1. My ancestors on my mother’s side came from Norway, where they probably farmed rocks. Or maybe they herded rocks. Every single picture taken in Norway features rocks. Sometimes there are also people, but they are always outnumbered by rocks. (By the way, Norway is famous for having many beautiful fjords, a term which means “big rocks.”)
2. My mother is a clone. Seriously! As anyone can see from the family pictures, she looks exactly like her aunt Christine, a magnificent lady who taught me how to crochet. I wasn’t very good at it, though, and so all I ever managed was a string of single loops. My mom, on the other hand, may have been the one to teach me how to tie my shoes. Coincidence? I think not.
3. Three of my grandfather’s sisters died young.
All three of the girls who died were beautiful, of course, but Esther Marie (left), was most often shown in pictures with a big mischievous grin, mouth wide open as if she were just about to say something hilarious. I really wish I’d gotten to hear what she was going to say.
4. The boys (and some of the girls) in my family generally spend part of their lives as stringbeans. Seriously, you could thread a needle with these kids between the time they can walk and the time they go to college, and sometimes even after that.
5. I don’t look much like anybody from that side of the family. I have never been a stringbean. My brother, however, shares a nose with several people and freckles with a lot of other people, and seems to be spending a prolonged period in the stringbean stage. We’re a very thrifty family–we recycle faces over the generations. Nothing goes to waste! (Waist, maybe, but not waste.)
6. A lot of us don’t hear too well anymore. Quite a few of my conversations consisted of “What?” “What?!” “Pardon?” “Hmm?” “What?” Do they have group rates for hearing aids? What if you buy them 30 or 40 at a time?
7. Some old people are young, and some young people are old.
Temperatures at the reunion climbed way up into the mid-90s and it was hotter than heck out there, or maybe even the other place that starts with H. I pretty much sat still and tried to think cold thoughts, wilting as my brain melted into mush. My dad gave up, too, and retreated into the hotel and its air-conditioning.
Meanwhile, my great-aunt Clara, who has reached the exalted age of 97, was tromping around and talking to everyone as if there were no such thing as heat advisories.
I don’t wish that I will have that much energy when I am 97. I wish I had that much energy now.