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Faily, But Not Close

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  • Mr HOWARD BENNETT
    Family, But Not Close I come from a relatively small family. I had one maternal uncle, three maternal aunts, one paternal uncle and one paternal aunt. Each of
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 14, 2006
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      Family, But Not Close

      I come from a relatively small family. I had one maternal uncle, three maternal aunts, one paternal uncle and one paternal aunt. Each of these aunts and uncles married and produced progeny, although only one graced me with as many as three cousins. Then I married Marilyn Cooperman where you could not tell the players in her family without a scorecard.

      That family even seemed to run out of original names. So you had Big Malvin and Little Malvin, Big Sidney and Little Sidney, Big Robert and Little Robert. The Malvins, Sidneys and Roberts were not fathers and sons, but cousins. The use of big and little had nothing to do with size, but simply described order of birth. Not being impressed with their choice of names, I wondered why they could not find more interesting options from among the hundreds available.

      Marilyn and I were married twenty years before she died of lung cancer. I dutifully accompanied her to the annual family picnic usually held in Burholm Park in Philadelphia. I felt pleased if I could identify half of her family by sight and had no illusions about ever remembering more than 25% of the names. Unfortunately, those I did remember I associated with some undesirable trait.

      Sure, that’s Sebastian. He’s the one that spits on you when he talks. Stand to the side when he addresses you. Ah, there’s Sylvia. She must pride herself on how loud she belches. Apparently that is to show appreciation for the bad food she eats. Jack seems to have found an even worse toupee than he wore last year. You wouldn’t think that was possible, but a blond rug with black eyebrows, wow. Rosie is doing better. She got four "you knows" into a single sentence.

      When I talk about a large family I mean that there were so many people there that when they played touch football they had full offensive and defensive teams on both sides with reserves and many spectators. My problem was I had little in common with all but a few of this horde. There was little that I could talk about with them so I resorted to quasi-erudite discussions about pork bellies and farm futures. Understand that I knew nothing about either, but I thought that I sounded convincing and I wanted this completely urban mob to leave believing that Marilyn’s husband was a little strange. I succeeded.

      Marilyn’s death allowed me to divorce this family. I stayed close to a few of the people that we both enjoyed. Strangely, my mother was friendly with more people in Marilyn’s family than I. She frequently asked me about people I couldn’t even identify.

      It’s more than thirty-five years since Marilyn died. Her father never forgave me for having her cremated, something we agreed to do long before she became ill. When he disowned me he also disowned our two sons for reasons I never understood. I even took them to two family picnics after her death and found that we were persona non grata.

      I have heard blood is thicker than water. Who cares?

      Howard
       
      When Iraq was struggling to produce a constitution Robin Williams suggested that they take ours because we were not using it anyway.
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