My family is small and spread out. My parents grew up in Illinois and moved to Oregon in 1972. They traded in canned veggies, white bread, and mid-western values for green salads, whole wheat, and peace-loving hippies. I’ve only been to my parents home towns once because, by the time my sister and I were in Elementary school, my dad’s parents and sister moved to Florida and my mom’s parents moved to Portland. Nobody had much money back then so visits with out-of-state grandparents and cousins were limited, but the time we did have is all warm and fuzzy in my memories.
When we get together these days we repeat the same favorite stories to each other. I remind Grandma how, as a kid, I walked into their bathroom one morning to find Grandpa vacuuming his head. When I asked why, he said that Grandma didn’t like hair drifting onto her spotless floors and so, each morning, he sucked all the loose ones off his head before starting his day. My aunt reminds me that the first year my sister and I traveled to Florida alone, my mother sent us with strict instructions that we not be fed hot dogs (because of the nitrates). “I’d never heard of a kid who couldn’t eat hot dogs!” aunt Sis says. My dad reminds us all that if stupid teenage stunts were an olympic event, he’d have won several gold medals.
This past week, for the first time, my grandma, aunts Sis, great aunts Joan, and Tilly, and second cousin Joan all came to visit us in Oregon at the same time. It had been almost 5 year since I’d seen Grandma and aunt Sis and this was the first time I’d met the others. What I can tell you is this: my humor, spunk and can-do spirit appear to be genetic. Here we are after a barbecue at my place yesterday:
Top row from the left: Cousin Joan, Dad, Me
Bottom row from the left: Aunt Joan, Aunt Tilly, Grandma (the famous one from my stand-up routine), Aunt Sis.
We had so much fun—the kind of fun you can only have with people who love each other just because. xxoo