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Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Does anyone else have a family? I've got 2 when you count my out-laws! I thought it was a lot of work when I was a kid because I had parents. Now I have kids of my own, or so I'm told, I hope she's not just funnin me, and they are more work than having parents! As I've gotten older I still have a sister and brother and they have kids. Yes I have to be nice to them too, even to my sister in-laws kids, and some of them have kids. This goes on forever! I still have Aunts and Uncles, cousins, ditto for my wife. It just hit me, again as it has many times before, I'm pretty blessed.

My mother, God daughter and her little girl, who is absolutely one of the cutest babies born in the past 46 years, are staying with us for a few days. My family is pretty spread out now. My brother and I are the only ones that still live in Baltimore. That's something you don't think about when you're a kid. We lived 2 doors down from my Grandparents, my uncles lived close by and my aunt would drive 300 miles to get crabs, so we saw them all the time too.

Holidays used to be the best. We would always go to my Grandparent's house. All of us! Their house was as cute as a doll house and almost as big! There was the kitchen, living room and the back bedroom. Everything else was off limits, including the bed in the back bedroom. My Grandmother used to yell, "You kids better not be up in that attic"! The house was under 1000 square feet. Where did our grandmother think we were? There were 13 grandchildren, 8 aunts and uncles, 8 or so extra grandparents, a great grandmother and whoever else stopped in.

There was also a basement we weren't allowed to go in. My grandmother had a grocery store down there. Rows of canned goods, sugar, flour, canned meats, and rows of things that had been "put up". Also down in the basement were my grandfathers "treasures", which consisted of a lot of trash he thought should worth something. It was a dark, dank, scary place that was safe from children when it was dark.

I remember the older kids would go into the back bedroom and get up on the bed to climb out of the window to go out and smoke on the roof of the patio. I went with the older kids, I mean I was 8 or 9! We would always somehow manage to pull the curtains down off the window each time. Luckily we could always blame it on our one younger cousin. He got his ass beat every holiday! Ah, the memories.
It was there in my grandmother's house that I learned how to eat with a plate on your lap, balance a drink, and laugh at stories. You could watch my grandfather start a fight, my uncle play the organ or the accordion, or my father take a picture of my one aunt while she ate. It was crowded and it was loud and I miss it very much. You knew you were going to eat the same food, here the same stories, watch the same fights, and get yelled at for the same things. I wish I could sit on the floor and have my grandmother rub my head again.

So now you take family when you can get it. We don't get together as much as we would like. The whole family never gets together. This aunt doesn't talk to this uncle. This uncle is mad with this aunt. We are spread out from New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, to all over Maryland. Having some of the family stay with us reminds me of all of the things I miss and how much I wish they all still lived in Perry Hall.


Slammermike said...

Now that is what it is all about.

I have many similar memories and wouldn't trade them for the world.

I hope your parents visit this site and realize how many great memories you have regarding family. I'm sure they know though.

The weird thing I think is that in a few years your kids will be thinking the same thing. They'll have their own kids and will remember they crazy fun times they had growing up in your house. But not just with family but all those crazy friends and co-workers that were always around and seemed like family.

Lori said...

oh my God Andy! You just brought back so many awesome memories!! Do you remember every time someone tried to take a picture of Amy, she cried?!! She complained a few years ago that there are hardly any pictures of her so we had to explain her "fear" of having her picture taken. Nerd! And Tramp?! Wasn't that the dog's name? For some reason, the picture of Jesus on the back bedroom wall was scary! And Mom Mom would tell us the story about the "switch tree" in the back yard if we were bad. I can still remember Uncle Donnie putting me on top of the refrigerator for some reason! What I wouldn't give to go back to those days. I hope our kids realize how great things are right now!! I miss you a lot! I hope that one day soon we can all get together like we used to! I love you!

Anonymous said...

Thank God for our memories. I love talking about the "OLD TIMES". We are truly blessed with our family and friends! I know how lucky I am!!

awb said...

Yeah, I remember it like it was yesterday. He'd put you all up there on top of the fridge and then leave the room! I miss it all very much. Some of my best memories happened there in that little house on Stuart Ave. I'd forgotten about Amy with pictures, but I remember the day my father pulled her pants down! I also wish both sets of our parents still lived here in this neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I miss all of us getting together and getting along. It seems like it has been forever ago. Hopefully we can all get past our differences and make a ton more memories cause I'm ready. I have a beautiful baby girl to show off now and time is going by way to fast. Maybe this summer we can all get it together and be a family again. Life is way to short. In the end family and great memories are all your left with. So we need to keep them close by. corey

SB said...

This story brings back such great memories, I want to cry.

awb said...

It was great, I miss it tremendously!

karylc said...

Andy has the best stories. You need to document all you can remember. Sad thing is, we haven't carried the tradition on with our kids. It is rare that all of us 5 kids and our kids get together at my mom's house> And it certainly is big enough to hold us all without pulling the curtains down.

awb said...

It bothers me that we only seem to get together at the holidays. That probably changes now too with my sister being a grandmother. You knew she was considerably older than us?

I remember the time all the "big" kids got to go somewhere and I went and you had to stay home. You were one pissed little girl! I was a foot taller than you, but always afraid of you since you were a lot tougher than me. I probably ended up crying when they mde fun of my big head and glasses!