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Letter from America

Ellen Neumann
Sullivan County,
New York –
19th April 2012.

I write these Letters from America and often I go on and on about my family.  You may have discerned by now that my family is my favorite topic.  As I have stated in past articles, I grew up in a large family in the rural Catskill Mountain area of New York State.  I have told you of the common admiration and respect we share for our ancestors.  I have invited you to peek into our holiday rituals.  You have shared our cherished memories of growing up with loving grandparents on the farm.  We had a Mom who was always there to guide us.  We had a Dad who showed us how to create a grand work ethic which has taken us through life and enabled us to survive in what has become a difficult world.  To hear me chatter about my family one might perceive that we are flawless, peaceful and immaculate.  Oh how wrong you would be!

We are notorious for fighting amongst ourselves, oh yes we are!  We could be attending a picnic, wedding, communion, wake or any other social gathering together.  It would not matter what the affair or occasion might be or who might be present.  Inevitably, one of us will bring up some issue to embarrass a sister or brother.  At best the target of the remark will attempt to laugh it off. There is not a chance they will get off the hook that easily.  Oh hell no!  The architect of the ill humor will continue to jab and mock until the target finally has enough and either leaves or starts arguing back.  The unpleasant incident escalates until others have joined the discussion, generally in a loud and boisterous fashion.  Next comes the choosing of sides.  This can get really ugly!  Everyone remembers the same incident in a zillion different ways so there is no chance of agreement.  This sort of row generally comes to an end when the dinner bell rings.

It has been said by those who know us well that we travel in packs like wolves or lions.  Rarely will you see just one of us at a social event, a grocery store or the car races.  Although we bicker and argue constantly, we seem to prefer the company of our own as opposed to that of others.

We are also infamous for being incapable of keeping secrets amongst ourselves [as a general rule].  News and gossip spread throughout our family like a wildfire.  Secrets can become tornado’s spinning out of control.  Not one of us means for this to happen yet it does.  I personally have been guilty of all the above at one time or another.  When my family members read this, they will deny any wrongdoing on their part.  “How can you say such a thing?  You can’t be talking about me” they will say indignantly.  Uh, yeah I can!

The worst part of our inappropriate behavior is the fact that we have passed these miserable tendencies on to our offspring.  You can find them at any given affair joining into the ruckus we have created.  I know, I know, despicable.  Yup, you are right.  We should be ashamed of ourselves.  We should find a way to “just get along”.  We are adults.  We function in the big old world quite respectfully and civilly on all other levels.

We continue to spend each holiday, birthday, party and other social functions together in spite of the teasing, in spite of the embarrassment and bickering.  Why you must wonder?  Why do I put myself through this scenario over and over again?

You see, we are a family; a real life not-made-for-TV family.  I guess you could call us the original reality show.  We have but one life to live and we are living it together with all the imperfections and scars included.  We know everything there is to know about one another:  good, bad and in-between.  We stick together in spite of this and because of it.  Although one might find it hard to believe at times, we love each other deeply and forever.  We are the children of Alice [Dillon] and Jerry Kreiter.  That fact has a powerful meaning to all of us; the glue that holds us, the tie that binds us as well.

We are their living legacy.  The abiding love we share, crazy and warped as our actions show us occasionally, has survived the test of time and will continue to do so.  Our parents taught us “stick together, no matter what”.  We will.  We do.  We are family.


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Living - Life & Style - Living in USA

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