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31 May 2004

I have but two aunties, and they are each about one thousand years old. One lives in Southport, and the other lives... hmmm... in London, Ontario. When I was growing up, by the time we moved to the States, my nearest relatives outside my house were in Canada -- my Uncle T, who comes from Poland and skied away from the nazis, my Auntie B who is my father's sister and lives on cigarettes and novels, and their second son, my cousin C, to whom I was terribly close to my way of thinking, anyway. C is around a year older than I, and has two children: one of each variety. He has a famously difficult wife from Sweden. [The first son, J, got a fatal combination of childhood diseases and died in England when he was 6 or so.] My other auntie, Auntie A, is the widow of my father's bro, who died of leukemia on Xmas eve in about 1979 or 80. I wrote to him a lot while he was becoming more and more ill, and we spoke on the telephone shortly before he died. He was an artist, and also a writer of children's stories for things like the B.O.P. Their children, a set of fraternal twins and a younger daughter, are older than I. Little A lives in Alberta, Canada and is a retired nurse. C lives in Ontario, Canada and has two grown children. J lives in Hemel Hempstead and has... um... two? children... no, I think it's three. Two effs and an em, as it were. She taught school in Bermuda for a few years, and said she left when she did because to stay longer would've meant staying forever. She told about an incident in her classroom [don't remember where] once of a father frantically trying to find out if his son was all right, because, as it turned out, he had driven the car over the son's head. lol I've always believed my family is cursed, so I have no children. Neither of my sisters has children. My brother S, who, as he told me once, is closer to me than to any other human being, has come to rest in Melbourne, Australia, and has two ems and an eff (Anji). My sister-in-law is a Kiwi, as are at least two and probably all their offspring, but the younger generation is Aussie. I have another half-brother but I've never met him: my father's son. In fact, I've not met the greater portion of those related to me, and even the ones I do know I might not've seen for a decade or more. My brother S left and went to live with my [rich and powerful] grandmother and her husband in Hong Kong, when I was 9 or 10, and I didn't see him again for 16 years. My father used to say it was understood that the Kendall women are all mad: the definition of that being that they married foreigners. There was a great auntie of my name who ran off with her riding master, I've been told -- another instance of Kendall woman madness. My Auntie B said there was a photograph of her standing beside a gate, but I've never seen it. I do know that if my mother had known there was another "Vivian" in the family I'd have a different name. Likely it was spelled a more conventional way, however, as my mother received heat for the spelling of my name. I've lived in many places, and when I'm thinking about the year something-or-other happened in my childhood I remember first what house I was in. I wonder how other people remember things? Of course, with greater continuity and less fragmentation and repetition (best friend 1, best friend 2, best friend 3, etc.), remembering might be easier. This is all rather depressing.

posted by - 4:04 PM


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