F is for Family

I was 51 when I had my daughter, only a year younger than my father was when he had his first GRANDCHILD. So who IS this old man with this little kid?

Rose wrote, in response to my post P is for (Helicopter) Parenting, that it was the first time I had written about family. This surprised me, initially, because I’ve gone on about my daughter every month on the 26th of the month, without fail. In fact, it was one of the two purported reasons I STARTED this blog back in 2005, the other being to tell the JEOPARDY! story.

I’ve written about my wife at least twice a year, on our anniversary and her birthday. My late parents I’ve discussed on the anniversaries of their births and deaths, and my sisters on their respective birthdays.

It’s true, though, that I’ve seldom written about them for ABC Wednesday. Here, then, a summary.

My parents both grew up in Binghamton, New York, a small city near the Pennsylvania border. They were both only children, so I have no direct aunts, uncles, or first cousins. Anyone I have called cousins are either my parents’ cousins, or their children. So we have a very small tribe.

My parents met cute, with my father delivering flowers to 13 Maple Street when they were intended for 13 Maple Avenue in Binghamton. Though Trudy initially thought Les was a bit full of himself – probably accurately, from what I’ve been told by others – they ended up getting married on March 12, 1950.

My mother had a miscarriage in April 1951. I always thought that was why my father was a little…distant…when I was born five days shy of their third anniversary. I was named for no one; my father just liked that my initials, ROG spelled out a shortened version of my name.

I found it interesting that when my sister came along in July of 1954, my father named HER for him, Leslie. (This caused me all sorts of complications. People knew my family had a child named Leslie and assumed that it was MY name, and some guys in church called me Little Les, which WAS NOT MY NAME, and to which I refused to respond.) It was also confusing when we’d get phone calls; my father was Les, and my sister became Leslie Ellen.

My sister Marcia was born in May 1958. We all went to school at Daniel Dickinson, staying at my maternal grandma’s house at lunch.

My parents and Marcia moved to Charlotte, NC in 1974. Leslie and I kidnapped my grandmother and brought her to Charlotte by train in January of the next year. She used coal for heat in Binghamton, and going up and down those rickety cellar steps in her mid-70s was not an option. She died in Charlotte on Super Bowl Sunday, 1983, but is buried in Binghamton, less than two blocks from her former home.

My father died of prostate cancer on August 10, 2000, less than 18 months after he arranged the flowers for my marriage to Carol Powell. I’ve long been sad that he never got to meet my daughter Lydia, who was born about three and a half years later.

Once I figured out how to put pictures into Blogger – I READ THE MANUAL and still couldn’t figure it out – I used to put pictures of the Daughter all the time. At some point in the past two years, though, my wife expressed concern about my daughter’s pictures appearing in this blog. It’s for that reason, not my own, that I’ve limited the number of her photographic appearances here.

Frankly, I don’t agree. I thought by having her picture out here it would make her well enough recognizable that she would be LESS likely to…well, whatever scenario the Wife was envisioning.

At the same time, I also thought it was better for ME – some public photographic proof, or at least indication, that she was my daughter, in case the cops ever stopped us. MY paranoia is a function of the fact that I was 51 when I had her, only a year younger than my father was when he had his first GRANDCHILD. So who IS this old man with this little kid?

I remember the utility worker who first asked if she were my granddaughter. I used to be miffed, but now accept the reality.

My mom died, reasonably suddenly, in February 2011. I got an outpouring of caring, from Jaquandor, Arthur, plus many in the ABC Wednesday community. Oddly, it wasn’t a post about my mother’s passing, but a post about going down to visit my mom after her stroke that triggered the comments, which, even as I write this, make me teary-eyed, not just with missing my mom, but of all the support I received at the time.

So there you be: my family. Well, except for my two nieces, Rebecca, Leslie’s daughter, and Alexandria, Marcia’s daughter. Oh, my mom’s three granddaughters are each separated by about a dozen years – Becky, Alex, and Lydia, in that order. Glad Lydia got to meet my mom, and vice versa.

ABC Wednesday – Round 12

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