a big pot of cheesy broccoli soup (I even roasted the broccoli first) and a banana cream pie and a butterscotch cream pie and did up all the dishes and vacuumed up the rug in the great room (where I try to keep Zane corralled since Heaven only knows what is on my bare floors) and so by the time they came, old grandma was pretty worn out.

Since getting my “old age” money, I have been buying the kids stuff every month to keep here and this month it was a pop-up house with a screen porch and it comes with a pop-up refrigerator and stove and little storage box.  The sucker is ten feet long.  And four or more feet wide.  I got it so they could play in it out on our back deck.  I had actually forgotten about it but Lola spied it behind the couch and pulled it out in the box and then began to take it out and try to set it up in my great room.  The weather was nice outside so after it was up, Grandpa decided to take it out to the porch and set it up.  Sounds great, yes?  We brought out rugs, blankets pillows, chairs, dishes, etc. to get them all set up…..

And then the weather changes and the wind starts to blow and it starts to rain, so everyone is running in and out of the house bringing all the stuff back in including the house.  I was attempting to move the stuff they were pitching in so we could get that house in and I stepped on a wooden block and it threw me off balance and I started careening toward my curio cabinet with the large glass doors

IMG_1852 making weird noises along the way while my daughter looked on in what I can only describe as “humorous horror”.  I always find it so amazing that I have the time to imagine what the pain is going to feel like when I finally hit the ground when I fall or in this case, what the damage will be to my body as I crash through the glass doors.  Well, my guardian angel must have been on it’s toes because I was able to veer to the right and only just miss the cabinet.  My daughter was laughing her fool head off and  I am waving my arms like a robot (“Danger, Will Robinson, Danger”) and making sounds like I am in labor, trying to rid myself of the adrenaline rush from my near-death experience.

So we get the house in and back up right and the kids decide it would be so fun to “wear” the stove and refrigerator and to rip the Velcroed door off and then scream in mock terror at the person hiding in the appliances.  Now, I am extremely laid-back in my parenting/grandparenting thinking about my possessions.  I have only one or two things that have great sentimental value and those are out of harms way, the rest I could not care less about.  So normally, the grands can pretty much do what they want and Babushka ain’t gonna care.  But for some reason, I got semi-upset over the misuse of the pop-up appliances and the rough treatment they were getting so I was trying to gently tell the kids to please not wreck the stuff (cause I would hate to hurt their feelings) but my message wasn’t being clearly heard.  And grandpa is just as bad at listening!

IMG_1848 So the kids decide to change into their super hero costumes (my great room has a section that is full of kids stuff) and attack Grandpa.  Now, mind you, this is in the room that is 24×20 and has a large table and chairs, a huge hutch, a large curio cabinet with glass doors, a piano, a couch, two big chairs, an ottoman, a library table filled with plants, two tables with lamps on them and all the kids toys PLUS now a 10×4 tent house smack dab in the middle.  Doesn’t leave a whole lotta room for wrestling.

IMG_1853(Photo was taken on a different day….notice there is no GIANT tent in the middle of the room)

So in the course of the super heroes trying to take down the bad guy, someone knocks over my large outdoor/indoor umbrella and it just misses my head by an inch.

IMG_1855And my daughter says, “Maybe we should leave before you guys kill Gramma.”IMG_1845I always figured either my stupid dog would kill me (now it is even worse, since I have to have throw rugs down so he can walk better but he still walks like his back legs are on ice and has to follow me everywhere so he is more dangerous than before and he tried to bite me last week but he is a post for another day) or housework (as I did have the canister vacuum fall on my head as I was vacuuming the stairs awhile ago) but now me thinks maybe a grand will take me out!IMG_1851And today my house looks like it has been “GRANDALIZED” (the new term I just made up for how your house looks after your grandkids have been there!)IMG_1844The dishes are piled up on the sink, the furniture is still moved, the house-tent is still up in the middle of the room, and all grandma wants to do is lay on the couch in the lower living room and watch a movie.  I hate to admit it but it takes me days to recover…..and to put the house back to it’s normal level of disarray, dirt and clutter!IMG_1847But in a couple of days, I will be texting my daughter to see if they need a date night and that old Grandma is up for a stay-over-night that will include Zane for the first time and I will gladly suffer the mess and the stress (I find as I get older and more recluse, I don’t tolerate noise and commotion the way I used to and too much talking or listening wears me out emotionally) and miss them when they are gone.

Yes, I am one blessed grandma and I count every visit as a gift (plus it gives me stuff to write about afterward!).

IMG_1846May you all be so blessed,

Your Babushka Queen

Grandparenting is not for the weak!

THE THREE STOOGES CREATE

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I Don’t think I ever posted what we did the last time we three stooges were together besides dyeing my hair purple.

I like always having some kind of artsy-fartsy project for us to do or Mother makes us play “Farkle” for countless hours and then proceeds to tell us the rules every twenty minutes.  I can only take so much “Farkling”

I saw a project on Pinterest many months ago that I thought would be great fun and easy for Curly and Larry to do since they have a tendency to whine about doing anything new (one whines a whole LOT more than the other but I won’t tell you which one….tho her name does rhyme with “boobie”) and so I have been saving the cardboard egg cartons for months to do this project.  I think Scott was worried he was going to come home some day and find out we now had chickens.

So I gather up all my supplies and call Curly and Larry to come to the table (they were sprawled out on the couches as my husband had made them a breakfast fit for Queens, and no one bothered to wake me up, so I got stale leftover cold French Toast…but far be it for me to complain….) and of course, The Farkel Queen starts whining about having to cut out the cup part of the egg carton.  So I tell her I will cut her egg cartons for her and then give her my ipad to keep her occupied (just like my grands…) and Jodi and I get to cutting out the cups.  The project we are doing is making a lighted flower garland so after the cups are all cut out, then they needed to paint them.

Now if you have ever taught any kind of craft class you will know that there are two kinds of crafters….those that jump right in and those that have to question every decision they make.  No matter how many times I tell them there is really no right or wrong way to paint these, they have to have confirmation that they are doing it right.

And I am not going to risk losing my inheritance by telling you which was which but half-way through painting them, the blonde one says to me, “ok, I have half of them painted pink and turquoise and now I want to paint the rest green so do I have to paint them all one color?   I looked at her and said, “Do you even LISTEN to what comes out of your mouth”?   “What?”, she replies.  I said, “IF you want all the rest to be green doesn’t it make sense that you have to paint them ALL green?”

Then the other one pipes up and says, “How are we going to get these flowers to go on the lights near the plug in”?   “Won’t they get all ripped when you try to slide them down”?  Mind you, she had seen a picture or two of the finished product AND we had poked holes in the top of the cups to pop the flower ON the light bulb and yet no matter how I tried to explain to her that we would not be sliding the flowers down the string of lights she just wasn’t getting it.  So she bets me $5 that it won’t work.  Even the blonde one understands how these are going to work!  So I take a flower and pop it over the bulb and continue on down the string and boy is she mad!!!!   I told her that I did not want her money but being a Van Wave, she insists I take it.  Meanwhile, the blonde one has strung a few flowers on her string and she plugs the string in to show the other one how easy it is to do, and lo and behold, she has her’s on BACKWARD!!

By now, I am hysterical.  And praying so hard that I really am adopted……

Here are Curly and Larry and the finished product…..I never got a chance to even get my egg cartons cut but I did finish mine later in the week and they are hanging over one of my windows in my greatroom and they are AWESOME!

THE THREE STOOGES DYE

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WHEN THE THREE STOOGES (me, my sister, our mom) get together we can always count on having sore stomachs the next day from laughing so hard at each other (tho, there is one of us that gets the most laughs but I won’t say who she is but she gave birth to the other two…tho, one of them swears she was adopted).

And this time proved to be no different.

Our day started out with Jodi and mom getting their hair cut by a new stylist (my gal, Alex) and each brought a photo of what they wanted.  Most women know that there is no way this side of Heaven that she will actually look like the woman in the photo when the stylist is done.  They are called, “Beauticians” not “Magicians” but we each harbor a secret hope that THIS will be the time we actually come out looking like we imagined.   I do not in any way, shape or form blame the stylists.  They do the best they can with what we bring them in to work on.  “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”, (and while we have raised pigs, I have yet been able to make anything other than dinner with those pigs so I know this to be true!)

Mom went first and her cut went very well.  She explained how whe didn’t want her back and sides “buzzed” as her picture showed but just cut close to her head.  Jodi, on the other hand, handed Alex a photo of a woman who had the buzzed cut and neglected to inform her that she, too, didn’t want to be buzzed.

If you know Jodi, and have seen her eyes get big, you can imagine how big they got as her hair was being buzzed off…right down to her skin.   Being buzzed is akin to jumping off a bridge…once you start there ain’t NO turning back!  By the time Alex got done, Jodi looked somewhat like the photo ESPECIALLY the buzzed back and sides!

The whole time we were there, we were telling our family foibles and had Alex and the young man who had just started working there laughing hysterically and we had to show them photos of past hair cuts and dreads and hair-carvings.  I am pretty sure by the time we traipsed out of there, they were pretty glad to see us leave.  Normal folks can only handle so much of us and our tales.  I, myself, had to take three naps during the 30 or so hours we were together….

Lunch with the Stooges is always a treat because no matter how old we  get, Mother always has to read the menu to us or point out something we might like.  Neither of us were born blind or have lost our vision, so we are perfectly capable (unless we have forgotten our glasses and then we are pretty grateful for the item, by item, commentary) of reading our own menu.  And I am pretty sure by now, we both know what we like and what we don’t, so Mom’s kind gesture is always met with a, “Mom, we can read the menu ourselves” followed by her reply, “Well, I was just showing you what you might like”.   And after a brief minute or two, inevitablely, she will point out something on the menu and of course, Jodi and I break into peals of laughter and Mom just looks at us and says, “What”?   I am sure everyone around us is also very grateful when we leave…..

Our next stop was the beauty supply shop, where we had the momentous decision as to what colors we were going to be dyeing our hair.   We seem to have made this part of our Stooges get-together, tho why one of us even bothers to change her hair color as a day or two later she just dyes it to another color anyway…(the youngest of the sisters).  So Jodi picks out a dark plum~brown for her top and a dark brown to dye her skin that used to have hair on it and mom picks out a “honey blonde” which secretly I think looks like the color of breast fed baby’s poop but she is adamant on wanting this color and off she and Jodi go to buy other products Mother says Jodi needs for her hair.   I am not sure as to what I am going to do with my own hair.  It was a mixture of a large tri-colored blue swath in the front and the rest was my own silver gray.  I knew I was going to try to get a full head of the whitest I could go and add some planium blonde toner to try to get it a super white-silver and then go from there.

After another stop at Walmart, in which I stayed in the car hoping to start my nap (no such luck as Jodi parked next to the cart return and I refused to be the old lady asleep in the front seat…had I been in the back, I might have actually laid down so no one could have seen me but I lack any common sense and moving to the back never even occurred to me until this very moment!).

Finally get back to mom’s house and I have got to take a nap and so my mom says why don’t you go lay on the couch for a little while.  Great, thinks I.  Mom and Jodi will quietly chat in the kitchen and I will get a much needed 40 winks before the Night of Dyeing commences.

Nay, nay, dear friends.   Mother has become OBSESSED with watching CNN and all the hoopala of the political races.  I thinks she thinks it is a Reality TV show.  (I must confess, I THINK it has morphed into a reality TV show complete with The Donald yelling, “You’re Fired” at all the other canidates).  So she comes into the livingroom and turns on the TV and tells Jodi she has to come in to watch and so there we are…Mom glued to the TV, Jodi playing games on her phone and me on the couch trying to nap and not add my two cents to the comments being blasted out from the TV.

We decide that Jodi will be the first to undergo her metamorphosis, and I dye her hair and the swath of skin that used to be her hair.   It is very hard to create a straight hairline using a dyeing brush and a baby’s toothbrush and so Jodi’s neckline was kinda uneven.  I told her that it would fade out in the next shower if she just scrubbed it a bit with her washcloth.  Mother decides Comet cleanser might do the trick.  I was able to convince them that it would scrub not only the dye off but a good portion of Jodi’s neck skin in the process.  (I can not in good conscience allow the two of them to do anything without me, for believe it or not, I am the voice of reason and how scary is that?)

Another nap for me and more CNN for mom while Jodi obsesses over her skin~hair.

I gotta add that Mother is offering us food every 15 minutes during the entire time we are there.  I’m surprised she didn’t wake us up every hour while we were sleeping to see if we wanted anything to eat.  I guess she has that same disorder as I do…you know the one….it’s the opposite of Anorexia…tho I don’t know if it has a name….it is where you see yourself as much thinner as you really are!!!!  Otherwise why would she be pushing Jodi and I to eat?????

Mom is next and she tells me to make sure I do a better job on her neckline than I did on Jodi’s. So Jodi yells out, “Why does yours have to be better than mine” and Mother replies in that Dowager Grantham voice she can acquire when she is somewhat insulted, “Because I am in the public!”  To whit Jodi retorts, “Well, I gotta go to work tomorrow”.  Old Lady Grantham, “Yes, but no one will see the back of your head since you sit at a desk and people only see the front of you!”

I figured this might be time to change into my nightgown only to discover that my nightgown has somehow gotten shorter than I remember and since I am going to be spending quite a bit of time leaning over the sink doing my hair, I need to protect the eyes of my loved ones from my thunderous thighs, I leave on my split-skirt slip (also known as pettie-pants, which is just basically a half slip made into long shorts so you can wear them under pants or in my case, I wear them to keep my thighs from starting on fire from the friction of them vigorously rubbing together cause you know what happens when you rub two sticks together, right?  What I can not for the life of me figure out is why they haven’t rubbed themselves down to nothing after 60 years?   Even two stones would wear away after daily rubbing like that).  So picture this, me in a black nightgown and two cream-colored tree trunks sticking out from the bottom.  Ya, I know….burned into your minds forever…

Ok, my turn.  Turns out that my hair is much thicker and a tad longer than when I normally bleach it so I do not have enough bleach to get all my hair done.  Not one to let this insignificant matter bother me, I tell Jodi just to do as much as she can and then try to work it in the dry spots like you would shampoo.  I am still picking scabs off my scalp from that mistake.  Turns out there is a good reason for following the directions and not applying it directly to your scalp…..

Included in the bleaching kit is a shower cap and you put that over your bleaching hair until you get the desired color and then you wash it out.  You are supposed to check your hair every 10 minutes….I leave mine on until I can’t stand the burning of my scalp any longer….anywhere from 60-90 minutes….my longest bleach out was 4 hours but that was years ago and the woman doing it actually tried to make it go faster by having me put my head into her oven and let the pilot light warm it up (TRUE STORY).   So I take the cap off and wash out the bleach and it was a really light blonde

imageWow, I had never achieved such blonde hair….a whole new world has opened up for me (if you don’t mind poison leaching into your brain but I figure after almost 50 years of coloring my hair, I am doomed anyway so I  might as well go out gorgeous!)  I then added a full bottle of the whitest toner I could get and it turned purple and I was not quite sure if it was going to go to white or if it would end up purple (win either way!) but after leaving it on and rinsing it out, it became a gorgeous silvery platinum blonde EXCEPT for the spots in the back that didn’t get enough bleach….it was a brassy yellow.   No worries as I was going to add a fun color to the back anyhow.  So Wild Orchid was added to the back of my hair and it I left that color on all night (wild colors are usually vegetable-based so they won’t hurt you and I find that the longer I leave it on, the brighter and longer lasting the color is.image

Here are the results of Jodi and Mother’s hair…both turned out very nice and I have not yet heard that Jodi has redyed her’s tho later this month the Stooges are gettig together again and Jodi wants a whole new color scheme and I am going to try to get Mother to try something new.

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This photo is kinda how my hair looked color-wise but not as pretty and I only had the back that gorgeous orchid color.  I did not get any photos of my hair because I would not let them get a photo of me without make-up and I never went anywhere to put on my face and by Friday night when I was going to a Chick night, I had decided I needed more colors so I had my friends color my hair to this:

I am so much happier with color on my hair eventhough the silvery blonde was pretty, it was just too dull for me!

So I would like to hear your opinions of our new do’s….all Scott will say about mine is, “It sure is Pink”!   Gotta love that man….

Till next time remember this: Life is too short not to take chances!

Much love from the Queen of Pink Hair

p.s.  While we were binge watching the coverage of the media frenzy over The Donald, one of us said, “Boy, I sure would vote for him if I could”.  The other two looked at each other and said at the same time, “Why CAN’T you?”.    It seems that she had thought you could only vote a straight party ticket and she had always done it that way.  No sure if she will trust us and vote for “her man” or worry that we were lying to her and she will get into trouble and vote her straight ticket just to be safe!  (IMHO, our country loses either way!!!)

 

 

 

FIRST ANNUAL CRAZY COUSIN WEEKEND REPORT

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The Crazies

The Crazies

I have crazy cousins.

I have a crazy mother.

I have a crazy sister.

I have a crazy aunt.

We all came from a crazy grandmother.

As the eldest child on this crazy side of the family (my other side is crazy too but in a certifiably crazy way) I have watched these younger cousins grow up and it was really fun to see how they are as adults (and I use this term very loosely as I saw some very juvenile behaviors this weekend!).

There were two sisters from each family represented this year.  Watching the family dynamics was very interesting.  I saw one sister sacrifice part of her weekend to care for her sister who had become ill.   I saw tempers flare and sincere hugs given.  Some were bossy and some were care-free.

I heard stories of how a couple of them had stayed with me when I was single and how much fun they had (sadly, I couldn’t remember them being there but I am glad they had fun!!!).

Some shared how difficult certain parts of their life is or had been.

Some had suffered great loss.

Some made me laugh so hard, I almost passed out from a lack of oxygen.  At times, there wasn’t a dry panty in the bunch!!!!!

Some swore like sailors and drank like fishes!

But no matter who they were (we had two third-generation daughters and two first- generation moms  from 19 years up to 82 years old) or what they did, the most prevalent feeling among us all was a sense of belonging.

We are blood.

They are my “peeps” and I love each and every one of them.

So by unanimous vote, we are going to do it again next summer.

To share our stories and our memories.

To laugh until we piddle.

To transfuse with love those that are a quart low.

To comfort those that are in pain.

To rejoice for new triumphs.

To brag about new grandbabies and to share funny stories of our own kids.

To let the love that Grandma Lou had for each of us seep from our souls to the generations to come that did not have the privilege of her unconditional love.

To gather together so none will be forgotten.  For when two or more are gathered and the memories are shared, the dead are never forgotten.  Their life continues in the stories and as each one of us departs for eternity, perhaps we will not be forgotten if the stories of our annual weekends are told for generations to come.

So to my crazy relatives I say, “Thank you” for taking time to come and reinvest in the past and to deposit into the future.  To KK and Brianna…you girls are witness to the preciousness of family.  Don’t ever think that it is not important to connect with cousins.  It took us way too long to realize this.  Don’t make the same mistake.  Don’t stop telling the family stories.

With the two midgets and the bucket, I just want to say, “Remember that cottage cheese is good for your garden” and “POP”…..

Love you all,

Robyn

 

WARPED….GOOD FOR SPEED NOT FOR FAMILIES

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I come from a warped family.  Some folks have alcohol issues in their families.  Some have abuse issues.  I have warped relative issues.  My first memories of this familial malady was when I was small and I would stay overnight at my grandparents.  These were my mom’s folks.   My grandfather was quite normal, a bit on the gruff side, but not really quirky unless he was playing poker with the men folk in the basement.  Family lore has it that you could always tell when grandpa had a good hand cause he would let his cigarette dangle out of his mouth and somehow still suck on it madly.  And should anyone speak or pause to take a drink, he would yell out, “Are you here to play cards or to drink\eat\talk?”  My grandmother on the other hand, was delightfully kooky.  She was your typical housewife of the fifties.  Housedress, hose, apron, dust rag in hand, never learned to drive, not many interests outside of her home and family,  you get the picture.  Typical until it came to her fear of someone breaking in at night.  They lived in a downtown neighborhood, across the street from a big park and the houses were right next to another.  On more than one occasion, grandma awoke to someone walking across her roof in front of her bedroom windows so I suppose the idea that someone might try to get in wasn’t too far-fetched.  So every night, she would place butter knives in the space between the door and the frame and place tin foil in the little windows of the doors and would check to make sure the basement door was locked in case someone broke into the basement thru the small windows.  Funny thing was at that time not only was my grandfather still alive and kicking but I had two grown uncles, a great-aunt and an older teen aunt all living there too!  Talk about safety in numbers…. (I gotta tell ya tho, I still to this day have nightmares about being there and someone breaking in). My grandma’s sister lived there also as she was never married.  She and my teenage aunt had to share not only a bedroom but also a bed.  Can you imagine your teenage daughter sharing her bed with a woman in her 60’s?  Not that my aunt was a saint.  Ha!  I can remember her having some hissy fits over something my great -aunt had said or done.  And guess where I slept?  Right between the two of them…in a double bed.  And I ground my teeth at night and I had to have the hall light on.  I’m sure both aunts must have hated when I stayed overnight.  Grandma would also get these urges to remodel and instead of waiting for Grandpa or one of my two uncles that still lived at home  to do it, she would take a sledgehammer and whack holes in the walls.  I’m pretty sure she had no idea if the wall she was attempting to alter was a load bearing wall  and shouldn’t be whacked at.  All Grandma knew was she wanted it down  and down it was going to go.   She must have had nerves of steel cause Grandpa wasn’t all too pleased when he got home from work and there was a big hole in the wall or in some cases, no wall at all.  Grandma was the one who did all the lawn mowing.  I can still see her in her housedress mowing her lawns early in the morning using a push mower.  She didn’t get a power  mower until she was in her late seventies and then promptly cut off a couple of fingers trying to get a clump of grass out from the mower.  By that time it was just her and her older sister living there and she had the presence of mind to have her sister call 911 while she dug around for her fingers!

There was never a dull moment at Grandma’s.  It was always full of people.  My aunt always had a group of friends hanging around and everyone of them called my Grandma, “Ma”.  She fed them and treated them as her own.  Since I was there a lot, my poor aunt had to take me with her sometimes.  I was 7 or 8 at the time and afraid of everything so I must have been a real drag  to have tagging along.  She even had to take me on dates!  I remember sitting between her and her boyfriend at drive-in movies and I even got to go to see the Beach Boys and Neil Diamond with her and her fellow.  I was the best form of birth control!

Now my uncles were very different.  One was crazy funny and the other very shy.  Once the crazy uncle put a mannequin in his brother’s bed and told him it was my aunt’s best friend and he needed to wake her up.  Scared the crap out of him when he shook her and her head fell off!  Another time Grandma had made a Santa and put him down the basement and when the meter reader came for his monthly readings, Grandma told him to make sure he noticed her Santa downstairs.  He was down there a bit longer than usual and when he came up, he had an odd expression on his face.  “How did you like my Santa.  Isn’t he something?”,  Grandma asked.  The man turned bright red and mumbled something and left very quickly.   “How strange”, she thought.  Later when she went down the basement to do her laundry, she found out why the meter reader acted the way he had.  Crazy uncle had taken a wiener and placed it in Santa’s pants sticking out for all the world to see.  Grandma was mortified and Crazy uncle got yelled at but good.

As I got a bit older and my uncles moved out, I was given their room to sleep in.  It had the attic door in it which scared the bejeepers out of me.  Many a night I tried to sleep with the covers over my head cause I just knew if I looked over at that door, it would slowly open and terrifying things would come out of it.  So one day, Shy uncle was there helping Grandma do some cleaning in the attic and I was downstairs playing with the McCalls paperdolls that I cut out of Grandma’s monthly magazine.  “Robyn”, Grandma called in a sing-song voice.  “Come on up here”.  I was very hesitant because that was not Grandma’s usual voice but being the obedient child I was, I went upstairs to the bedroom.  There Grandma stood with the attic door open.  “Come on over here, I want to show you something”, she said in a fake sweet voice.  Now, I may not be the brightest bulb in the lamp, but I knew that something just wasn’t kosher. I was afraid she was going to push me in the attic stairwell and shut the door ( I don’t know why I thought that, she had never done a mean thing to me in all my life but she was acting very odd.)  I gingerly went over to where she was standing and there in the attic stairwell was a horrible creature!  It had huge dark eyes, and wrinkles and a huge mouth with giant teeth and lots of furry black hair.  Well I screamed loud enough to wake the dead and took off as fast as my legs would carry me.  Screaming hysterically, I ran down the steps only to be followed by Grandma and the creature.  I was screaming so loudly I didn’t hear her yelling that it was only my Shy uncle in a mask (who for what ever reason still had the dang thing on).  I ran as far as I could and hid under the kitchen table.  Grandma came running in and so did the creature who by now was pawing at his head trying to get the mask off.  No wonder 50 years later, I still have nightmares about being chased!

Not only did I have warped blood relatives but there was also a woman who was a shirttail relation thru marriage that everyone was spooked by. I think she may have had some mental illness issues but back in those days unless you were really ill, you just lived with it.  I’m going to call her, Sara Sue and she would show up unannounced at my Grandma’s and we would all hide hoping she hadn’t seen us.  But of course she had, since Grandma had two huge picture windows that anyone could look in and unless someone happened to look out and see her walking up to the house, we wouldn’t know she was there until you saw her at the windows!  She would call out my Grandmother’s name in this voice that was a cross between an out-of-tune violin and a cow mooing.  “I know you are in there”, she would say.  She would walk from window to window, calling my Grandmother’s name.  Finally, someone would let her in and we children would get a delicious chill up and down our spines never knowing what Sara Sue was going to do or say.  Anytime she would say she was related to us, Grandma would get angry and say no she wasn’t that she was barely related by marriage.  The men would tease her and tell her how nice she looked and she would laugh this braying laugh.  She very much looked like the Ruth Buzzi character from the show, “Laugh In”.  Always had a black hairnet on, orthopedic black shoes, black ankle socks, longer dark skirts.  The adults called her a “Holy Roller”.  I never knew what that was but I always pictured her rolling down Fourth Street on rollerskates with her Bible in her hand.   She would corner us kids, and make animal noises at us.  Creeped us out.   Of course, now as an adult, I wish I knew her story.  I’m sure it was a sad one.  But her memory lives on in my family and I’m sure in my cousin’s.  Any time someone starts to make weird noises, we always call them “Sara Sue”!

I could go on and on but let’s take a peek at the other side of the family. They were totally the opposite.  Not much laughter or company.  Grandpa liked his brandy and would take me and my sister with him to his favorite bar where my cute little sister would get up and imitate Mae West and put a hand on one chubby little hip and say, “Come up and see me sometime big boy!”   And all the men at the bar would give her quarters for candy.  When we would go with Grandpa to the liquor store, he would always buy three little bottles of liquor in addition to his quart of brandy and would drink those little bottles as we were driving over the Oliver bridge, throwing the empties over the side.  Grandpa was always in a good mood! My uncle was also always happy so it seemed to us.  He and my dad were polar opposites.  He was carefree and laid back.   Family lore has it that when asked by my dad why he hadn’t mowed his yard, his reply was, “Why bother.  It will just grow back”, which drove my dad nuts.    Years later this uncle had to have his leg amputated below the knee and he and my dad and aunt were playing cards and my sister’s youngest son was there.  He must have been three and my uncle asked him to take off his shoe for him.  Earlier, he had unstrapped his leg and so when my nephew pulled on his shoe, his whole leg came off.  Can you imagine the horror of my poor nephew.  My uncle thought it was funny (as I would) but my dad was so angry that he left the game not to return for many weeks.

So that is my warped extended family, but the fun really starts next time when I tell you all about my parents and growing up with Lucy and Ricky!