Like The Queen
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Tuesday, July 08, 2003  

Oh - this is way too cool.

Folks, allow me to introduce NJCousinIrene - who realio trulio is my NJ cousin! Irene and I and another cousin were all born within 6 months of each other and were always grouped at holiday functions. She and I would spend the night at our grandmother’s huge old house with mysterious clothes in the attic, where we slept, and the most glorious ancient toys in the basement. I always expected ghosts to seep out from beneath the closet doors in that old house. It had a sunporch across the back of the upstairs which allowed you to wander in a circle around the staircase - and play hide and seek type games. In one of the bedrooms there was a sort of police gazette type of magazine - a “true crimes” mag, that I would read when we visited, sure I was learning dark secrets of the adult world. It was creepy and gross, but utterly fascinating, like the weird tabloids that were only displayed on Sundays in the drugstores of Blue Law era Virginia. One day my dad caught me reading it and gave me &#&($%!*. (I, on the other hand, thought that if it were really a “nasty” thing, my grandmother ought not to have had it in the bedroom she told me to sleep in, but mine was not the sort of family where kids made such comments out loud.)

And speaking of cousins - I am one of 40 first cousins, counting both sides of the family. So when I watched “My Big Fat ....Wedding” I thought it was funny that “big” families were ones with 3 kids in them. How things change. When I was a kid I thought we were sort of a smallish, medium family, since there were only 4 girls in our family. And none of my aunts and uncles had more than 5 kids each. Real big families had 12 kids in them, and big families had maybe 8 kids. And people with only one kid - well, in my child’s mind I wondered if they were really families at all. I mean, who did you get to support you when you wanted to do something your parents said no to? Who would sympathize with you about the cruel inequities of the adult world as it crushed you into civility? Who could you shift the blame to - even if only in your mind - when things went wrong and some adult came roaring into the room growling “WHO DID THAT? ? I mean - if they are asking they might not already know, and maybe they’ll think one of your sisters did it and if you just lay low... And the toys! If only one kid lives in the house, there aren’t any cool toys that a big sister got, or favorite memories of toys your little sisters are getting now. You only get age apropriate stuff. What’s the fun in that? And who will be in your club?

Of course, kids just think everything adults do is because they want to do it, so they haven’t any idea about the heartbreak of three miscarriages or a sudden job loss or an illness. They just assume grownups always do what they want, so if they do something weird, it’s ‘cause they wanted to. Nor do they yet understand that every grouping can be a legitamate grouping - that love connects individuals in the most marvelous ways. They are still trying to figure out their own place in the world, unlike the insenstive adult who says “You’re not really a mother if you only have one child” as some clod said once to me.

At least, this is Bess’ Theory of Kids. Along with Bess’ Theory of Boats and Bess’ Theory of Brats and a whole buncha other opinions I have. BigDarling says that he always thought grownups were the miserable ones, always heading off to work, always having to stop playing - living the miserable existence without freedom. So. I guess he really is Peter Pan and I really couldn’t wait to move into my own castle and run things MY way. Well. Huh. The perfect match, I guess. Anyway, it has mostly worked happily for us and I still think it’s better to be a grownup than a kid.

But it’s nice for a kid from my past to get in touch - so Howdy Irene and glad you dropped by.

posted by Bess | 7:09 AM