G-ma was delighted when a couple of recent installments of the Chronicles inspired readers to recall some of their own favorite family lore. Even better, they wrote and shared their memories and bestowed permission to pass them on. Over the years, G-ma has become a fervent believer that there’s a funny thread somewhere in every family, though some may have to look harder for it than others. Why not spread the laughs around and capture them for future generations? To that end, she hopes you enjoy these reader contributions.
The first tale comes from an old pal in Kentucky, one of the funniest people I know, but who will remain anonymous in this missive. He was inspired by The Invincible MM, and its reference to my mother wearing a new outfit and pearls the afternoon after an accident sent her to the emergency room. He writes:
“…one element of the story reminded me of an incident involving one of my mother’s sisters, my Aunt Libby.
Libby Louise Longworth Hampton was a tiny, fastidious woman who clung to her East Tennessee upbringing despite living most of her adult life in Detroit.
One evening, Aunt Libby’s daughter, cousin Rhonda, dropped by Libby’s house to visit, only to find the front door standing open and Libby (now well into her 70s) lying in the foyer, staring at the ceiling, housecoat and hair curlers in disarray, bare feet askew.
After some requisite shrieking about strokes, heart attacks, and seizures, Rhonda told her mother to stay still, then dashed off to dial 911.
When the call was complete, Rhonda returned to the foyer to find it…empty.
No Libby Louise Longworth Hampton anywhere to be seen.
More shrieking and dashing ensued; this time Rhonda ran into the dimly lit front yard, expecting to find her mother on all fours, crawling toward parts unknown.
In short order, an ambulance arrived, Rhonda babbled out her story, and the EMTs — being experienced professionals — suggested searching the house first, Great Outdoors later.
Imagine, then, the absolute wonder Rhonda felt when the search party got to the front door, and found Aunt Libby in the precise spot where the story began, flat on her back in the entranceway, hands demurely folded across her breast.
Only now, she was wearing a prim frock, her hair was combed out, rouge lightly colored both cheeks, a hint of gloss gave life to the lips, low heels adorned her feet, and the folded hands held a string of pearls in place.
Libby would eventually explain, “I couldn’t go to the hospital looking like that.”
And the subject was closed to further discussion.
I think the diagnosis was a fainting spell related to low blood pressure. Aunt Libby lived to a ripe 90+, as did all my mother’s sisters who survived childhood.”
The next exceptional tale was shared by my great friend and former co-worker Barbara Morris of Louisville, whose family absolutely has a bedrock sense of humor. Inspired by a Chronicles reference to the challenges of entertaining grandchildren and keeping pace with their energy, Barb went back in time to this:
‘When I saw your posting on your grandchildren having an overnight, I was reminded of a story from when Clay Sr. and Marian had the grandchildren for a visit. The two grade school-aged grandsons from Columbus, Ohio, were there for a week. The Sr. Morris’s had worn themselves ragged entertaining them. Belle ride, museums, movies, parks, train ride, eating out and more. When their parents arrived for pickup, the younger of the two said tearfully, ‘they didn’t let me do ANYTHING!’
Family legend now as a phrase we use when it fits…. Clay Sr. often said, “Grandchildren make you happy twice, once when they come and again when they leave’. “
Amen to that last bit, Barb. And thanks to my pals for sharing. G-ma hopes other readers will stroll down memory lane, then take time to do the same.