Paying For Real Estate Will Follow Us Into Death

, , , , , , , , | Related | November 14, 2019

My grandfather recently passed away. Known for his frugality, he bought his burial plot in the cemetery at his summer home’s church when they were having some sort of sale, and he got a “super deal.” His brother-in-law and sister also bought a plot at the same time, and his brother-in-law passed six years prior to my grandfather’s death. My grandfather was a businessman and dabbled in many trades and industries and owned most of his own businesses. His most prominent one — and the one that lasted the longest and was his passion — was real estate.

We gathered around the gravesite for the burial service. Afterward, we wanted to walk to my great-uncle’s gravesite, which we could make out in the distance, but was still in view of my grandfather’s gravesite. In an effort to lighten the mood, my cousin said the following:

“Corner plot, direct line of sight from Old Uncle Jack, plenty of parking on both sides, beautiful greenery, location at his favorite church on the Cape… He really was a real estate man. Location, location, location!”

We all laughed and appreciated his humor after an emotional and somber week.

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Potentially A Costume Of Biblical Proportions

, , , , , , | Related | October 31, 2019

(It’s Halloween, and we are at my aunt’s house, handing out candy. My cousin and her friend are coming back from a party just down the street. Their names are Jasmine and Izsabella.)

Nana: “Hey, Jezabella!”

Cousin: “Nana! Don’t call us that!”

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“Able” To Bring Her Down

, , , , , , | Friendly | September 15, 2019

(My uncle is considered by the rest of my family to be a “child-whisperer” because he can easily manage five children at a time by himself. He can take five of us — his kids and my siblings and our other cousins — on outings and manage to keep us all safe while we have fun. We all love him because he is very easygoing and patient but also can be silly with us. We go to the zoo when I am nine, with my ten-year-old and four-year-old cousins — his son and daughter — and twin six-year-old cousins — his nieces. We overhear two old ladies speaking. One of them points at my six-year-old cousin who has one leg.)

Rude Old Lady: “It is fitting that they brought that freak to a zoo.” 

(Her companion laughs. My uncle overhears this comment, as does my cousin, who starts crying. While her twin and the rest of us are attempting to cheer her up, my uncle walks over to the ladies, smiling.)

Uncle: *in a jovial sort of way* “Hello. Would you kindly repeat what you said?” 

(One of the women looks apprehensive, but the other doubles down on what she said before.)

Rude Old Lady: “I said that it is fitting that you brought your freaks to the zoo.”

Uncle: “Freaks? That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?” 

Rude Old Lady: “No, it’s accurate. You’ve got two kids wearing glasses — that ought to be child abuse, especially when you’re doing it to a little girl — and a kid with one leg. Plus, that kid has another kid who looks just like her except she’s whole.”

Uncle: “Oh, the twins? They don’t look that similar. For a start, she has blonde hair and she has black hair. I might consider it child abuse to not let children wear glasses, regardless of gender.” 

(So far, my uncle has been very conversational in tone. Now, he spreads his arms out like he’s making a grand speech and starts speaking loudly. The other people near the bear exhibit — and even the bears themselves, probably — are listening now.)

Uncle: “Understand this, O ableist hag! I do not appreciate you calling my family freaks, O she-who-made-a-kid-on-crutches-cry! I have nothing more to say to you, O demon-in-a-woman’s-body! Begone, I say!” 

(While my amputee cousin starts laughing at the absurdity of the statement, the rest of us cheer, and the woman, publically humiliated and shamed, stalks off, her companion saying, “Well, you were a bit rude, don’t you think?” to her on the way out. I bring this up now, years later, only because while visiting our grandmother during the summer, the oldest of my cousins and I go to the grocery store. My cousin nudges me in the ribs and says:)

Cousin: *just loudly enough for her to hear* “Hey, it’s the demon in a woman’s body!” 

(She scowled at us and kicked in our general direction before walking away.)

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Family Reactions Can Be Fluid

, , , , , , | Related | July 26, 2019

(I am a transgender teen and have just started living openly as a male. My mother’s side of the family is very open and accepting. My father’s side is full of very conservative, hyper-religious types who are a lot less positive. While he supports me, extended family gatherings can be painful. At this particular family dinner, I’m sitting with [Cousin #1], who I’ve always liked. Although she’s using my preferred name, she hasn’t directly mentioned my transition. [Cousin #2] walks over to talk to me.)

Cousin #2: “My husband says what you’re doing is evil. Don’t you dare talk to my kids about it! They are good Christians!”

Cousin #1: “That’s enough, [Cousin #2]!” *to me* “Are you okay?”

Me: *shrugs*

Cousin #1: *to [Cousin #2]* “I think your baby is crying. You should go check on him.” *to me, after she leaves* “I have to go do something. I’ll be back, okay?”

(I watch her leave, disappointed that she seems uncomfortable talking to me, but figuring she must be more like the rest of the family than I thought. She comes back a while later, holding something.)

Cousin #1: “Sorry, I’m still new at this stuff. I needed to talk to my husband and get his permission before I could talk to you. See, he’s not public about it and I don’t think I should tell anyone without checking with him first, but he sometimes lives as [Female Name]. I think it’s called being gender fluid? Anyway, I love her, and I love him, and I just want you to know that all that matters to me is that you keep your awesome personality. Also… I had to swap your Christmas gift. I got you a necklace, but this seems more appropriate.” *hands me a necktie* “Merry Christmas!”

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I Can Scare You In My Sleep

, , , , | Related | July 19, 2019

(My father’s side of the family is quite large — he has eight siblings — and they have a lake cottage that is shared between the group. A whole bunch of people gather for some events like the Fourth of July, and other times individual families will go up. My family lives farther away, so we don’t usually use the cottage, but when I am around thirteen or fourteen we go down for a week. I am sharing a room with a cousin my age. One night, at around one in the morning, she is up texting her friends, while I have been asleep for a while. Suddenly…)

Me: *sitting straight up in bed* “Hello, [Cousin].”

Cousin: “[My Name]? Are… are you awake?”

Me: “I am not awake. I am in your nightmares.” *lies back down*

Cousin: *screams*

(Apparently, I sleep-talk.)

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