someone on one of the message boards that i frequent asked us to post our crazy family stories, so i posted this:

From the maternal side: my grandmother is 1st generation American, her parents were both born in London. Her father, my great-grandfather, came to America when he worked on the tall ships (you know the big fancy sailboats you see during Fleet week). He was 15 when he left for America and when he settled here, he sent for his old sweetheart who joined him, and they had my Nana and her sister. When he got older he wrote an autobiography for the family so we’d all know more about our history. My Nana wrote her own a few years ago where she talks about growing up during the Depression, only having meat on Sundays, and how the visit from the ice delivery man and the man who lit the gas lamps on the street were the highlights of the evenings. I love having their stories! In addition to English, there is also a small percentage of Welsh and German on my maternal side. On a different note, both my grandmother and my mother have been married 3 times. We always used to joke about how long my Nana’s name is: Constance Irene Lloyd Buente Hoppler Glahn. My father was my mother’s 2nd husband. There are a few relatives of my grandmother that have had some serious mental issues… her first cousins lived together in Brooklyn and were agoraphobic. Didn’t leave the house for 17 years. She had another cousin who had major OCD… they called him “the fluffer” because he went around the house constantly fluffing all of the pillows.

From the paternal side: My father is one of 7 kids. His father was full-bloded Native American (although not sure which tribe… I’ve heard Taino but I don’t know for certain) and his mother was Puerto Rican. His mother didn’t really understand how names work so technically three siblings all have the same name… my father was named Juan and he had a brother John and a brother Johnny. The other 2 brothers are close, Eddie and Edwin!  My grandmother abandoned her sons when they were young teens… she dropped them off at an orphanage in Florida run by nuns and took her daughters and moved from Puerto Rico to NY. Eventually they all reunited and forgave her (I guess? Not sure of the whole story but I remember my grandmother so I assume they reconciled somehow). My mother was my father’s second wife, and he had I think 3 kids with his first wife, then my sister and I, and then another daughter after he and my mother divorced. I have at least a dozen blood relatives that I know nothing about. Since my parents divorced when I was 3 months old, I had little contact with his side of the family after the fact. My father was the epitome of tall, dark and handsome… he spoke 7 languages fluently and made friends easily. He died when I was 8 years old, after a year of being in the witness protection program. He was a drug mule and got mixed up with “bad people” after working at JFK airport. I got a phone call from him the day before he died, just saying that he loved us. He did not die of natural causes… his death certificate says “cardial asphyxiation”, so he either killed himself (which my mother swears he would never do, he was too vain) or the bad guys caught up to him and killed him. He was in Spain when he died.

About 3 years ago I saw my uncle Edwin on the show “Dr. G, Medical Examiner” talking about how my other uncle Johnny died from an overdose of Tylenol PM. I FREAKED OUT when I saw him. I knew that Johnny had died, my mom and uncle edwin still talk once a year at Christmas so I had heard the news… still, I was completely shocked to see him and my cousins on TV. They live in Orlando, FL, and I am sure I could visit if I wanted to… also, my half-sister contacted me when I was in college… a bunch of family members live in Queens and wanted to see my sister and I. Just not sure I want to open that can of worms.

So that’s a brief glimpse into my wacky family history! Pretty crazy, huh?!