Thursday, November 1, 2012


Uncle Chris

I'm reading an article on why Romney's Mormonism should be taken into account when deciding whether or not to vote for him.  The article, by Nathan Nebeker, contributor to the Business Insider's political blog, says:  " . . . public knowledge of Mormonism is limited to some superficial cultural impressions, with an underlying feeling of vague suspicion.

My mind being an associative jumping monkey, I immediately think of my own family's suspicions regarding Mormonism and then I think of Uncle Chris.  The monkey keeps jumping to Grandma L and her sisters, my Great Aunts, and their closed ranks around 'don't tell Uncle Chris' when I started asking questions about my family for a high school biology assignment.  (Further monkey jumps:  the birthday card, the sewing machine, she had him committed, an image of Grandma's dining room, and 'damn, they're almost all dead now.)

The assignment was to trace three heritable traits through three generations.  I think I had eye color, hair color, and something else - maybe height.  But Grandma pulled out a genealogy that a second or third cousin had researched.  She had sent Grandma a copy because she had been so helpful and supportive. And Grandma was relative proud and jumped at the chance to talk about them, about her mother especially.  That was OK.  I was happy to overdo assignments.

The cousin lived in Iowa and we all lived in southern California.  With Grandma helping out with information about her (Grandma's) mother and other relatives of that generation, and offering to do the leg work to get the basics on everyone in California, Cousin got enough information about us collaterals to keep her from asking anyone else and maybe finding out a few things about Grandma and her kids and grandkids that she didn't want the relatives back in Iowa to know. 

I had to ask my parents about a couple of things and found out about a couple of folks no longer in contact with anyone (except maybe Grandma - she had an odd penchant for finding excuses to keep contacts with people secret from each other) due to divorce, annulment, non-payment of child support, and such. 

Oddly, if she'd just left those people out of the charts, instead of trying to shoehorn them in where they obviously didn't belong, I'd never have asked what the heck was going on.  Grandma had a habit of being clever like that, and of telling us about her being clever.  (His big feet will step on your toys - microwaving the book - they're pin-on curls - it was my sewing machine, he was just making a few payments on it because they were borrowing it)  She never seemed to consider that bragging about the effective lie she thought of telling to get her way could possibly cause anyone to perhaps not take the advice and information she was always promoting as gospel. 

The genealogy was the first experience with her misinformation that stood out in my mind.  After that, I noticed when she did it, noticed it as deliberate misinformation instead of, say, an odd way of thinking or a bad idea or a quick urge that shouldn't have been followed immediately, but thought over some more.  She did have an established MO of providing bad information, and different bad information to different people.  She did think it was clever.  She approved of it.  She bragged about it when she thought it went well.  What a clever girl. 

She bragged/declaimed about how accurate her gut feelings were and how she had learned not to discount her impulses.  She saw her whims as mystic revelations from the future.  But the lesson of follow your urge was supported by one single story, and that was a case of either mother's intuition (which is not mystic, nor from the future) or a simple coincidence.  From that, all her urges became sacred.  Her urges forestalled danger and should be acknowledged and appreciated for the gift that they were instead of dismissed or opposed or mislabeled as meddling or manipulation.

 - She and her sisters had a habit of declaiming in competition with each other
- arguments about family favorites. 
- gossiping just like a grown up
 - Uncle Lonny and laying on of hands
 - how old were we when Uncle Lonny had his accident?  Cause Mom said that they stopped drinking after that.  And if they were drinking, maybe Dad had more than an emotional and convenience reason to keep us sequestered from them. 

727 words  plus about 1100 last night.  That puts me over the daily quota. 

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