My extended family was huge without ever associating with my father’s side of the family.  Mama (grandmother)  had nine brothers.  For some reason when I get to Papa, I have to stop and count, because I always miss one.  Papa had six brothers and three sisters.  Big families were the norm in their generation.  That’s just the number that survived into adulthood.  When they were kids, all those diseases were running around that some folks want to tell you not to vaccinate your children for; otherwise Mama would have had four more reach adulthood, and Papa would have had one more.  All of their siblings had children and some  had grand children.  We had a small tribe of relatives really.  And at family reunions, which were held yearly, there were enough of us to take up most of a small city park.

Papa’s mother had two sets of twins.  The first set was girls. One of then died at around age ten, so I only knew Gert.  The second set was boys, but I only knew Pat.  Because Pat’s twin, Red, was killed when the Franklin was hit during the Pacific campaign of World War 2.  It was one of those ironies, that all of the brothers who were in the army and the marines came home, but not the one that went navy.

My great-grandmother was not too hot at picking names.

Pat and Red were named, according to the 1905 census report, Omer Dell and Homer L.  And I no longer remember which was which, but as soon as they got to be adults, they changed their names to something they liked better.

It was Pat who got me out of a tree when I was 16.  Papa had taken me shopping and on the way home, we stopped off at Pat’s for a visit.  Pat’s backyard was thick with pear trees.  So rather than sit inside and become more than a little bored by Papa and Pat talking, I went out back and nosed about through those trees to see if there were any pears left.

It was late in the season, so the few pears left were in hard to reach places.  I spied one that looked promising and put two apple crates under it, and climbed up.  I was wearing a dress, which led to much embarrassment.  I got into the tree just fine.  Then I over extended reaching for a pear, lost my balance and fell.

However, I was not fortunate enough to hit the ground.  No, I managed to somehow catch the knee of my bad leg in the crotch of the tree and hung upside down until my shouts managed to bring Papa and Pat out.  Pat lifted me up and Papa got my knee loose, but hanging there for several minutes with my panties showing and my skirt around my face, was very embarassing.

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