Every family has them; incidents that brought shame to the family or black sheep that were disowned. Somewhere down the line, there were babies born out of wedlock or someone ran on the wrong side of the law. I bet there isn’t a family in the world that doesn’t have a story that has been hushed over the years. Whether my family is normal or not, I have run across quite a few tales. Some explain why later generations behaved the way they did….some family members became teatotallers, while some carried on the bad behavior.
I won’t go into details….afterall, skeletons belong in closets, don’t they? At least, I won’t name names.
One of my great grandfathers sold the family stove for liquor. Another tried to sell his own daughter, but a brother overheard the deal going down and warned her in time to run away. Supposedly the spelling of one of the last names in our family was changed because of horse thievery. The innocent side of the family didn’t want to be associated with the guilty, thus the spelling change (we were the thieves apparently). There are gravestones in one cemetery that led us to believe one great great aunt had had a baby out of wedlock, but my grandparents denied so vehemently that we were unable to find the truth.
The saddest story involves star crossed lovers. Four generations ago, a Catholic boy fell in love with a Lutheran girl. They ran away to Kansas to get married. They had a child, a son. The parents of the girl finally found the girl and forced her home to New York again. The marriage was annulled (I don’t know how they did that when there was a child involved, but it was done). The Catholic boy went home to live with his parents and never married again. None of the children of his siblings knew about his ill fated love. The Lutheran girl remarried and had more children, but didn’t talk about her first husband again. Our family comes from the son born of that ruined match. So many things would have been different if they’d been allowed to stay married and live their lives in Kansas. Three generations would have been completely different.
Even today, there are stories that haven’t been revealed. They are the stories of my children’s birthparents. I have aluded to the kids some of their backgrounds, but they are young and the stories are so tragic. From children having children, rape, prostitution, drug abuse, armed robbery and serial murders, I have a lot of junk to tell my kids when they are adults. I will tell them, though. I don’t know that keeping skeletons in the closet helps anyone in the long run.