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1. My grandmother was a pistol. Clearly the head of our Italian family, she lived until she was 93 or 94 (can’t remember at the moment but I know it was pretty old). I loved her dearly and was very close to her. But she did have a penchant for blurting things out that perhaps were better kept inside her head. For example, upon meeting my then boyfriend Terry, a portly man, she said “Hi honey! Oh goodness, you’re so fat! Well, we’re all fat in this family so it’s okay!” AAACK! He took it really well but man, I wanted to die!! I had to have a bit of a chit chat with her after that. (It didn’t work. Look for another example of Grandma’s blurtings further on down the list.)
2. Speaking of grandparents, my grandfather was a sweet little Italian man who sold fruit at a local market. (Why I told everyone I knew that he was in the Mafia, I really don’t know. But I digress.) The funniest story I can share has to do with his visit to the hospital for prostate trouble. It caused his testicle to get rather large (and that’s really not something you want to know about your grandparent, is it?) My younger cousin Danielle and I went to visit him. She had to be, oh maybe 12? Anyway, we go to his hospital room and as we sit down to visit, he pulls up his hospital gown, pats himself and announces “My balls are all better!!” HORRORS!! My mind was racing as to what I could say to Dani that would somehow mitigate what we had just seen. As we pressed the button for the elevator, I turned to her (mind you, I’m like 33) and said this: “When you’re married and your husband has ones that look like that, take him to the hospital because you’ve got a problem!” hehe She nodded solemly and we never spoke again about it. It’s a wonder she even took up a relationship with a man after that!
3. The women in my family (okay, just grandma and Aunt Marge) have so far had dry runs for their deaths – times where we were SURE they were gone and nope, they came back better than ever! Grandma’s was the weekend before my wedding! I was so worried about her dying and then everyone would go to her funeral and not my wedding (what a selfish twit I was – you’d never know I was 38 at the time!!). Mom said “Oh hon, don’t worry! We’ll put her on ice, have the wedding and then go back and do the funeral later.” That’s my family – flexibility to the max! heh
4. My dad went blind from diabetic complications when I was 6 months old. I actually thought everyone’s dad was blind until I realized that no, that is not the case. Little heathen that I was, though, when I would lead him to our car to get in, I take him to the wrong car and let him get in and then announce “Get out! It’s not our car!” (yes, I know. Karma is a bitch. I know I will find that out in more detail later!)
5. Yeah, so now’s the time to come clean about this. Remember Cousin ‘O Love? Well, yours truly was terribly jealous of the attention she got (for really just being her nice, sweet self) when we were kids. I believe I took it out on her in a not very kind way involving shoving her down some steps (carpeted, I’m not that bad), smacking her with some magazines and hitting her with a boomerang. Amazing that she even spoke to me much less entrusted me with the Godmothership of her beloved first daughter! (And let it be noted for the record I am truly sorry for what I’ve done and have told her so. (I think))
6. I’m pretty sure I had (have?) an obsessive compulsive gene somewhere in my makeup. Otherwise, how to account for the fact that I called a guy over 100 times in one day and hung up when he answered the phone? This was back in the day before caller ID, kids. In fact, I was 12 so we’re talking 1972. Gosh, what fun it was when the policeman came to the door and said that harassing calls were coming from our phone number. I swore up one side and down the other that I didn’t do it. They didn’t believe me, though. My dad just laughed and mom said that was because he didn’t have to face the policeman! I managed to mumble an apology to the kid in question (and by the by, what is it about guys named Donald that cause me to become obsessive about phones??) and he mumbled back “it’s okay” and we went on our merry way. I don’t think he fell in love with me, though.
7. (Whispers) I must confess that my husband was not the first man in his family I slept with. You see, on my first visit to his brother Robbie’s house, we were given Justin’s room to sleep in. Justin (aka Nephew ‘O Love and fake boychild), who was 10 at the time, had a propensity to walk in his sleep. With Duty asleep on the couch, I was alone in the bed but not for long. About 230am, the door opens and in walks the boy who promptly gets in bed with me and resumes sleeping. Uhhh, okay. This is an interesting way to greet guests but whatever, right? Next morning, no one can find Justin. Of course, they don’t look in his own room where he’s peacefully snoozing next to his soon-to-be (favorite) aunt. Any wonder why he’s my favorite? heh
8. So, you’ve just lost 110lbs, are newly married and going on your honeymoon to Maui. Cool, yeah? Lots of fun stuff to do there. Guess what I pick? Biking down Mt. Haleakala. Yes, a ride down a volcano at 8am taking hairpin turns at 30mph when you haven’t been on a bike in well over 15 years. So my cup of tea. NOT. I was petrified. Right before I almost veered off the side of the volcano, I had this thought “Thank God I got married before I died.” (This is a true story, alas). Moral? There are more fun things to do with a newly thinner body than scaring yourself silly riding down a mountain.
9. Here’s another Grandma story: I take Duty up to Baltimore for Thanksgiving – the first time he will meet my family (we had met just three weeks earlier). I go in to brief Grandma on him and whatnot and she decides to share some marriage advice with me. She said (and I quote) “Honey, whatever your husband says to do, just do it.” Uhhhh, what? Gosh, how enlightened and this from a woman who literally had my grandfather humpback serving her. I said “okay, grandma” and went downstairs to tell Duty. I brought him back up to meet her and after they exchange pleasantries, I announce to him “Grandma says that I have to do whatever you say” and she panics and blurts out “But you’re not supposed to tell him that!!” hehe (really??) We had a good laugh at that and he replied that it usually works the other way around (which is so not true. Sorta.) Bless her heart, I loves me some grandma.
10. Let’s talk about the aforementioned Cousin ‘O Cool (aka Dani). Obsessions run deep in my family, I believe, but hers was a bit more high minded than mine. Instead of some dorky guy on the bus named Donald, Dani chose a studly Baltimore Oriole baseball player by the name of Brady Anderson (She was 12 years old, now) And she was not content to call and have him answer hello (100 times in a day). OH NO! She managed to get his phone number somehow and called him, striking up a conversation with him. She mentioned how they had met in a bar and they chatted for quite a while (as I recall). I believe he asked for her number but she wouldn’t give it, fearing that if he called, her goofy younger sister would loudly announce to him “Brady, Dani loves you” which, as you can imagine, would ruin the whole cool vibe she had worked hard to create. I wonder if he ever knew he was being played by a 12 year old? Some things we are never meant to know, I suppose.
11 Two reasons to move out of your mother’s home, neither of them mine. In my family, there were only two acceptable reasons to move out. One was going away to college (Cousin ‘O Love managed this one) and the other was getting married (two younger cousins managed this one). But wanting to move out just to be on your own?? Oh my. That is unacceptable! Even if you are almost 25!! (I wish I were kidding!) You would not believe the shitstorm I got for wanting to move out. I quote my grandfather “How could you do this to your mother???” as if I were raining torture upon her for wanting to live somewhere else! For a whole year before I moved, I had to keep this mantra “It’s okay to want to live on your own.” – I’m my own cheerleader like that. Someday I will share the story of the fallout of the move upon my poor unsuspecting roommate Laura.
12. For some reason that no one can pinpoint, my Aunt Connie (my own Godmommy of Love) had a peculiar fear/loathing of cats. No one in my family had a cat or even thought warmly about them, based on this nebulous feeling. When I was 32 and living on my own in Richmond, I decided to get a cat. Mind you, I lived 180 miles from home at this point. I still got a call from one of my cousins (Aunt Connie’s daughter) asking me “Does mom know you are getting a cat?” – Uh, no. Am I going to be excommunicated from the family for this most grievous offense? heh Well, not only did I get one cat, but took in a stray who had babies. Cousin ‘O Love took two of the babies and asked me “How come we never had any cats? They are so sweet?” I could only reply “Because Aunt Connie didn’t like them!” – yeah, that’s logical, innit? (I love my kitty cats and AC came to visit me for the first time since I got the cats (13 years ago) and I was polite and cordoned them off so they wouldn’t come trotting out and cause her hair to fall out. (They complied and not a cat was seen but I do think she was on guard just in case.)
13. I saved the best for last. This one is a classic in the family. I will set the stage by saying that our family has never been one to get involved in politics or political discussion. And I don’t know what compelled my mom to become such a staunch republican when George HW Bush ran in 1992 against Bill Clinton but she did. She even had a Bush sticker in the back window of her car. She had a peeve against stickers ON the car so she put it in the back window instead. I was at a local mall and they were giving away BC stickers so I took one. When I got to Mom’s house, something evil took over and I peeled off that sticker and put it right smack dab on her bumper. So, basically, she was driving around with a Bush sticker AND a Clinton sticker (schizophrenic much? heh). I think I told only Dani (always my accomplice in crime). Well, I get a phone call from my Aunt about two days later saying “You are so on your mother’s shit list!! She found the sticker!” heheh Turns out, she happened to see it while walking to the car. Oh my! She raised holy hell with the management of her apartment complex wondering what kind of idiot would go around putting stickers on someone else’s car (me!!). She picked Dani up from school and was just ranting her fool head off about it. Dani wouldn’t even look at mom because she knew she’d break up laughing. Mom said “I look like a damn dummy driving around with those two stickers on my car” (ha! You got that right!!) Dani finally admitted that I had done it. I called mom later and said “I got ya good, didn’t I?” She wouldn’t talk to me for days. I suppose I got my comuppance later by her voting for HW’s idiot son. TWICE.