« The Return of the King | Main | How to Make Your Dog Hate You »

March 22, 2011



In my family...

1 gun runner for the union (go, Grandma!)
4 alcoholics at least
10 divorces at least
1 running-down-the-street-naked nervous breakdown
1 institutionalization
Misdemeanors beyond counting
1 child born under mysterious circumstances
3 children taken care of by grandparents
4 families abandoned by the father
0 families abandoned by the mother
1 child taken care of by aunt & uncle
2 people seeing psychiatrists / psychologists, at the very least.
1 affair with cleaning lady
5 false wills designed to attract women
1 pedophile, arrested at least once, unknown if convicted but never spent time in jail, now thankfully dead
1 near-fatal car crash

I don't think you or I have an unprecedented number of loonies in the bin. Most families keep them under wraps.



1 estranged hostile incompetent.
Several alcoholics.
Rather a number of divorces.
At least one out of wedlock baby (which my Catholic aunt sputtered about until someone pointed out that the alternative was abortion).

I suppose I could dredge up more, but I come from WASP stock that doesn't speak of such things.


In my family....

1 bootlegger/rum smuggler
10+ alcoholics
1 divorce
1 running-down-the-street-naked nervous breakdown
2 institutionalizations
2 felonies
2 children born to women under the age of 16
0 families abandoned by the father (hence the high rate of alcoholism)
0 families abandoned by the mother
4 people seeing psychiatrists
3 deaths by cancer, soon to be 4
3 deaths by heart disease
1 rich dead uncle swindled by a farm aid
1 lawsuit in result of said swindle
2 brothers who can't be in the same room
3 sisters who can't be in the same room
2 years in jail
1 visitor to a sex store

I agree, every family has its secrets.


2 suicides
2 abortions
2 children out of wedlock
3 divorces
3 affairs (1 did not end in divorce)
1 farming accident resulting in the loss of half an arm
1 (now former) Scientologist
1 estrangement of daughter from father
(don't know the story of why)

This doesn't include Ryan's family and this only goes up to my grandparents. I'm sure there's more, but my father isn't close with his family and I know nothing about my cousins on my father's side.


Sorry, actually 2 of the affairs didn't end in divorce.


Sorry, all I've got is a buncha drunks.


How could I forget!

1 morphine addict following a long and painful hospitalization

1 possible murder, a la Connie Corleone's husband (no, we aren't Italian)

1 child born to a mother under the age of 16.

1 marriage of teenager to a man ten years her senior

1 English major

1 French literature BA and MA

2 former IBM employees

The scandals just keep piling on...


OMG - My husband used to work for IBM!


I will block 2 hours for lunch next Tuesday. Details, woman.

Hot Mom

Do in-laws count?

0 (?) abortions - was never discussed in my family
2 attempted murder
3 alcohol addictions
1 assumed name
6 (collective) years in prison
0 opium addiction
2 divorces
0 voluntary incestuous encounter
0 attempted incestuous encounters (always sleep with a hat pin, kids) - again, never discussed, I have no knowledge at all
0 kids in orphanages
0 families abandoned by a father
1 family abandoned by a mother
1 deaths in car wrecks
? affairs by men
? affairs by women
0 institutionalized pedophile
? other institutionalizations
0 running-naked-down-the-street nervous breakdowns
5 (at least) people seeing psychiatrists
0 suicides (!)
0 embezzlement
0 rapes, that I know of (hat pins, I'm telling you) Damn, I remembered one. Add on 1 resulting baby born in a bathtub
1 motorcycle accident
1 bootlegger / rum-runner
1+ visitor to a sex store (me)

Add a car accident, 2 heroin addicts, lots of smokers, an uncle who disappeared, and several undiagnosed/untreated bi-polar women (who managed to keep their kids).


Becs- Wha - wha? False wills? How does that scam work?
Magpie - No one spoke to me of these things until I turned forty or so. Then I was rapt with attention when my great Aunt came by and spilled, or my great-uncles visited and mention their brother the pedophile at the institution. Mom would have to debrief me after those visits.
Shannon - Ah, but those secrets always come out after the individual turns eighty and no longer cares. Plus funerals in our family are all about the secrets of the dead.
Faythe - You have our only Scientologist!
RockyCat - Don't feel bad. You have time.
Becs - Really - shot to death in his car?
Magpie - I had an interview at IBM. Whew!
Caroline - You know ALL these details.
Hot Mom - No! In-laws don't count. Then I could have counted cons-in-law, marriages at 13, etc. Step-parents count though. Besides - aren't your in-laws Christian missionaries?


Stillborn twins in a bathtub. Gotcha!


0 abortions (ever spoken of in my hearing)
1 sort of incestuous relationship, biut really only in the legal sense
(N) alcohol addictions (we're Jews from Bialarus. Vodka was a food group)
1 changed name
1 morphine addiction, but she was dying of lung cancer, so I give it a moral pass
1 divorce
2 sad young deaths from cancer
2 people seeing psychiatrists (that I know of)

The real shameful stuff in my family is how my great-grandmother treated people. Some of it rubbed off on her daughter, resulting in spinsterhood, because "no one was good enough for her". Apparently, both my great grandmother and my great aunt used to mericilessly insult and torture my grandmother, becuase she wasn't good enough to have married their son/brother. The thing is, my grandmother and my grandfather were first cousins once removed. They were technically of different generations, and they didn't meet until they were adults, but they were 4 years apart in age, and they fell in love and got married. The closest relatives that can legally marry in NJ are 2nd cousins.

So while all this is mildly shameful, my grandmother was my great-grandmother and aunt's COUSIN. And they constantly put her down for not being good enough to marry in to the family... the family she was already a part of.


Hattie - you win. That is so sad!
Tami -It sounds just like that Bette Davis movie, Now Voyager. With the aunt from The Magnificent Ambersons. (And, my incest relatives were brother and sister separated as babies who only met as adults too.)

The comments to this entry are closed.