Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pete and Re-Pete

People are always talking about their dysfunctional families.  I really haven’t ever seen a “functional” family other than in ‘50’s and ‘60’s sit-coms, have you?  Every family tree is filled with more nuts than a Brazilian rain forest.  Here’s a true story about some assorted pips in my family.

When I was born, my mother was on her third husband and was 45 years old. My father was 53. My sibling was a half-sister and she was 20 years old. I was two when she got married and five when my first nephew as born.  My sister lived in Manhattan, I lived in Westchester.  Neither my mother nor father were fonts of information.  They were old school and could definitely have worked for the C.I.A. – all information was on a Need To Know basis and in their minds, I didn’t need to know anything.  Since I was a totally clueless child, I really had no idea of actually who my sister was.  She came around fairly regularly but was an adult that stuck with other adults.  I didn’t find her particularly interesting. 

When I started kindergarten, (Just so you know exactly how hands-off  my parents were, I didn’t know my colors when I started kindergarten. Can you imagine that happening in this century? ) the teacher asked me if I had any brothers and sisters.  I told her, “No.”  I can’t even be sure if my mother properly filled out the registration papers to reflect the much older half-sister.  Things were pretty loosey-goosey back then.  During Christmas break that year, I finally understood who that “visitor” was.  Upon returning to school, the teacher asked my class if anyone had interesting news to share with the class.  I proudly announced that my sister was going to have a baby!

“Nitebyd”, said the teacher, “You don’t have a sister.”

“Yes, I do!”

“But, Nitebyrd, you never talked about a sister before.”

“Well, I just knew her now.”

The teacher was a wee bit confused at this point.  “She’s a NEW sister?”

“No, she’s old.  And she’s going to have a baby.” 

“What’s her name?”  I really couldn’t remember her name.  I apparently suffered from CRS Disease even as a child!  “I don’t remember.”

“Where did you see your sister?”

“At my house.  She said that my mommy was her mommy and that now my mommy was going to be a grandmother and I was going to become an ant.  I cried because I didn’t want to be an ant.  But it’s not that kind of ant so I guess its okay.”

The teacher was now looking concerned.  She and I took a walk to the principal’s office.  A phone call to my mother who decided to divulge the family secrets in lieu of having her young daughter held for psychiatric observation.   All went well with the sister, half-sister, half-brother-in-law, nephew, ant aunt, thing until my nephew started school.

When I was seven, my father died.  My sister, BIL and nephew moved in with me and my mother.  I knew that Pete wasn’t my brother.  Pete however, didn’t get the concept of “nephew” and “aunt”.  He just figured that kids who lived in the same house were brothers and sisters.  We lived in a neighborhood with many, many children, none of whom were “only” children.

Pete and I loved old horror/monster movies.  “Creature Features” was our favorite.  We would build models – Frankenstein, Dracula, Creature From The Black Lagoon, etc.  I’d do the gluing and Pete would help paint.   It was a Show-and-Tell with one of his monster models that caused Pete to have his young sanity called into question.

“This is my model of “The Mummy”.  My sister helped me build it.”

“You don’t have a sister, Pete.”  Pete was apparently disturbed that his teacher interrupted his monologue about the great Boris Karloff.  He answered rather sharply, “Yes. I. Do.”

“Pete you’re an “only” child.” 

“I am not! Me and my sister watch TV and go to the toy store and play.  She always helps me make models and we fight.”

“Your mother told me you don’t have any brothers or sisters, Pete.”  Pete was a little hot-headed and the teacher was, well …. speaking to him like he was a child!

“Yeah, she’s wrong.  My sister lives in the downstairs in my house~”

As you’ve probably guessed by now, another telephone call was made to my sister about Pete’s mysterious “sister” who lived in the basement. 

Pete, his mother and father, lived upstairs in the two-family house that his grandmother and I lived downstairs.  He never actually said “basement”, the teacher thought of this on her own.  Maybe she liked horror movies, too!

After that episode, my mother still was silent as a tomb about most things but my sister made sure that my subsequent nephew and niece knew that Pete was their brother and I was their “Aunt.”  Pete and I would fill them in on the rest of the important stuff as it would come up.  No more phantom siblings.  When we get together, which is, sadly, very infrequently, we still laugh about our teacher torture.

Pete and I put the “FUN” in our dysfunctional unit. He's just recently celebrated his 51st birthday.  He’s been married for some time now and has added two more nuts to the family tree. 

15 blew out from under the bed:

Anonymous said...

thats funny right there. I suspect the teachers were corn-fused!

Sorrow said...

Wow, teachers were busy body ass hats even back then! I thought it was just something i had to put up with these days. "Always fielding their stupid questions about how many mommies and what religion exactly is your mommy?"
Let's here it for our FUnctional society as a whole...

Ron said...

OMG Nitbyrd, this was so funny!

Now I know where your love of all things GOTH comes from!

Pete sound like a really great and fun guy!

And listen, I TOTALLY agree with you. "Every family tree is filled with more nuts than a Brazilian rain forest."

Trust me, my family is FILLED with them!

And ME, being one of them - HA!

Great post, Sis!


DJ Kirkby said...

I love your opening paragh to this blog post, it's so TRUE! I'm hosting a sharing of memorable OMG moments on my blog and this one would fit right in that's for sure. xo

Indi said...

nitebyrd ~ Lovely post... er.... did I just say lovely.. I meant to say rockin post babe. Nuts? Yes please.. if I were to come true about my family it would be fairly colourful too.



Deech said...

Actually, this seems kind of normal by comparison to mine....

Vi said...

I had a friend who's 'aunt' was a year younger than her, and were at the same school. It was hard for even us kids to get our heads around that!

Jackie Adshead said...

This is really funny, in a confused kids world sort of way! But also very sad that you weren't fully informed of who-was-who in your life! Makes a couple of good stories tho! :)

Spiky Zora Jones said...

i really really loved the story and how you told it. You wrote itin a way thata the reader had a visual moving pictures...excellent.

my oldest the prince lovees horror movies. From a young he has been a fan and has never been afraid of one.

more stories should start a series. xxx

ZomBee said...

Shh not so loud. I think you just wrote FOX's next hit TV series.

Genevieve said...

Yup, we've all got some nuts on the family tree. What a crazy fun story this was!
Happy day, hon! xo

Daren said...

Putting the fun into dysfunctional, love it! Dxxx

Akelamalu said...

I can see where it might be confusing for a child. ;)


Cute story.Remind me of the itme I told my little brother than MY mum was not HIS mum as he was adopted. He insisted it was not true[it wasn't] and that he was going to ask Mum,to which I replied'of course, she'll pretend you're not adopted so you don't feel like the adopted kid.'

She playeed her part well. :)

nitebyrd said...

Sage ~ They were definitely confused. Back then, people had pretty “standard” families so teachers hadn’t heard “it all”!

Sorrow ~ I can’t speak for Pete’s teacher, as I got the information second hand but my feeling about my teacher is that she sure wasn’t ready to handle a delusional 5 year old. Now, my kids teachers – yup! I’m right there with you about them being nosey, asshats!

Ron ~ Every one has a dysfunctional family and if they tell you they don’t, they are lying their asses off.

DJ ~ Thank you. I missed the OMG! contest ‘cause I was trying to think up something that could be published on a family blog from my teenage years! ;)

Indi ~ Eccentric, highly-medicated, colorful, flamboyant, psychotic – all terms that could be used in every family. I’d also rather have one of those descriptors than – boring, wouldn’t you?

Joker ~ Oh! I haven’t gotten to the good stuff yet! LOL Like my BIL accusing my mother of poisoning 3 of the four husbands she had. Three of the four died while she was married to them.

Vi ~ Yes, the whole relationship thing is confusing when you are a kid, let alone have something unusual occur.

Jackie ~ I’ve always been told that Scots are stoic and cheap. My parents definitely got that stoic part down and my sister got the cheap part perfected. I found out when I was about 30 that my father had a daughter from a previous marriage who would have been about 55 at the time. Never heard about her before, don’t know her name – nothing!

Spiky ~ Thank you, sweetie. I have another funny story about my nephew and “Frankenstein”. I’ll have to work on that.

ZomBee ~ If FOX wants to pay me, I’ll happily write it all out for them, including the parts where my sister and brother-in-law fight about sex in the middle of the afternoon while in their pajamas whilst I tried to do homework!

Genevieve ~ We are nutty as fruitcakes. I’m waiting to see what type of nuts I’ve produced, they are still trying to act “normal” but I know that lunacy is just under the surface. ;)

Dazza ~ I try to keep a sense of humor about most things ‘cause if I didn’t I’d cry all the time. This happens to be one of the funnier episodes and it still tickles me to think about it!

Akelamalu ~ It sure as hell was! LOL

Ubermouth ~ Thank you for coming by! My oldest nephew and I would also tell my younger nephew he was adopted! I wonder if lots of kids did this to their siblings. How mean! LOL We also made him eat Chinese mustard once, telling him it was pudding.