A little background: My blood "family" is... dilute. I guess not having to worry overly much about the longterm effects of inbreeding or scoliosis brought on by excessive receipt of hugs is a good thing. My brother and I have dedicated our existence to not reproducing, to ending our role in this nonsense with the final beat of our hearts.
Oh hell, now I need to proffer even more background. When I say "my brother," I am referring to Grader Boob. We grew up together. Or tried! He's a Brainiac and something of a Recluse, though he claims to have taught and pummelled into maturity a generation or so of serial Freshmen and Sophomores at one of the South's finest public universities. You can't do that and be reclusive.
Also, he *might* be Richard Russo.
I have another full-blooded brother -- if, that is, "full-blooded" means a brother with whom one shares parentage. Entire parentage. We *think*. Anyway, he has a professional moniker, too. His is Tumbleweed, or TW. A far cry from Howie. [Oops.] We thought for years that he might actually be Jerry Garcia but then a professionally analyzed photograph of the two of them in the same place and time (Berkeley Greek Theater, 1983), pretty much ended that wild bit of speculation.
Unbeknownst to one another, Tumbleweed and I were also simultaneous and contemporaneous "Derelicts and Delinquents Plagu[ing] Durant Avenue" -- back in the 80s, again (a potent curse).
TW had the intelligence -- the brainiac gene is strong in the males of our clan -- to leave the family unit early. Of course, this meant finding food in garbage cans, sleeping under the stars and, I dunno, maybe around some nasty, mean people, including a paranoid ex-Company Man who had the annoying habit of discharging his firearm into other peoples' highly vascularized spleens. But it also meant following The Dead, loving the Canyon, learning the River, and forging a good life as a good man.
The only thing that I wish all three of us had made clear [limpide comme du cristal] with each other before Pod Separation was the whole anti-procreation stance. Because TW, ever the optimist, went and had a child -- who has had a child, herself. He's a Grandpa! I know the name of his daughter and granddaughter but force myself to forget them. We will never meet. [Oops. Gloom and Doom got past the Manor Sentries, along with violent, horrid, scream-inducing spasms in my legs. Apologies from Management.]
It's a natural turn in the bend to go from familial intricacies to the Anthony family down Orlando way.
In my daily email to a woman I have come to love in the way I imagine one loves a sister, I blurted a telling blurt this afternoon. This Virtual Sibling and I have become engrossed by The Very Weird Casey Anthony Trial, though we seem to interpret testimony, facial expressions, body language, and sociopathy in divergent ways. [More on sisters, half and step, a few inches down]
Yeah, so, there were three in the original litter. TW, Grader Boob, and me, "the chirp" (a phrase from Joni Mitchell's Miles of Aisles, her designation for her role in The Band -- in her case, L.A. Express, back during the Court and Spark tour). I think TW had some musician in him, God only knows from where, and music is a huge part of each of our lives, but a band, we are not. Oh, and as further evidence of the brainiac potential being limited to the Y chromosome, I took up the violin as part of my rehab after my first shoulder replacement (of six or seven). Fred has a fair number of guitars and a keyboard. Marmy Fluffy Butt plays a mean harmonica despite a pronounced pathological overbite, a drool issue, and a cute little receding whiskered chin.kept the tv on and watched the trial every time i took a break... lordy, lordy, lordy. you know... my family is/was dysfunctional but i am slightly cheered to think that we never murdered anyone, or covered up major crimes. we had loads of denial, silence, repression, enabling, and our share of abuse. but we never murdered anyone. yay, us!
Right. An unexpected musical interlude. Ah-h-h. Consider the past blasted.
So, the second litter of the Mother-Unit, my technical half-siblings, includes one Hilmi and one Lale, both wonderful people who have both bravely reproduced what sound like fine Planetary Citizens, and again, there's been no inbreeding, no obvious defect in the genetic machinery. And yes, their boys are all brainiacs: Young John, Hilmi's offspring, is a regular Einstein / Schweitzer Albert Combo (At age 6, he raised money to buy shoes for 94 Thai Tots, something he will never be able to live down); Lale's son Adrean is clearly destined for fame, wheeling and dealing, working relationships, sensing the synergies, working them... Should these nephews, but a year apart in age, decide to combine their talents one day, the world shall be their oyster.*
*"The world is the mollusc of your choice." Pterry, Discworld, passim.
*"The world is your oyster" is a quote from Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor
Falstaff: I will not lend thee a penny.The original implication of the phrase is that Pistol is going to use violent means (sword) to steal his fortune (the pearl on finds in an oyster). We inherit the phrase without the original violent connotation to mean that the world is ours to enjoy. -- gbuttters
Pistol: Why then the world's mine oyster, Which I with sword will open.
Falstaff: Not a penny.
The Mother-Unit had the second litter with her second husband, a beautiful, lovely and unlikely man, Necip. [It bears mentioning, as he is gone now, and much missed. One of these summer days, you and I will have to repair to the Computer Turret with a pitcher of gin and tonic, and I will tell you the tale of the Turkish obstetrician/gynecologist who was one of the official physicians to the United States Olympic Boxing Team... It's a good'un, as tales go.]
On what I guess would be the other side of the tracks, Grader Boob and I, the chirp, hooked up with some step-parentage who brought along offspring and bad memories of her own. Specifically, I was gifted with an older sister, whom we called Brute -- because she was anything but. Seriously, she had hands you could see through. She squealed, ducked, and put her mitt over head at the sound of bat meeting ball -- and she was always carefully positioned in what was known as Far Far Outfield, as in "a little farther, a little farther... that's good!"
Now... Brute had a son, but from what I hear, he escaped the Curse of the Brainiacs. But that would figure, because he has no blood relationship with The Brood. I am sure he is talented at something, and is likely a handsome guy -- but I just haven't heard. Actually, I blame the sperm donor. Brute deserved a Prince, a Peach, A Pear, but she, too, was smitten with the need to leave and so married the first biped that came along.
Brute learned and now, if I put ear to ground, there are rumors of some guy named, wonderfully enough, Joe. The info on Joe is pleasing...
Since blood relationships turned out to be meaningless to me, in any real way, I hope you can understand that I sometimes get confused.
I try to eke out some line of inherited relationship, I ache for commonalities that might be a sign of God, that sort of thing.
Hell, I had to look up the difference between cousin and nephew a few minutes ago.
So... as I was pondering a long overdue email I was writing to my half-sister Lale, I got lost trying to remember the name of Hilmi's wife (I think his second, I am not sure.). I like her. We've corresponded, she's a smart, funny, and snarky lady -- and I was frustrated by my brain's lack of cooperation. Anyway, she has RA and I seemed to remember that it was kind of kicking her butt last I heard, but damn, I couldn't get her name from the tip of my tongue to my dancing fingers.
Then I remembered that I had subscribed to a feed of her blog three or four years ago -- a blog that I had stumbled upon in the self-indulgent confusion that is Facebook. I had not read it since -- not because she doesn't write well or it was not interesting (she does and it is) but because I just forgot.
So I waltzed over to my Google Reader and scanned down the bazillion things to which I am subscribed.
I marvel that there have been only ten entries since last I looked at it, but give it a few clicks -- got to get her name, that name, arg!
And I see that she wrote something just six days ago.
And I feel like I've stumbled onto something beautiful, someone beautiful, but also into a moment I was not meant to witness. A sister's secret life.As I was making a cup of coffee this morning, I don't know if it's the combination of a summer morning and the smell of coffee, but I was instantly transported (mentally) to my grandpa's house at the beach.
I don't think that anyone really knows how much I think about living at the beach. When I say "the beach", I mean Oak Island. That's the beach that my family has gone to since I was an infant (around 6 weeks old). It's the beach that I took my son to visit when he was 6 weeks old - kind of like a "sand baptism"! Every time I'm on my way to visit my grandpa, and I get to the bridge leading to OI, I feel like I'm HOME. I have lived in the same county my whole life, but the beach feels like HOME. Even as I type this, I can feel that feeling I get when I'm driving over the bridge and looking at the Intracoastal Waterway on either side of me. Even in the dead of winter, I get that same feeling so I know it's not just the need of vacation.
It hit me this morning, as I was making my cup of coffee, that YES I WILL eventually live at the beach. This is one dream that I will not give up! I've given up a lot of dreams along the way...whether they were just dreams I had as a child that I outgrew, or if they were dreams that I had to re-evaluate because of RA. My desire to live at the ocean is still there. It has only gotten stronger.
I love what she wants for herself and feel a thickening of this "family"'s thin blood, hear the need, the want, revel in the certainty. I look politely in the other direction and let the words blur.
I finish writing to Lale.
I erase "So what's shakin' with Hilmi's wife, John's mother?" (showing off my mastery of kinship terms) and I ask, instead, "How is Tina?"
I say, "Please say 'Hello' to her for me" and I hear the sound of water lapping, feel the ease of warmth on pained muscles, swollen joints, see her bloodline, an old Hilmi launching a boat, an adult John lifting a window to let in the breeze.
|Oak Island Nature Center|