Saturday, November 30, 2019


Every family has its quirks. The weird uncle or aunt. The hidden skeleton in the closet. The prison sentence. The boozer. The odd way of describing things. The family traditions and habits that seem queer but mean something to people who lived through it or remember being told about it.

Here are some of mine.

I don't have any killers, except if you count my mother's uncle Nick who blew up a cow with a firecracker in its ear. He and his brother Jake thought they were Jesse James. They both did some time in jail--not sure about prison. Petty crimes, they weren't smart enough to be gangsters. Besides, they were Ukrainian.

We have a peculiar way of remembering conversations and are able to pick them up years after first initiated. Walk into a room and just start talking about the topic where you left off. This is an art, in my opinion. My uncle Eugene was particularly masterful at this, but any member of the family knows what's going on. This may not extend to the other branches on the tree, but it probably does.

Certain phrases some people might not understand.  Such as "the way you go down the cellar" which means, simply, the cellar stairs. There is no "way you go up the stairs" to go to the second floor. We say "ahm" instead of I'm. Lots of folks say that. Sloppy tongues. "Whaddycall" instead of  what do you call it, and it's linguistic brother "Howdycall", meaning something like the same thing, only different.

The way to tell if your hair is clean after washing is to squeak it with your fingers.

To signify a great deal of something, you say simply "whoady". 

There are more. For the moment, these are at the top of my memory.

Oh, yeah. Both of my grandfathers made and sold illegal hooch. One actually spent a night in jail because of a dissatisfied customer, the other avoided the Volstead folks by going out the back door when they were at the front door. 

Other wonderful snippets of my less than illustrious family to follow. And no, these are real relatives, not the made up ones I write about. 

The above are not my relatives.

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