We are closest with my mom’s mom’s family, that is why most of the stories are from them. Well, that and they are a close, loud, expressive, hilarious bunch and the older generation is as sharp as tacks still.
One time my great-grandmother thought it would be funny to wake my grandfather up from a nap by setting his chest hair on fire with a cigarette, this was a JOKE, not a Hillbilly Elegy type story (there are so many parallels, except all mine are happy and all his are horrifying it was like a twisted mirror to read that sometimes, I was wondering where the difference started happening).
My great-grandfather didn’t care to make too many pit stops going anywhere and on one road trip he was so focused on the destination when leaving one gas station that he left my great-grandmother behind. My grandmother said she was smoking coming out of her ears mad (or madder than a hornet type mad, I love this kind of expressiveness).
So like I mentioned in my first post, there were a bit over 20 years span between the 5 siblings. My grandmother is about 10 years older than her youngest sister. I knew my great-grandmother had false teeth, I remember her dropping them up and done to fascinate my brother when we were little. I didn’t know or didn’t remember that she lost her teeth in her 30’s. They didn’t have the money to get her false teeth, so my youngest great aunt grew up knowing her mom without teeth.
She said she remembers when her parents came home from getting the false teeth and how huge they looked in her mom’s mouth because her face muscles had collapsed over the years of not having and because she wasn’t used to seeing her mom with teeth.
Like I mentioned in my other post I don’t think its possible to come from my state or certain of the surrounding states and have a bland family history. We just don’t do that here. And it goes further back.
My grandparents love genealogy and went digging through archives over our state and maybe one or two others (that side of the family has mostly been in this state since Europe). They have tons of old photos and documents. Papau has scanned some of them, but they still have tons to go.
We have a ration card from my great, great uncle from WWII period with some of the tickets still in it.
We have photos of my great grandfather who was stationed in India during WWII. He’s holding a monkey in one of them.
We have a Swiss identity document from my great-great-great grandfather, my Papau’s great grandfather (his great-grandparents and his great grandmother’s brother’s family came from Switzerland).
Someone died from being kicked in the head by a cow.
Someone died from skinning a rabid rabbit.
Someone killed a man in a bar brawl.
My state is a byword for cousin marriages and low out of state movement, and yes, my great-great grandparents were first cousins. I’m almost absolutely positive going by last names and the counties involved that one of my crushes was a distant cousin (!!!).
Also, you know how Laura Ingall Wilder’s mom’s family married multiple times into her Dad’s family (2 sisters and a brother married 2 brothers and a sister)? Well, one of my great-grandmother’s older sisters (the one responsible for stealing my great-great grandmothers handsewn quilts one of which my grandmother was supposed to get) married my great-grandfather’s older brother. Then my great-parents married. Later, my great-grandfather’s sister remarried and married my great-mother’s brother.
Also, I feel like I’m related to half of the state if not America. Apparently it is possible to get a DNA test and not have thousands of cousins 4th cousins and closer like I have.
Which leads me to, my grandmother’s family was, uh, prolific. She was one of 5, which was small for her side. My grandfather had more sets of two kids in his family before my mom and her sister and reasonable large family sizes of 8 kids. My grandmother had HUGE families in her family tree, 8 seemed typical. The largest?
Her great-grandfather I think it was had 20+ children between 2 wives. Not at the same time (married cousins in our family yes, bigamy no, at least wait, I feel like there may have been a bigamy story or claim somewhere). No, in this case the first wife must have got worn out with 12 or so kids and then the next wife produced around 8. 19 were listed as still living in the the newspaper clipping of his death. I think 20 lived to adulthood, and there were around 2 that died as young children.
That isn’t the only case of a large family from two wives, I think the other was more reasonable, you know, like 14 or something.
Anyone from a rural state is probably going to have a hilarious catalog of stories from their grandparents and great-aunts and uncles plus fun nick names (Pickles, Wig). My maternal grandmother (Mamau)’s family was something else. I need to get a camera or ipad pro or something to take more recordings, phone isn’t good enough for long videos. I’ve got some, but I don’t always remember.
Also, farm stuff, so be warned.
My grandmother, her older brother, and her next younger sister were all born within 6 years of each. Then the 4th sister was born about 8 years later I think, and then the 2nd brother 10 years after that (so he’s a few years old than my mom and his kids are my and my siblings ages). So the oldest three had a different childhood.
My grandmother grew up until I think around age 14 on their extended family farm, and she was a tom-boy and she and her brother (while their younger sister tried to tag along) got into multiple scrapes such as:
Rowing the boat out into the pond even though they couldn’t swim (the tag along sister told the parents, so they were rescued, I’m not sure if the boat had a hole or what, but they were stuck).
The pair of them set the tagalong aunt on a bicycle with no chain off down a heel and she chipped her front tooth and has dental problems to this day.
The pair of them gathered and ate sassafras, so the tagalong aunt tried to copy them . . . except she ate poison ivy.
My great-uncle shot my grandmother with his toy (and toys then weren’t some dinky plastic things) bow and arrow very near her eye because she was bugging him.
The pair of them turned a wrestling match into a real fight and got a “whippin’.”
My grandfather drove hours away to the big city to work in a factory before they eventually moved there so he was gone during the week (I’m not sure how long this period was), so one day they hid from the school bus and skipped school, so they could see him longer. They probably got a “whippin'” from that, I’m not sure all of the details of that, how they meant to spend time without getting in trouble.
The pair of them found some strange rubbery eggs and bounced them around, next morning they discovered they were snake eggs (my grandmother hates snakes, she always say when she sees one she gets her hoe out to kill).
I know Trey Kennedy has poked fun at Midwest and Southern grandparent names on Southern Sayings and maybe some other videos, but of course the classic is the Tim Hawkin’s bit. Trey Kennedy and Jake Triplett also discussed their grandparent names of one of the podcasts, it was the Do Less God Bless podcast (between the two of them, I think they have like 4 podcasts).
So for us Mom’s side is “Papau” and “Mamau” (is that really how you spell it, no, but some snobby grandkid, wonder who, decided that a “u” looked better than the “w” that is the real spelling since after we at least down here pronounce some of the words with “aw” and “au” the same way). Mamau’s parents were Papau and Mamau Last name. Actually that great-grandmother referred to herself sometimes as Last name, Last name, for privacy sake it was some like Lee, Lee. She was the only one I remember of the two.
I vaguely remember my Papau’s mom and we also called her Mamau Last name (her second married name). In referring to that great-grandfather my family called him Papau Last name.
On my dad’s side it was Grandad and my step-grandmother’s first name, the one living great grandfather was just great granddad I think, only three of us saw him once. Dad’s mom and step dad were Grandma and Poppy. Grandma also referred to herself as Grandmother, but since we are not Victorian and certainly didn’t come from the blue bloods, particularly not that side, that sounded so pretentious.
Since Dad also tried semi-seriously to get himself called “Grandfather” he got knocked down a peg or two with the originally facetious Grandpoopa. And it’s glorious fun since my niece now seriously calls him “Poopa.” Mom is “Mamau” to her, and our Mamau and Papau are Grammy and Gramps to her although I’m not sure if she knows that. She just now started figuring out my name.
You have your hillbilly:
Mamaw and Papaw
Meemaw and Peepaw
Granny and Grandpappy I think I’ve only heard in books, but if Meemaw and Peepaw exist, surely some people really still use Granny and Grandpappy
Then you have your normal:
Nana and Papa
edited, I forgot to add Meme. I was listening to Not Overthinking and the guys called their mom Mimi. We did know someone who would call their mom Marmee sometimes.
Grandma and Grandpa
Opa and Oma
I have actually heard people still use Grandfather (sister-in-law’s family) and perhaps Grandmother which is so formal.
Do you ever do intentional nonsense words and names and intentionally misused phrases in your family, just for the heck of it? Or does that not boat your float? I should keep a list of our nonsense words and nicknames. Rubicon instead of Becky, Balibbalubalah instead of Lizzie. My brother was Buddy boy, Sonny Boy, and Bunny Soy.
I think it goes along with our need to rhyme every baby talk name, thus far for our pets (which I wrote about at the end of this post, we have more now, Luna is usually Loony or Loony-tunes or Luners and Holly is also Hollikins), but since pets and kiddos get the same voice. . .
I can’t do this for my niece’s name, nothing works right. All my kids must have sing-song Southern names of the Sally May, Billy Bob variety (okay, more high-falutin, than that) so I can rhyme them sillier. Anywho.
Speaking of baby-talk voices for pets. So not everyone gets a high cartoony voice instantly upon seeing some delightful fuzzball?
And what about “polite” voices?
I was on some internet video about how Europeans think of Americans, and one comment mentioned how high American girls’ voices get when greeting someone, and another hilarious commenter said something, like,
‘ “Oh, hiiiiiii!!!” Glass breaks.’
So, it’s not just me that gets a Barbie doll voice on the phone when I “have to be polite”?
And we used goofy, made up swear and names-calling words, like “what the Hufflepuff” and “you dingbat.”
And when people are pretending to be subtle and rude in a way that they also want you to know they are not being subtle, we call it suBtle, pronouncing the “b.” Although, quite frankly, that is the only “subtlety” I usually come across.
Transitioning suBtlety into snark, last Christmas some of our extended family were roasting some of my siblings (giving out “burns” is another family trait), and they were talking about how this is how we roll, you gotta be able to take it, we prepare you for the real world.
I did struggle with sarcasm and being too literal as a teenager, actually, compared to most of my family I probably still do, but between family, our social circle, and British lit, I had to learn to survive, hence, I’ve never understood, the “Americans don’t understand sarcasm.”
Oh, we understand it all right, it is just usually a different dialect, the dripping-with-sarcasm rather than dead-pan (we are way to0 expressive for that ) or axe rather than rapier sarcasm.
Rereading the Grandma’s Attic series. Its about all I can focus on reading-wise.
Apparently not reading Hamlet like I’m supposed to, lets see if I can do that in the two days after this draft was written (5/29/20).
Added three mini African violets to my plant collection as well as more of the ivy clippings to root.
I’ve polished up some old drafts and scheduled around 10 posts and planned some loose series. I’ve deleted around 40 “drafts” (many were just semi-duplicates and/or titles for potential posts). That still leaves me with around 40, not to mention all the word docs I have as potential posts and notes for ideas in Evernote. I do feel stranded without something of a backlog of drafts, but I had around 80! And 40 is still ridiculous.
Getting masks to donate partially done, as I commented on an Instagram post, don’t rely on me when the world is ending. Granted, I did chose a complicated mask pattern, but I think it is a more comfortable one. I have completed some for a few others and myself and have been wearing them for two months since I have to go to the PO multiple times a week for work.
Finally getting around to paint my doors and trim. I’m saving the inside of the doors and closet for when I move out and need to patch all the holes in the walls, I am NOT moving that stuff in there again. I have so much stuff in my room, and I hate painting. I had to make so many trips up and down the stairs that I seriously considered getting rid of my pretty books, I’m not there yet, I told my sister who was hovering to scoop them up. I will try to stop asking for so many books as presents, I use the library so much, and books are SO heavy.
I’m currently enrolled in three classes that started this week, and I may try to sign up for a fourth.
My youngest sister graduated from high school, and since they couldn’t have a ceremony, they had a parade, every student in their cars (or tractor in one case) with varying levels of decor and fun such a balloons, bubbles, a dog in one case, a mask for the car front in one case, etc. We sat on the side of the road, well away from non-family members and cheered and took videos. Mom has one of those cloud service made videos that features her and my sister’s point of view from the car, it is amazing. I think this was MUCH more fun than a regular graduation ceremony.
So, youngest sister graduated from highschool, the one before her graduated from community college, the one before her graduated from nursing school, and the one right after me from graduate school. I’m the only non-graduating sister this semester, I was going to say this year, but I’m actually hoping to have another associate’s this summer so I can continue on another program and get loans.
Tomorrow we have our graduation celebration at home with family and a few friends. Tomorrow is also a zoom bridal shower for a friend. That friend is having a smaller, modified outdoor wedding in the middle of June. I’m just glad we can go, I thought for sure they’d have to take the family only and livescreen for others option, but they changed plans recently.
Nursing school sister got engaged last week and plans to get married at the end of July (yes, you read that right), taking her state boards the week of and starting her job at a hospital in August. I was thrilled that my Bhldn dress that I snagged from ThredUp early this year for $40 dollars was in my sister’s color theme, so my bridesmaid dress is done.
We’ve all volunteered and/or been assigned duties to make this wedding happen. The couple are actually thrilled to that covid-19 means a small wedding (and a no kid policy, something I’m always thrilled about). My task and idea was tiny potted plants of herbs and flowers. Mint seemed a good choice plus Mom has three kinds, so I’m going to have a little mint (and hopefully forget-me-not) nursery in my room. I also volunteered for the bridal cake (we are having Costco cakes for the “commoners”). My sister wants a naked chocolate cake with a chocolate swirl cheesecake on top decorated with berries. I’ll need some practice because it must be perfect, and I must not be crazy the day before. I’m also in charge of (but will have help, I think/hope) assembling bouquets and boutonnieres, like my other sister’s wedding.
Oh, and the bridal shower is in June, my grandmother was right on that, and the bachelorette the week before the wedding, we are doing it all people, no skimping!
I just realized that my local outdoor art festival that I’ve attended the last several years is the day after the wedding. And Anastasia is moved to August, but since that is indoors, I’m thinking that will have to be changed. They can’t pack people in seats like that.
Oh, and did I mention that I have three classes that I have to complete in two months!