“A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.”

A cooler day with no sun but lots of humidity is today’s weather. I turned off my air and opened all the windows and doors. The house needed the fresh air after being closed up the whole week. It. looks like it rained for a few minutes earlier this morning. I was expecting thunder showers and am disappointment by the rain’s poor showing. Gracie and I are going to the dump today.

Yesterday I bought some vegetables at a couple of farmer’s markets. I also bought some balsamic vinegar, olive oil and corn chowder base. It was in the early morning, but the heat became too much too quickly so I hurried home to the cool house where I did two loads of laundry. Last night I had dinner at my friends’ and neighbors’ house and got home around ten. It was by far my longest and most productive day in over a month. Today I’m pretty much done in. I see the dump, a shower and a nap in my future.

I remember when I was twelve I had a white visor I wore all the time. It was like a girl’s version of a baseball cap. I have a few pictures of our family vacation that year, and in every picture I’m wearing the visor. In one picture I am leaning against a tree and have a hand in my pocket and one leg bend at the knee resting on the tree trunk. The white visor is, of course, on my head. It was obviously posed, but in it I see the first glimmers of a teenage me. I think it was the pose I chose and the look on my face. I wasn’t a little girl any more, and I knew it, white visor and all.

When I’d meet relatives I hadn’t seen in a long while, usually my parents’ aunts and uncles, each identified me as George’s oldest or Chickie’s oldest (the name my mother was known as since she was a little kid). I don’t think any of them ever knew my name. They identified me by the parent to whom they were related and my birth order. Just after I got out college for the summer, the one before my senior year, a car stopped by the house. In it were Aunty Madeleine and Aunty Clara, two of my mother’s aunts, my grandmother’s sisters. They asked for my mother. I explained she and my father had gone away for the weekend. They stayed in the car, and we conversed through the window. Aunty Clara right away wanted to know who was taking care of us. I told her I was. She was shocked and couldn’t imagine my parents had left us alone. I told her I was nearly twenty-one and quite old enough to babysit for a weekend. She didn’t say anything, just frowned. Aunt Madeleine said good-bye, and they drove away. I don’t think they even knew who I was. No one asked if I were Chickie’s oldest.

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13 Comments on ““A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.””

  1. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Unfortunately all my relatives knew exactly who I was. As did all of my neighbors. No getting away with anything for me.

    Well, maybe my Great Aunt Blanche didn’t know our names. She always referred to us as “My little Studebakers”. I bet she said that to all the nieces and nephews. But she did like us very much.

    It’s quiet and cool inside the house with the windows and doors open, the rumbling AC monster shut off and only the intermittent susurration of the tower fan in the livingroom. There’s warm sun and a cool breeze outside, diet Pepsi Lime in fridge, sea salted caramel gelato and lots of ice in the freezer.
    AND my jeepeta is finally back home in the driveway.
    All is good and right with the world. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I wonder why she chose a Studebaker.

      My mother was one of 8 so there were slews of cousins for the older aunts to try to keep track. I remember family parties when Aunty Madeline played the piano. My mother and her siblings always called then aunty so we did too.

      It is nice and cool in here even with all the doors and windows open. I can hear birds for the first time in a week. I just finished an early nap and then took my outside shower. I have yet to water all the plants, and I’ll be done for the day. I postponed the dump until tomorrow.

      My larder is a bit empty-a Peapod is in my future.

      Have a great afternoon!

      • Caryn Says:

        Great Aunt Blanche told us but it was almost 60 years ago and I forget what she said.

        Peapod comes Wednesday in the supersaver time zone. I only went today because I was craving chips and needed kleenex.

        I’ve only watered me today.

      • katry Says:

        I’ll order tonight for super saver time tomorrow. Morning dump run tomorrow and a stop at CVS.

        Me too, on the watering!

  2. Bob Says:

    Another day of humid and hot with high temperature in the upper 90s with a slight chance for a pop up thunderstorm.

    Most of my aunts and uncles only had two kids at the most like my mother and father. When we visited family my aunts and uncles always knew our names. When I was 12 I was into caps. I wore the baseball cap of my favorite team the Brooklyn/LA Dodgers and later the closest major league team, The St. Louis Cardinals. I don’t know why I liked baseball caps, but I have a collection of caps in my closet.

    • katry Says:

      Today is a delight after the week we had. I’ve even been outside sopping up some sun.

      I’m talking about my parents’ aunts and uncles, not my parents’ siblings. They never saw us much and I had 25 cousins just on my mother’s side of the family.

      Girls back then didn’t wear baseball caps or I probably would have. I think hat phases were pretty common when we were growing up.

      • Bob Says:

        Ah, you were talking about your great aunts and uncles. We never saw them very often and they basically ignored us kids.

  3. Kat,
    A little genealogy tid-bit. Auntie Clara was Grandma’s Aunt. She was widowed early on and never remarried. Had one daughter.

    We have the windows open today too. It’s wonderful!


    • katry Says:

      Thanks, Erin.

      No wonder she always seemed really old to me!!

      I agree how wonderful it is to have real air flowing through the windows.

  4. Birgit Says:

    Funny story and title quote.
    I met some old friends from school today and heard that we’ll have a school graduation anniversary reunion [or whatever this is called in English] in October. It was difficult to remember all ~120 names when we left school decades ago and (hopefully) it will be fun to guess the names and faces now.

    • katry Says:

      It’s close here. We just call it a reunion but put the number in front: 50th reunion, 10th reunion-you get the idea. I should be having one in two years but we didn’t have the last few so I don’t know. We had a 35th, I think it was, and it was on a boat out of Hyannis with a band and some great food. Few of us were there.

      What they did at mine was copy the yearbook picture and put it on a pin so you could actually call people by their real names. I remember at my 25th when I thought someone had brought his mother. Nope, it was a classmate!

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