I was cleaning out my home files a few weeks ago and found my paternal grandmother's Last Will and Testament, which reads in part:
"I remember my granddaughter, Ellen L______, but I make no provision for her to receive anything under this will."
Given that my brother and half-siblings each got a mere two thousand dollars, I wasn't too crushed to be disinherited. I think I might even pay two thousand just to hold the title of Disinherited. And it was darn easy to get disinherited. I didn't have to do anything at all. I think I was in good standing, actually, until I was seven. Then I began my fall from grace.
When I was seven, we went for a summer custody visit with the Technical Father, and evidently he didn't want to return us when his time was up. Instead he told us kids that Mom and her new husband didn't want us anymore, so we wouldn't be going back home. Instead we'd be going to Galveston and "staying there for a while." (I probably would have always thought that his plan was that we "stay there for a while," except I sorted Mom's files when I was 18 and saw the letter to the authorities using the alternative term "abducted." )
It never got to milk-carton status because later that month the authorities found us. Suddenly Technical Father was driving us to the airport and explaining to us that he loved us more than he could say, but he was paying two hundred dollars a month in child support and if he couldn't see us when he wanted it "just wasn't worth it." We never heard from him after that. As the English would say, children are just too dear. Years later I would fantasize he would come to school and I would refuse to go meet him in the Principal's office until he ponied up the Child Support. Evidently putting money before love is an inherited gene.
However, we did get a card every year from his mother. It always came exactly one month after my brother's birthday, and it contained two fifteen dollar checks: one for each of us for our respective birthdays. No word on TF. No words at all other than "Love, Grandma Faye." We would dutifully write thank you notes updating her on our interests, but after five years or so we asked Mom if we could just stop, because it feels a little creepy having a purely fiscal relationship with your grandmother in which she pays you for a thank-you note. Especially since you know the price tag around your neck has been marked down from $1,2000 a year to $15 a year.
I was quite content with my stepdad, but Dave sought out the TF when we were in our mid twenties and found him living at Grandma Faye's. They bonded. Dave called and asked if I'd like to bond too. No, I said. Got a Dad right there, thanks. Then the TF died at fifty, then Grandma Faye died, and then she took that last opportunity in her will to say "No cards? No letters? I'm not paying for this! You are OUT of the will!"
Of course, now that I'm older I can see their side. I mean, why pay for a child if you aren't getting value for your money? Really, I can see that in a completely rational way. In a completely rational, heartless, inhuman way.