F is for Family

Rose wrote, in response to my post P is for (Helicopter) Parenting, that it was the first time I had written about family. This surprised me, initially, because I’ve gone on about my daughter every month on the 26th of the month, without fail. In fact, it was one of the two purported reasons I STARTED this blog back in 2005, the other being to tell the JEOPARDY! story.

I’ve written about my wife at least twice a year, on our anniversary and her birthday. My late parents I’ve discussed on the anniversaries of their births and deaths, and my sisters on their respective birthdays.

It’s true, though, that I’ve seldom written about them for ABC Wednesday. Here, then, a summary.

My parents both grew up in Binghamton, New York, a small city near the Pennsylvania border. They were both only children, no I have no direct aunts, uncles or first cousins. Anyone I have called cousins are either my parents’ cousins, or their children. So we have a very small tribe.

My parents met cute, with my father delivering flowers to 13 Maple Street, when they were intended for 13 Maple Avenue in Binghamton. Though Trudy initially thought Les was a bit full of himself – probably accurately, from what I’ve been told by others – they ended up getting married on March 12, 1950.

My mother had a miscarriage in April 1951. I always thought that was why my father was a little…distant…when I was born five days shy of their third anniversary. I was named for no one; my father just liked that my initials, ROG spelled out a shortened version of my name.

I found it interesting that when my sister came along in July of 1954, my father named HER for him, Leslie. (This caused me all sorts of complications. People knew my family had a child named Leslie and assumed that it was MY name, and some guys in church called me Little Les, which WAS NOT MY NAME, and to which I refused to respond.) It was also confusing when we’d get phone calls; my father was Les, and my sister became Leslie Ellen.

My sister Marcia was born in May 1958. We all went to school at Daniel Dickinson, staying at my maternal grandma’s house at lunch.

My parents and Marcia moved to Charlotte, NC in 1974. Leslie and I kidnapped my grandmother and brought her to Charlotte by train in January of the next year. She used coal for heat in Binghamton, and going up and down those rickety cellar steps in her mid-70s was not an option. She died in Charlotte on Super Bowl Sunday, 1983, but is buried in Binghamton, less than two blocks from her former home.

My father died of prostate cancer on August 10, 2000, less than 18 months after he arranged the flowers for my marriage to Carol Powell. I’ve long been sad that he never got to meet my daughter Lydia, who was born about three and a half years later.

Once I figured out how to put pictures into Blogger – I READ THE MANUAL and still couldn’t figure it out – I used to put pictures of the Daughter all the time. At some point in the past two years, though, my wife expressed concern about my daughter’s pictures appearing in this blog. It’s for that reason, not my own, that I’ve limited the number of her photographic appearances here.

Frankly, I don’t agree. I thought by having her picture out here it would make her well enough recognizable that she would be LESS likely to…well, whatever scenario the Wife was envisioning.

At the same time, I also thought it was better for ME – some public photographic proof, or at least indication, that she was my daughter, in case the cops ever stopped us. MY paranoia is a function of the fact that I was 51 when I had her, only a year younger than my father was when he had his first GRANDCHILD. So who IS this old man with this little kid?

I remember the utility worker who first asked if she were my granddaughter. I used to be miffed, but now accept the reality.

My mom died, reasonably suddenly, in February 2011. I got an outpouring of caring, from Jaquandor, Arthur, plus many in the ABC Wednesday community. Oddly, it wasn’t a post about my mother’s passing, but a post about going down to visit my mom after her stroke that triggered the comments, which, even as I write this, make me teary-eyed, not just with missing my mom, but of all the support I received at the time.

So there you be: my family. Well, except for my two nieces, Rebecca, Leslie’s daughter, and Alexandria, Marcia’s daughter. Oh, my mom’s three granddaughters are each separated by about a dozen years – Becky, Alex, and Lydia, in that order. Glad Lydia got to meet my mom, and vice versa.

ABC Wednesday – Round 12

39 thoughts on “F is for Family”

  1. I know you write about your family regularly Roger and remember when your mum passed away. Through the world of blogging I feel the ABC project is a kind of family group and know I have genuine friends and associates through this. Great post Roger.


  2. Nice one. It would take far too long to write about mine, mainly due to me having 7 children, all grown up now. If I began it would be – believe it or not – ‘my Grandfather was born in the year Dickens died …’


  3. Roger, since I only know you through ABC Wednesday, I was delighted to hear about your family. Your daughter is absolutely adorable and I’m sure the delight of your life. My mother had my brother later in life. My sister was 16 at the time, and everyone who didn’t know us, thought my mom was the grandma and Donna the mom…Our four all came before I was 30!! Thus time for 11 grandchildren.


  4. Oh what a wonderful ‘meet the family’ post. Your daughter looks wonderful and full of life and I was sorry to read that your parents are no longer with you. Happy to hear the family is growing into a nice clan and look forward to reading thought my (then) teenage daughter was my husband’s girl friend…how embarrassing is that…for HER! (I think he kind of liked it…)


  5. I loved meeting your family and seeing the photo of your sweet daughter.
    I don’t put up photos of my Grandkids for the very same reason. Their parents feel uncomfortable having their faces going all over the world.
    Have a wonderful week Roger.


  6. I have a small family, too. Although I have 2 sisters, my mother’s only sibling lived hundreds of miles away and his sons were born there, thus preventing us from frequent visits. They were also 10 & 12 years younger than me. My Dad had a half-brother, a lot older than him because his Mom was married briefly to a soldier who died in WW1. He also had 2 sisters – one older and one younger. The older one moved to Omaha, Nebraska, so I don’t think I ever met her. I did meet one of her 6 children when she came to visit family in Vancouver. Dad’s younger sister had a hard life but is still alive – last one of her generation – but lives several hundred miles away. My older sister had 2 sons, only one of whom has one child and the other has none. My younger sister never married or had any children. My older daughter has 2 children and my younger daughter probably can’t have children (medical problems). So all in all, my family is very small and for some reason I’ve always wished I had a larger family – I’d have loved to have more children but apparently it was not in the plan. Now I have my puppy with Lorne and she’s our “child.” lol Great post about family, Roger. It’s good to “know” people better here.

    abcw team


  7. She is so adorable, and I love this exploration of family! I think I might have the same feelings about wanting to share pictures of someone I love very much…something about seeing a tangible picture posted up there, well it’s rather powerful. Thank you for a lovely F post.


  8. Roger, thank you for sharing your story. I love the parts touching on our common hometown, Binghamton.

    I, too, have felt an outpouring of prayers, grace, and support at so many times in my blog life. I also understand your wife’s concern about pix of your daughter, but, to me at least, they are fairly anonymous – in fact, I only use my daughter’s nickname, Riley, when I post. Besides, she’s a 24-year-old, 5’9″ lesbian, and you don’t mess with her!!

    I looked at the post about your mom’s illness. It was indeed touching to see all the love that followed in the comments. You deserve all the support in the world, Roger. God knows you’ve been a great help to me in my down days. Besides, you expertise on vinyl and trivia have helped cheer me on many a dark day! Peace, Amy


  9. My family is even smaller ! I only have a husband, a son and a grandson. My parents are both dead since a long time. My father had broken all relations to his family, so I have no one on this side. There is still a cousin living in Germany, but we don’t have a lot of contact. On Mr. G’s side they are all dead except a sister and a niece ! But Italy is so far from Belgium that we don’t see each other often. I hoped for a good relationship with my DIL’s family, but they are strange people, they only meet us when it is not avoidable !


  10. Roger, enjoyed hearing your family tribe history. I often share my family but only use first names, I suppose there is some danger but I don’t believe it is terrible enough to stop sharing. Lydia is just beautiful, looks like she enjoys being your princess.


  11. Hey Rog I loved that you took the time to write all this out for us. I have great difficulty putting my very personal family pics and stuff on my blog and think it brave when others do so. I have noticed however that it helps people to understand me a bit if I do, perhaps I should do one like this.


  12. I enjoyed reading about show family, enjoyed the part u kidnapped yr grandma.

    I love writing about family too, but this time, I didn’t because I just finished my book on my family. May be I will do another post.


  13. My eldest aunt has eleven children. Her oldest daughter was a nurse in the maternity ward and helped deliver her youngest son. I know she and her husband asked their youngest if the age difference between them and him bothered him. He said no, it was what he knew and what he was used to. They had a lot of fun.

    And it’s been a lot of fun getting to know you and your family better. 🙂 Enjoyed your post, Roger.


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