QotD: Family Carnivale

Share a story about your sibling(s) or a family member from when you were a kid. 
Submitted by Jenny Marie.

I have a memory for each parent - I believe in equal time; no recollection without representation.

I must have been a terrible burden for my mother.  Starting with my birth, when my even-then broad shoulders sort of got me…stuck.  Now, 300 years ago the doctor would have used a forceps, earlier, I don't know - perhaps he would just reach for pocket knife or something.  In 1957, her doctor merely scolded the nurses: "Get that baby out of there!"

Anyway.  Once home, I proceeded to scream for the next 4 years.  Dad would leave – run – for work, leaving my mother alone with me: small, fat and purple-faced with howling.  Only by endlessly walking me, weighed under by my excessive infant weight, could she get me to shut up.  She did this ALL DAY.  Her only relief came when her best friend, Corinne, came to visit.  Corinne would take over the daunting task of amusing me (she dearly wanted a girl), freeing my mother up for what she had been longing to do all day:  clean the house.

I was rather an adorable monster.

As for Dad:  he now grows tomatoes, but when I was 7-8 he liked to build things.  So excessively much that he built a cabin near the town of Ridgecrest, which is entrenched in the Mojave desert.  It is a hot, uncomfortable, dreary place.  If I had been a noticing type of child, I might have seen Dante, writing something about a tenth ring.

I hated going.  But I was a kid, and I was pretty much under orders.  I had to be content to spend a day entirely bored, tired and stewing in my own sweat.  Many times my pair of grandfathers accompanied us (my maternal grand-dad, John, is on the left and my paternal grand-dad, Frank, is on the right):

Does it look like we're breaking ground for the Trans-Continental Railroad?  I'm not saying that it drove me to drink, but there were times when I had to hit the booze hard.  Many times I was thankful that I'd brought my flask of sweet Kentucky bourbon along:

Anyway, Dad still visits this hollow, wooden block, sweeping away the tarantulas, enjoying a quiet day in a dry, lonely acre of land that he can call his own.  I disliked being in on the building intensely, but I do know that he was – and is – proud of what he had wrought. 

And it makes me glad.  

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13 responses to “QotD: Family Carnivale

  1. Whoa. This is really like the HBO series Carnivale. I bet in your teen years you were Clea Duvall's character 'Sophie.'

  2. Aww. I have a thing for sepia-toned photos.

  3. I love the pic of your mom & you.
    I was a colicky baby as well (well, maybe that wasn't your problem) . I think my mom resented me for that for many years. For that & I wasn't a boy. sorry, dude.

  4. Maybe they hurt your shoulders when you came out. I have been told I have broad shoulder for a woman. Funny no one ever mention it? lol

  5. nice flask. i had a silver one with turquoise It got lost along the way,

  6. So now we know. Your mom was Rita Hayworth? Look at the tresses. Is that the flask Batista gave Joan Crawford when she opened the Pepsi Plant in Havanna? ( Obscure Mommie Dearest reference). Yeah, it's amazing any of us survived our parents hobbies and trips. But…. look how well you turned out. The knew the recipe for making one heck of an Aubrey!

  7. What wonderful photos! The movie script writes itself…

  8. Your mother is lovely. And that second picture looks like some kind of outtake from the filming of a Steinbeck novel.

  9. these photos are absolutely priceless. lovely story.

  10. Aubrey, you look you've just been sent out to dig holes. Oh, except you're wielding a rake. (P.S., I think Cranky is still a colicky baby. ;o)

  11. Wonderful photos and stories. A fabled past. 🙂

  12. You are the cutest little thing! Sigh, I would have loved to have had a girl too…

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