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from Twice Sorry by Barbara Moore

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As family reunions go, this hadn’t been a great success, but then, we weren’t much on family get-togethers. Maybe it’s better that way. We don’t seem to have much in common. But I keep trying. Like, maybe someday we’ll all exchange hugs instead of “Hi” and “How are you?”

So why was I surprised when no one was — never mind thrilled or excited — not even slightly interested in my idea?

“There she goes again,” was the first reaction, and from my brother, David, “Jeez, where do you get these dumb ideas?” And from another, “Who cares, anyway!”

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Really, I didn’t expect it this time. It’s not like the time I’d planned that super family picnic with a tent, in case it rained, a moon walk for the youngsters, and the musician who brought instruments for all to play as he strolled with guitar and sang silly songs. Well, they weren’t silly, exactly; some were downright off-color. (Had I heard him mention that when I answered his ad — and had the devil in me said, “Oh, live a little!”?)

And it’s not like the time of my brother’s party to celebrate the completion of their beautiful pool and cabaña. I had no idea they were going to have it blessed with an old-fashioned new-home ceremony, complete with priest and holy water. So, of course, my gift wasn’t appreciated — my dazzling, hand-printed-best-calligraphy, chrome and purple sign, “Welcome to our ool! Please keep the ‘p’ out of it!” Noting the sour reactions, I’d thought, “Wait ’till they see the cabaña!”

“This is different,” I told them. “It’s something for all of us! We’ll work together, call up family memories, research ancestors. I’ve already been checking Vital Records at City Hall. It’s fascinating, seeing those handwritten records, brown and crinkly with age!”

“Oh, my Lord!” came first — then, “You’ll be sorry!” and a buzz of comments.

Aunt Sarah said quietly, “What do you expect to find? We’re just an ordinary family.”

“She’ll find something — or she’ll invent something,” mumbled David, in a head-shaking aside.

“Oh, don’t do that,” Aunt Helen said. “Don’t romanticize the family or look for heroes.”

“But, such a large family,” I said plaintively, “and so many left home for good. There must have been interesting experiences. How about Uncle Archie? Didn’t he go out West somewhere and no one ever heard from him…?”

“As far as we know,” mumbled David. “Prob’ly a good reason; wouldn’t admit it if they did hear.”

“Well, I’ve already found something,” I threw out with a head toss and lift of the shoulder. “There were 14 children, not 13! Ha! Betcha didn’t know that.”

And David sighed. “Jeez, Sue, didn’t you used to knit — or do watercolors?”

Aunt Helen spoke softly, “Yes, we knew, or at least I did. And before you say anything else, yes, I know when she was born.”

“What does that mean? Did Grandfather have two wives?” Looks were exchanged, but no one answered, and their silence spoke. “Oh, Lordy, Lord, he did!” I breathed. “At the same time?”

 

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