Everything’s Relative

Everything’s Relative

The lighter side of family history.

Me and Miss Jones

My parents met in Washington, DC, during World War II. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, while he came from the town of Peach Creek in the middle of the southern West Virginia coal fields.

After a whirlwind romance, they were married, and Dad took Mom back to West Virginia to meet his family. My grandmother hosted a get-together at her home, a small company-owned house less than a stone’s throw from the railroad tracks.

In the midst of the festivities, one of my uncles excused himself, saying, “I’ve got to go see Miss Jones,” put his coat on, and left. Some time later, he returned, hung up his coat and rejoined the party with no comment either to or by him about his absence.

My mother was puzzled. She became even more puzzled when the scenario played out again as another relative rose, stated matter-of-factly, “I’ve got to go see Miss Jones,” and left, only to return moments later practically unnoticed.

Curious but cautious, my mother waited until she could get my father alone in the kitchen.

“Who is this Miss Jones? And why do your brothers have to go see her?” she asked.

My father began to laugh so hard he couldn’t speak. He did manage to lead Mom over to the window and point across the yard to the small wooden structure by the fence.

There was “Miss Jones,” the family’s outdoor toilet!

DON KENDALL

St. Augustine, Fla.

E-mail Addiction

Have you ever tried to plan a family reunion when the planning committee members live thousands of miles apart? My cousins and I had approximately a year to organize a three-day reunion for 150 relatives, and we could only get together as a group once during that time. Our secret weapon? E-mail!

We kept the information highway busy sending ideas, lists and notes back and forth. In the months preceding the reunion, I would receive maybe five or six messages a week. But as the event grew closer, the messages came faster and faster until it was more like five or six a day. It was a frenzy of number crunching, food arrangements and T-shirt orders. I couldn’t let more than a few hours go by without booting up the computer.

I checked my e-mail for the last time the morning of the first day of the reunion — no messages. I was bereft. Somehow 1 had come to enjoy the frantic pace on the keyboard. And I felt rather anxious about severing the connection that had tied me so easily to the others all year long.

Well, our reunion was a great success. My cousins and I couldn’t have been happier. In the days that followed, though, we were all e-mailed out — not one e-mail for a whole week.

Slowly we started up again with a couple of lines. We may never again reach the crazy state before the reunion, but we’ll always be grateful to the technology that made it happen.

LEAH BOULET

St-Georges, Manitoba

BROOCHING THE SUBJECT

In June 1999 my mother and I returned to Arkansas for a family reunion. While there we looked up my Aunt Ruby (my father’s oldest sister), whom we had not seen for 20 years.

While reminiscing and viewing old photos, I took out my scrapbook to show my Aunt Ruby. I had recently compiled all my old family photos and mementos to bring to the family reunion.

One of the first photos in the scrapbook, and one of my favorites, is one of my grandmother (Aunt Ruby’s mother) holding me in 1963 when I was one year old. In the photo my grandmother is dressed in a black dress with a beautiful multi-colored rhinestone brooch given to her by my parents for Christmas that year.

After we finished looking at the scrapbook, Aunt Ruby said to me, “I think I have something you might like to have.” With that she went to her bedroom and returned with the rhinestone brooch! I was shocked, to say the least.

My Aunt Ruby is 83 years young and my only living aunt. I will always treasure getting to know her again and the beautiful piece of my family history she’s given to me. (And, Aunt Ruby, if they publish my story, you’ll get the first copy!)

ELIZABETH CUNNINGHAM ARNDT

Springboro, Ohio

What a Doll!

So who were Tutti and Jazzie and how were they related to Barbie? Was it Stacy or Stacie who was Barbie’s “littlest sister”? And was Dixie her cousin, her pal from down South or her horse?

We’re talking about the Barbie doll, of course, and the answers to these burning questions can be found on the Barbie Family Tree page, part of Mattel’s official site for fans of the ageless, ever-popular doll <www.barbie.com/collectors/guides/ tree.html>. All of Barbie’s relatives, friends and even pets are here, complete with dates. (The pets far outnumber the relatives and friends — maybe Barbie needs to stick with that veterinarian career.)

Barbie turns out to come from a family of six children. All of her siblings are younger, some of them described as “tiny”: Skipper, twins Tutti and Todd, Stacie and Kelly. Her cousins are Jazzie and Francie (her “MODern” cousin, who departed earthly toy store shelves in 1976 at the tender age of 10).

Stacy was Barbie’s “British chum,” and Dixie was her “baby palomino.”

And yes, Ken is on the page, too, though no genealogical info is given other than his 1961 “birthdate.” Maybe if he and Barbie ever tie the knot we’ll learn more.

The world’s most popular doll’s full name, by the way, is Barbie Millicent Roberts (born 1959). She hails from Willows, Wise, where she went to Willows High School.
 
From the June 2000 issue of Family Tree Magazine

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