Hahaha, “Cousin It.” I actually have a bevy of relatives from which to choose for their eccentricities, but, since I can only choose one, I must tell you of my… a female relative, let’s leave it at that.
This female relative, we’ll name her Rose, is quite the character. When I was young, I thought she was the meanest person I ever met. She swore like the dickens and smoked cigarettes when she would come to visit my mother and drink coffee and eat fresh coffee cake from the bakery.
She had some kind of nerve condition which scarred her legs, I don’t remember the name of the condition, but her legs were scary looking. I don’t think it bothered her though, or her husband – they had a lot of children. I always thought she was mean to them too, but their dad was nice, I really liked him.
Rose’s husband was in the medical profession and made good money. Her husband, we’ll call him Ralph, loved technology and back in those days, that meant the best of stereo equipment, reel-to-reel tape recorders, movie cameras and regular cameras. He had to have the best.
So, every Christmas, Rose would throw a huge family party at their house. Tables lined the decorated basement for the grown-ups and then there were smaller tables for us kids. We also had about one-third of the basement for playing games and dancing to music, the tapes that Ralph made just for those occasions.
The men would be at the bar on the opposite side of the long basement while the women chatted and set up the buffet tables which held all the food. I always thought Rose cooked all the food but found out later that it was actually Ralph who did most of the cooking. He was the one who insisted on the parties. He loved family get-togethers.
Rose and Ralph had a rocky relationship. She seemed like a tough woman. I often wondered how Ralph tolerated her, especially after she had threatened divorce several times. They never did go through a divorce, but I don’t know how happy they were. He ended up dying about ten years ago, I don’t think they made it to fifty years.
These days, Rose busies herself by going out everyday, to the post office, to Bed Bath and Beyond, one of her favorite stores, little trips to the local grocery store, just to get out of her apartment. She is very secretive, about everything, anything! Maybe in a past life she was a prisoner of war or something and keeping lips sealed is just part of her nature. BUT, she does like to hear about others’ secrets, you know, ‘gossip.’
Rose loves gadgets and must have the latest, best-est gadgets she sees on television. Quite often she’ll phone to ask me to research a product on the internet. Internet is available where she lives but she is afraid of computers. I don’t complain. I research whatever she is interested in and give her the information. Many times, she wants me to find the corporate address and phone number of some company so she can write a complaint letter. Imagine, hand-writing a real letter.
Rose has a brother who is a pack rat. It is a very good thing that they live several states apart otherwise Rose would be phoning 1-800-junk to clean out his hoarding nest. Dick, her brother, is addicted to getting bargains at the local Goodwill store. I actually had the opportunity to accompany him on one of his excursions and came home with two lawn sized garbage bags full of gorgeous, high quality work clothes – suits and brand name dresses – all for less than fifty dollars! So, I don’t knock the second-hand stores after finding those deals!
As Rose is aging, approaching eighty this year, I think her temper is cooling down. She is still sharp as a tack and will curse, but nothing like she used to or like her brother, Dick who still swears like a longshoreman and he’s eighty-seven!
Knowing Rose for all of my life has been a good thing. We have laughed, argued, gossiped, yes, gossiped and reminisced. Rose may not sound very eccentric, and I guess in essence, she isn’t, but, if I told you the stories of the most eccentric person in my family, you would not believe me. You really, really, really, would not believe me. So, let’s just settle for Rose.
Today’s thoughts have been inspired by: Daily Post: Cousin It – We all have that one eccentric relative who always says and does the strangest things. In your family, who’s that person, and what is it that earned him/her that reputation?