Wednesday, July 19, 2006

my inlaws- first installment

My mother in law came from an Irish Catholic family with lots of kids and no money. Perhaps for that reason, the family are all big drinkers and crazy as loons. Obbie, as she was called, was the pretty one, her pictures remind you of Jackie O. The department store always asked her to model for their fashion shows. I don't know whether she was too picky or all her prospects got killed in the war. Anyway, she was left with Joe.

My father in law came from an Irish Catholic family with only two kids and lots of money. People thought he should be married, so he married Obbie. They spent their honeymoon sailing down the intercoastal waterway from New Jersey to Miami.

In the first five years, she had 7 babies: three sets of fraternal twins, one set died. My husband and his brother were born premature, only 2 and 4 pounds in 1956. No one expected them to live, but they did. The nanny is said to have run down the street screaming, never to return, when the second set of twins came home.

Obbie wasn't very happy. She would carry her suitcase outside and sit in the car crying. She didn't know how to drive. The children would press their faces to the upstairs windows crying when they saw their mother doing this. She drank too much, cooked like an Irish-woman, and had no control over her diabetes. Her young son always carried candy in case of a fainting spell in the store somewhere.

For all this, Obbie raised her children to know how to act. They learned early how to hold the door for a lady, order for themselves when eating out, and make polite conversation at a party.

Obbie had serious heart problems and had a valve replaced. She died from complications of an ensuing surgery when her children were still college age in the 1970's.

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