Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Holding a grudge

The Ohio family members have very, very good memories, especially for slights. Cousin Bernie once skipped a family wedding because he had promised to take his kids on a camping trip, and even though the kids are grown and the bride and groom subsequently broke up, it is still remembered against him.

Another cousin would not attend her brother's wedding because he had not invited her daughter and daughter's husband. She offered to pay for the two of them. The happy groom refused, informing his sister that he had never liked H, the daughter's husband, all that much anyway. So she didn't go. Now she's mad, he's mad, and the new wife is probably wondering what she got herself into.

This cousin and her brother do share a bond: they are united in their resentment of their deceased parents for favoring a third sibling and leaving the family home to him.

For really superior grudge-holding, though, you would have to go to bubbe. She was the grudgemaster in chief. She nursed such a grudge against her husband's little sister that no-one knew the woman even existed until after bubbe died. Apparently the sister had moved to Milwaukee, crawled into the woodwork, and never came out until her nemesis was safely dead.

As a girl in Russia, bubbe had lived out in the country, and all the children apparently played together peacefully. Later, she had attended the local Russian Orthodox school. So she must have been able to tolerate Christians at one time. However, having met a few, she didn't think much of them. She realized, of course, that not all Christians were the scum of the earth enlisted for drink, but why take chances?

Oddly enough, black Christians were exempt from her scorn. That was a lucky break, as the first neighborhood she lived in in the US was largely black.

She also disapproved of my father. Nothing he did could please her. His family were Hungarian Jews, apparently a very bad sort of person to be. She called them--I am not kidding--Honkies.

Mother, on the other hand, was mad as hops at Dad, and stayed that way for the rest of her life. His sins, apart from the divorce, consisted of rushing into another marriage in indecent haste. We, her children, tried to keep her off the topic for fear she would burst a blood vessel just thinking about him.

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