The Family Tree and Beyond
After a year in the blogosphere and reading back many posts I thought it might be helpful to feature some of the more mentioned members of my family and friends with a little background knowledge. You already know about me (TMI) and the Hubster, but I offer somewhat short (sometimes long) snippets of the WHO’s WHO on my blog.
Dear Family and Friend:
My tongue is firmly in my cheek if you note a bit of sarcasm or embellishment to your story…I do not promise an exposé nor a poignant memoir…it’s all in fun. Try not to get your nose out of joint.
All names in bold were used at least once on my blog.
We have been married for 29 years. He is a great Dad to our two sons. He makes excellent coffee, cooks dinner during the school year, removes pests (snakes, mice, chipmunks and so far only one dead fox under our deck), is always prepared (he
was is an Eagle Scout),… and most importantly, my best friend.
Son-sters #1 & #2
They are not twins, but I lump them together right now because they are living their lives as grown and flown young men. #1 lives in the city of Baltimore and #2 lives in Pittsburgh. While we enjoy them when they come home for visits, their contacts to chat, or when they need our
money advice. We know they are living in the “friends are your family” stage of life. This does not mean that they put friends first, but that they are enjoying the independence we have prepared them to have as adults. I try (not) to invade too much of their privacy,… but come home or spend time with us; it is on the record. (One brother overheard saying to the other, “She wrote about what?” or “Wait, we can ask for money?”)
He is my Dad. He was an actual Milkman and not just a fling my mother had during a snowstorm on Ash Wednesday 1962 when the power went out. My parents were married almost 59 years when he died. He was 43 years old when I was born. I have written about him…. here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. I am sure you will find him in many of my other posts as well. He is dearly missed.
My mother…I would have never called her by this name, but the Milkman did when he wrote to her over the course of three years during WWII. My mother saved all of their letters. It is in these letters that my eyes were opened to the young couple my parents were and their dreams prior to the demands of family. As the baby of my family and an excellent observer, I often tip-toed around on eggshells worried about her opinions and how she might react to the next mole hill or mountain. She was 45 or 43 (it depends on who you ask…if she could respond 43 , her birth certificate states 45) when she gave birth to me. I love her and miss her. She is featured here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. All of those heres are much cheaper than therapy.
The Family Matriarch (FM)
She is the first-born child of my parents, much-loved and admired by all of her siblings, husband, children, grandchildren, outlaws/in-laws, friends and present & former patients. Present patients? I thought she retired from her pediatric practice…she did. Now she gets to say “no” to work when called to ask if she would like to work a day at a very prestigious health care establishment in the city of Boston. The name rhymes with Barvard or in Boston Brahmin “Bah-vuhd“. She does not boast, like me, but I am so proud of her for the example she sets in life and her encouragement over the years.
I call her the Family Matriarch for a three obvious reasons:
1) Our mother passed away six years ago making FM top female family member.
B) Prior to the name FM she was the Family Consigliere (FC)…we would ask her how she thought our mother would react to previously mentioned “mole hills and mountains” (M&M’s). The FC could predict Sweetheart’s reactions to M&M’s with 99.9% accuracy.
III) While I may often wear the crown as princess and baby of the family, she often bears the brunt of our happily in the present and ever-afters.
The Kitchen King (KK)
He married the FM when I was just six years old. He survived my mother, the rest of my siblings and has been a wonderful partner in crime (figurativley…retired police and MA Bell) to my sister. A great dad to his children and Grampy to his grandchildren. He is called the KK because like his own Lithuanian parents, you do not enter the house without being offered a cornucopia of food choices from the kitchen. If you look up Swell in the dictionary, a photo and bio of him follow. Your dietary restrictions are not his concern, everything is better with butter, breadcrumbs and kielbasa.
Peggy Anne was my college roommate. We have shared so much together in our 34 years of friendship. Most of which we still can’t talk or blog about because both of her parents are still living and only a few miles from me. She currently lives an hour away in Delaware where she has three sons, all finally college age. (Collin, Jackson and Kyle)
Hubster and I call Peggy Anne our Third Wheel because:
A) She is divorced…all attempts to set her up have been nixed; her choice.
II) She has taken up residence in our home on many weekends when she is in town.
3) Her own mother gave her the name Third Wheel while Peggy Anne popped in to visit and mentioned she was joining us on another adventure. To quote Dotty (her mother), “Well you’re just a regular third wheel, aren’t you?” I am certain her mother’s intonation was more endearing than the way I write it. We all love Dotty and Fergus (Peggy Anne’s dad).
FYI: Peggy Anne’s sisters all have two names: Carrie Lee, (the baby of her family and a recent 50 year-old), Mary Pat, aka Dearie (the first-born), and Karly Jo. Peggy Anne’s brothers have only one name… Magnus and Ferg, Jr.
Anyway, Peggy Anne insists that she is the first wheel of our friendship trio because she was the one who dragged me from the pages of my $67.50 college text-book to a mixer at Towson University, four days into our freshmen year of college where I met the Hubster.
Irish Twin (I.T.)
She is my parents second child. I.T. has punctuation in her acronym because I don’t want her referred to as IT. She arrived just twelve months after the FM, thus the title.
I.T. was the inventor of the nicknames Keary and Beemie. I was none too thrilled with her spelling of Beamie, because it appeared too much like Beanie, which is what most of my siblings’ friends called me…quite annoying. I spent two summers of my young teens with her when she lived in Indiana. Some great stories for another time. She has two sons, Rex and Ranger (7 feet tall), one daughter-in-law, Maggie and two adorable grandchildren, Annabelle and Ranger, Jr.
I wrote the above text last year. My sister, Susan (her real name) passed away in June, 2016. You can read more about her here.
#1 Son ……Heir
He was my parents first son, thus his real title should be Heir; however if you are a frequent reader you know there were no silver spoons inserted after delivery from the womb. He is retired and lives in New Hampshire along the glorious shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. He is a very generous brother and uncle. Before he made NH his permanent residence, we used to vacation at his fabulous home. Those were some “On Golden Pond, but without so much drama” summers when we traveled with our boys enjoying our own three F’s …Forced, Family, Fun. We were even lucky enough to enjoy a couple of ski trips over the winters. Son-sters, I know you still think it was pretty funny to let me ski down a black diamond without my knowledge…it may have been the first time they heard me utter a minor curse word.
He is the middle child. He used to practice with his band in my parents front parlor in the late 60’s and early 70’s. My parents were so pleased that their good tuition money to BC High encouraged this kind of behavior. The music as well as his long hair, began to grow on him, on them, and all of us. The summer that Let it Be was popular; I actually believed he wrote the song because he used to practice it with his band for hours on end. He owns a music studio in Boston and still plays piano at our family functions.
My mother called him her Baby Boy and I believe this went to his head, as he felt quite special. As he began his professional career and still living at home; he despised it when the dog’s hair would shed onto his clothing. He claimed he needed a designated seat at the kitchen table to avoid the hair. (Hmm…maybe he should receive the title: Heir. Also note , he did love the dog; dog’s hair not so much.)
My response to this behavior, after I screamed and cried: Pah-leeze, the dog was an equal opportunity hair disbursement mammal, no matter where you sat there was hair. Unless it was in the parlor, per Sweetheart’s orders: No dogs in the Parlor.
Baby boy has been married to Sweet SIL (sister-in-law) for 34 years. I was a bridesmaid in their wedding. One of the few weddings where I did not faint on the altar. Sweet SIL also comes from a
loud large Catholic family, only her family is Irish and her Dad, a wonderful host and life of the party, never let us forget it; “Up with the Irish” was every family toast. Upon learning of the collaboration of KK and Hubster’s survival book, Sweet SIL thinks she has a few anecdotes to contribute.
Baby Boy and Sweet SIL have two sons, like me. One recently moved to the Washington, DC area. Hey BB Jr…you may want to pop up to visit your aunt, and Patrick (his real name) who lives in Chicago, is on his way to becoming a famous actor/comedian ala Second City-ish. I use his real name because the tens of people who read this may want to seek him out for an audition. I’d love to say I taught him everything he knows, but I think Baby Boy had more influence on him than me, as I have been living hundreds of miles away.
Keary and I are the closest in age and our birthdays are only one day, but six years apart. She initially thought she had the coveted role of baby in our family, but surprise “new house, new baby”. I borrowed her Barbies, her clothes (until she started to borrow my clothes, then padlocks were in place) and her car (if the heat in that vehicle had actually worked in the winter you may not have seen me again). We lived through the “good-bye years” for Sweetheart, and trust me, it wasn’t pretty. The FM was a frequent savior during those years for us. As Keary moved on in life, I was the last child standing and Keary took the car with her.
Keary has a set of twins, a girl and a boy. One nurse and former Army Captain and a current military man, Topher who is seeking his second Bachelor’s degree because paying tuition is so much fun; actually engineering is where he’s headed. I think I may have missed their last few birthdays because they will turn a nice round number this year.
My lovely niece and namesake. She is recently engaged to Brad. Wedding date and place TBD. Cee has an adorable son, Brendan. Cee was my playmate when she came just seven years after me…she was the little sister my mother never had. Cee is the FM and KK’s first-born.
Cee, I am sure you were hoping for a more graphic bio, but I thought I’d leave out the altar fainting for both of us at my wedding. It runs in the family…darn genes!
Jay, is my nephew and the little brother my parents never had…we used to play with blocks for hours on end when I was his babysitter. He is married to Patience (who I hear loves her blog name). Patience is a teacher like me so we speak the same alphabetical language of most educators. We have incredible intuition for spotting behaviors of ADHD, ADD, and OCD from a mile away. Jay and Patience have three charming children, Joshua, Scarlett, and Jake. While Jay is the first-born son of the FM and KK, he knows his real place is #4. Way to let others shine, Jay.
Martin, my nephew, was born to the FM and KK when I was a freshman in high school. He was a bit more of a challenge to watch back in those days. In case the Son-sters are wondering, I grew eyes in the back of my head when Martin began to walk.. Martin is married to Leslie. They have two boisterous and belly laughing boys, Link and Mason. There is no need to read between the lines, you can read about Link in the sandcastle challenge.
Leslie knows her food groups, how to manage her kids (three if you include Martin) and can still play basketball well enough to block a three-point shot.
Adamo, my nephew, was born when I was a senior in high school. He was so cute and was a man of few words as a young child. Sweetheart (my mother) was watching the FM and KK’s children one day (kind of rare). Adamo was about 4 and I happened to be home from college. For some reason, the other children must have been making requests of Sweetheart all day. She was a bit impatient with them, “I only have two hands” could be heard frequently. Adamo, though quiet, was sharp-eyed and eared. He picked up on this phrase. At dinner that evening, someone asked him to pass the salt; with his mop of blond hair, he turned, put his two hands out in front of him and shouted, “Two hands!”. I don’t think he quite grasped that if the two hands were available he should be using them to pass the salt. You probably had to be there, but given it was the first time I heard him speak, it was hysterical.
Adamo is quite a talented chef, he works in Boston’s Back Bay, and he speaks quite fluently today.