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post #59
bio: anne

first post
that week

Previous Posts
Hello Happy Robot from 2010
Kansas City '75
Carolina Beach '07
I don't know how you scream like this without hurting yourself
I and J and tagalong K all on their way up the coconut tree.
Car ride

. . . but you were always kind to me."

I've been thinking lately how handy this "friendster" thing would be for families. Not just for keeping track, but for shoring up those connections, getting to think and say nice things about each other.

One branch of my extended family is spread from coast to coast. We get together occasionally, but it is hard and I don't mean the travel. I like these people, they fascinate me- in part because of the way my ears start ringing when I'm around them. These people are so high-strung, in the same room, altogether, even my mom stays close to the scotch. For better or worse we share the same DNA.

But in truth, where I'd like to use this "family-ster" idea, is with my other family, the one I grew up with.

About Me:

When I was five and my sister was 3, my mom married a guy and I inherited three older sisters and a brother. Later, I got another brother and a sister out of the deal.
We were RobinGretchenLarryRachelAnneAmySarahandMatthew.

No reason to try to keep track. I list them because I've just always liked those names- separately and said altogether like that. And that's really how we were introduced, or "explained" since due to the age spread there were never more than six of us kids living together at any given time.

At the time of this marriage I was thrilled. I thought, "most people only have one dad, but I've got two!" I wanted us to be "Eight is Enough" or "The Waltons"- as a child I was a bit dense.

There were never any true "bad guys" (no evil step parents/step-siblings), although we all took our turn at being gigantic pains in the ass.
It is amazing what my parents accomplished. Shoes, meals - if nothing else, just not losing it (mostly) over the knowledge they were responsible for the health and welfare of 6 to 8 people.

But it was confusing. There were shifting alliances and strained loyalties. The question of "who's family?" "who's connected and what does this mean?" never seemed quite set.

As we each hit puberty the mantra was "i. can. not. wait. togetthef*ckoutofhere".

And we did, and we spread out and then we came home and then we left again, and then we came back with our own kids and somehow even with the freedom and choice and continuing jealousies and resentments and ambiguous blood/legal bonds, we keep coming back to each other. There's too much to say about my fascination with my own family, families in general and the whole idea of "inter-connectivity" . . . there's probably a friendster or two who could put that in a testimonial: "If you get drunk with this girl, at some point she'll try to describe the million/billion people she grew up with. Don't sweat it though, when that happens you know she's going to pass out soon".

Here's a testimonial for my step-brother:

I remember once you made Rachel (your real sister, my step-sister) cry. Dad (your real dad, my step-dad except then he adopted me) told her to call you "Zit Face"- which she did. And then we all did.
That was really mean. I didn't know how mean that was until I hit puberty myself, but by then you were barely around and then you were gone altogether- which I suppose I should be grateful for cause no doubt you would have returned the favor.
Still, sorry about that.

I remember once when we lived in Kansas when it had snowed and snowed and you took us smaller kids for a walk in the woods and we walked out on the frozen creek and you kept us behind you and tested the ice with a stick and then walked out on the ice yourself and jumped up and down and then let us follow you on . . .and you were only about 12 and my mom would have had a shit-fit if she'd known what we were doing. That was a beautiful day.

I remember I could not stay out of your room or stop touching your model airplanes; if I broke anything I apologize they were just so cool. I also apologize for breaking your hand carved miniature train- although that was on purpose- it really was your night to do dishes, but that's no excuse.

There were years you thought I was a flake and I thought you were a complete asshole.
Later you thought I was an unrepentant sinner bound for an afterlife of hell-fire and damnation and I was barely aware of your existence, even as you became a new father three times over. That I'm super sorry for.

Your wife's voice cuts through my brain like a band saw, but I like her, more and more. You're children are wonderful. Even the middle one, who confuses some of the others in the family. That kid is something- the anti-hero, hero in a Flannery O'Connor story. He told me recently he wants to be either a preacher or a doctor . . . "although you know, you can't choose to be a preacher- the lord has to give you the calling and besides doctors make more money."
Your kids rock.

Few more things: I'm glad you don't think "Harry Potter" is an instrument of Satan, anymore. (fun, no? and keeps the kids busy and reading?)
I know you think my kids are smart and cute, but if I don't rein them in I'll be in for a "heap of trouble"- we'll see.

Also- That time at one of the family reunions- (my mom's mom's family, I barely knew anyone there either) and that old guy said to us, "I know you two are related, cause you look just alike!" . . . and we looked at each other and laughed, but didn't correct him?
That made me happy.

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