oxymoron67: (dino head)
My topic is "Chillin' Like a Villain"

This is an intersection entry with [livejournal.com profile] neverletyoupart, whose entry is here.

We did variations on a theme: grandparental death.
Set the wayback machine to 1950 )
oxymoron67: (Default)
Remember the mess surrounding my dad's death and funeral?

Well, it's not the first time that sort of thing has happened.
Family tales of death and dysfunction. )
oxymoron67: (Default)
I couldn't escape that Jane Seymour necklace commercial this weekend, and I got to thinking: I couldn't do the whole "my mother always said 'keep an open heart and love will always find a way in'" stuff, because my family doesn't do sentimentality in general, and cheap sentimentality in particular.

So I got to thinking what kind of jewelry commercial my family would inspire:

Cue: room decorated in soft pastels, light, unobtrusive background music in the background. I am center stage, with an easel, and some paints. I face the camera and start speaking:

"In my relationships, I always rely on my grandmother's wisdom to guide my way. Her favorite saying was 'Don't be a horse's ass.' So, along with Jared, America's jewelry store, I've developed this lovely horse's ass pendant that you can give to loved ones, to remind them to stop being so goddamned stupid."

Somehow, I don't think it would be a Valentine's Day best-seller.
oxymoron67: (Default)
Because the department secretary and I were talking about school and nuns this morning.

-- or--

Sometimes I wonder how my family is still Catholic....

My great-grandfather married his first wife in the early 1900's, not the most open time in history. Theirs was, from a religious standpoint, a mixed marriage: he was a Roman Catholic, she was some brand of Protestant. (I want to say either Anglican or Methodist, but, weirdly enough, it never came up in this story.) Well, they couldn't get married in the church at the time. The marriage was rather fertile: seven children in 13 years. (My grandmother was the second child.)

The children were raised Catholic, and went to Catholic school. The local parish priest referred to my grandmother and her siblings as "The little bastards", because their parents' marriage hadn't taken place in the church. This upset my then 4th grade grandmother so much that she quit Catholic school and enrolled herself in public school. (at age nine!) Her sisters covered for her, so that when they left the house in the morning, they walked together until they got out of sight of their parents then went their separate ways. This lasted until grades came in, when the family found out and forced her to go back to Catholic school.

My great grandmother converted to Catholicism on her deathbed, where she died from cancer after giving birth to child no.7.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Fast forward about 30 years, to 1950. My grandfather had just died, leaving my grandmother with their two children my 10 year old mother and her 5 year old sister. (Also given that father died when I was three, I figure that the only way anyone should marry into my family is if they have a death wish.) They were both enrolled in Catholic school.

They went back to school after being out for a week or so following my grandfather's death. My aunt was having a lot of trouble dealing with this (she *was* only five and always more highly strung than my mother), and threw up in class My grandmother went to get her and saw that the nuns were getting my mom to clean up the vomit, because she was the big sister, and "that's what families do."

From here, the story gets hazy, because grandmother never actually told us what she said to the nuns, with the exception of pointing out to the nuns that they were all alcoholics** and threatening to hospitalize any of them if they continued to force my mother to clean up my aunt's vomit. I do know that grandmother said "I didn't raise my child to be a honey-dipper!"* The janitor, probably hearing my grandmother's rant, did show up to clean the mess.

Oddly enough, my siblings and I went to public school.

*honey dipper is an archaic slang for janitor or, more precisely, one who cleans the toilets.

** One of grandmother's sisters was the church secretary, so she knew where all the bodies were buried.

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October 2013

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