The Dysfunctional Family
In this day of space-age technology the social class had to have a label to distinguish themselves from “the rest of us” the learned psychologist came up with the term dysfunctional family.
This anyone who doesn’t fit into their “norm” is dysfunctional. Taking the definitions from Webster’s Dictionary: The definition of function is the normal action of anything. Dysfunction means abnormal functioning.
Okay let’s take a look at our family and see where we fit in. You tell me? Mom and Dad had to raise six little people. Mom was the strict disciplinarian. One of those Southern Alabama women who made you go out and get your own switch, which she would apply to the seat or your pants. You better not come back with some little skinny stick or she would send you back for a bigger and thicker one.
I think that was the beginning of our dysfunctional life. How normal is it to go out and get a boulder knowing you are going to get beat with it? Mom was loving, but wouldn’t put up with any foolishness. Here’s an example of how Mom meant business. One of her most famous sayings was “I will kill you’re a (double) s and dare your soul to move!” I don’t know about the others, but this sent chills up my spine. Now imagine this, she’s going to kill you ant then dare your soul to leave your body. That’s bad! For me she was bigger and badder than the boogeyman!
Like I said, there were six of us little people, Reva being the eldest and setting the example for the rest of up, she was the designated babysitter.
She would let Ebby and Acquanette sneak to the store on the corner and buy Blue Bird pies when Mom was gone. That was nice for Ebby, but Acquanette gained all the weight behind it. Unfortunately, Reva’s babysitting skills left something to be desired.
One evening danger was lurking on the back porch. We heard a noise and then a crash. We all ran for the steps to run upstairs, but our “designated babysitter” tried t run over us younger ones pushing us out of her way to save herself. What is that about? Is that survival of the fittest, or should we say survival of the oldest or abnormal behavior?
Reva, did you know you had a great influence on your sister Ebby’s future dreams? She considered you the “hamburger, beer and cigarette queen.” Her dream was when she grew up she wanted to order her own hamburger and beer and smoke a cigarette just like her big sister. Did you know that Mom? Such great expectations! Duh!!
Pride and Self respect was a hard lesson learned by Ebby and Karolyn. One summer day Ebby and Karol were behaving like best buds, unusual but it did happen. They were walking around with their arms around each other gleefully and singing loudly. As they walked up the front porch their little happy behinds fell over in the sticker bushed. Mom had to help fish then out. Then she spanked them for clowning around making a spectacle of them selves in front of the neighborhood and told them to “go around back acting like dummies” what’s up with that?
One of us who will not be named because of the personal nature of this incident had constipation problem. Mom caught her standing up in a chair at eh cupboard eating Argo starch, for those of you who don’t know what Argo starch is ask Ebby. The person had a mouth full of this starch when mom caught her. Little rocks of starch flew every where when she was startled by mom and tried to speak. Needless to say, she had to go get a switch. Abnormal behavior, you tell me! “Eating Clothing Starch?”
Ebby’s partner in foolishness had a few other quirks. Now, this is one for the Twilight Zone. Late in the evening when the full moon was rising at the witching hour she would rise up out of dead sleep and pick unidentified object out of the air. They were visible only to her eyes. This most definitely was not the behavior of normal person!! Sorry Karol!
And Karol’s twin…..Me (Kathy) I am thankful to be here because I almost wasn’t. Karol got mad at me one day and came at me with a butter knife, she missed. After that, we tried to keep sharp objects out of her reach. Anyone who communicates with unseen forces is capable of anything.
But then Karol may have inherited her homicidal tendencies from you Mom. Remember Jim’s old lady, the “red neck” as you called her? Mom was a scrapper. She didn’t back down from a fight. We think that was her Alabama upbringing. Jim and his old lady lived next door. This woman called mom out of her name. Mom had some hedge clippers in her hands and started off toward this woman with vengeance in her eyes. It took all of us kids hanging one her to hold her back. In reality, I don’t think our sweet little Mom would have whacked t woman’s head off, but she surely would have laid a real hurting on her. Ewe!
Speaking of Mom, Poor dear never learned to drive. A well meaning neighbor and friend decided to teach her how to drive, Karol and I(Kathy) remember this well. We were in the back seat. Now this woman had never been behind a steering wheel in her life. One of us twins called out “Mommy.” Mom turned around to look at us and ran into, tearing up three or four brand new cars while making an illegal U-turn. Ebby ended up with a fat lip and mom had to pay a fat fine and received a scolding from the judge. She never had a driver’s permit! Needless to say, that was the first and last time she ever got behind the wheel of a car.
The experience scarred Ebby. She had a Driving Miss Daisy complex for 30 years. She would always get in the back seat when dad would taker back and forth to work. Thing is, was the only passenger in the car. Weird huh! But, let’s all give Ebby a hand of applause because she beat dysfunction junction. At the ripe old age of 36 she finally made up her mind to get her driver’s license, and she did! Hoorah Ebby!!
Oh, let’s not forget our nest to the oldest sister Aquanette. She was the proverbial black sheep of the family. If there was something to be tried, she was the first to do it. And she was hard headed. I think she got more spankings than all of us combined. She was a revel and had to have eth last word. She loved running the streets. When she turned eighteen Dad would tamper with her car so it wouldn’t run all weekend long, but it started up real good come Monday morning for work. She never figured this out until we told her about eight years ago.
She became the dreaded designated babysitter after Reva left t nest. Her and Karol never got along in the capacity. They always ended up fighting and Acquanette would have to call Mom and tell her about Karol acting wild. There were times when she would have to literally fight Karol off with a chair as if Karol were some wild animal. The only thins missing was a whip. Something, someone, or someone’s isn’t functioning in normal capacity here. This is one for the books.
Acquanette learned first hand what Mom’s phrase “when you think you are grown you get your own place to hang curtains.” When she was 19 she left the nest, got her own apartment and hung her some curtains. Now who would have ever thought this complicated free spirit would be the saved person she is today?
Now, our dear brother, Herb Jr. formerly known as Herbie, his childhood dream was to be an elevator man. He would run that Home Company elevator up and down the shaft collecting trash on the different floors and then climb and jump from shelf to shelf like a monkey.
One day Herbie thought he had a secret. He had a thing about chocolate Ex-lax. He found a box sitting on the table and ate the whole thing. He told me about it and asked not to tell Mom. Of course, smart intelligent me told hen no one had to tell Mom, because shortly she and everyone else in the house will know what he did. We did! OF course he got the switch. Who in their right mind would eat a whole box of Ex-lax? Yuk!
Herb was a sneaky little devil. One day Mom saw something shinny in the sticker bushes. Upon investigation, she discovered herb and one of his little friends has hidden a six pack of beer in the bushes to sneak and drink later. Busted! He got grounded. I think Mom thought herb was really into fresh aromas, because he was always burning incense in his room. Personally, I don’t think it was to cover up the smell of his stinky feet.
And now last but not least me (Karol). I guess it’s only fair that I should rattle a few skeletons of my own or I’ll here about it. I have been called a racist. One summer when the family went to Birmingham, Alabama, I was minding my own business until my uncle, (my Mother’s brother) pointed out this dark, poor little raggedy black boy. He told me to call the boy “Little Black Samboo.” Like a dummy I did it. Got bad with it too. I didn’t just do it once but called him that three or four times. “Little Black Samboo, Little Black Samboo.” I seemed to get bolder each time I said it. Well, imagine a high yellow calling a dark skin black boy down south Black Samboo! Yes I had to go get a switch. It seemed like those southern switched were wicked. That was the last time I behaved like a racist.
You might say I also had a Mafia Complex. I would loan people money, but you better pay me back when you promised you would or we were going to fight. Ask Karol, she sported a fat lip for a week. I asked her for my money and she had the audacity to tell me “I’ll give it to you when I get good and ready” POP! She gave me my money and I never extended her another loan.
In closing, I’ve just given some of you a peek into our past. The Normal and the Abnormal. Were we a dysfunctional family? Who can really say? Its how we turned out that really matters. Let’s all give Mom a round of applause. You raised us right and we all turned out to have good careers.
Reva – A teacher
Acquanette – Wiz in accounting records at the college and now a recognized
Writer though a publishing company
Ebby – Executive legal secretary
Karol – Investments and now training for pharmacy assistant
Kathy – Mortgage banking and Real estate
Herb Jr. – Executive vice president at Coca Cola Company
You did a great job Mom!! The secret might have been in those switched.
As read by Kathy at Mom’s eightieth birthday party written by Acquanette.