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You Think Your Family is Nuts....Part 1
Setting the Stage
Copyright 2012, Jennifer Tyler
My father was a high school drop out and enlisted in the service. This would be the first of his many mistakes from his perspective. When my father was only 17 he thought he knew what he wanted in life and he was wrong! Sifting through letters my father mailed home to my grandmother proved that the only thing he liked about serving this country was his encounters with Vietnamese women. Heck, he liked them so much I may even have a few siblings in Vietnam. Anyway, being 17 and fighting in the Vietnam War proved too much for my father and his weekly letters went something like this “Dear mom, I hate it here. Can you PLEASE tell them you're sick so they will send me home? Love, Wayne.” “Dear mom, did you write that letter yet? Just tell them you are dying so they will let me come home. Love Wayne.” “Dear mom, what are you waiting for? It's getting worse and I don't know how much I can take. Love, Wayne.” If it wasn't obvious enough from these letters, my father resorted to sending postcards and pictures home in an attempt to get my grandmother to get him sent home.
Of course my grandmother made him stick it out and my father continued to fight until his discharge in 1973. Shortly after he was honorably discharged, he and my mother married. He was 21 and she was 16. Yes, I said 16! They were married in the backyard of my grandmother's house and much to the disapproval of my mother's father, it went without a hitch (so to speak).
My mother, like my father, was also a high school drop out, but did not enlist in the service (and it's a good thing she didn't). She was born into a family of 6 children, who were the byproducts of German and Austrian immigrants in the early 1900's. Since they lived in the Bronx, NY, all of my grandmother's children were trained in martial arts. It is probably fitting to mention that my grandfather was also running a “secret” business underneath his bowling alley and also ran a restaurant. Gee, I wonder why they were all trained in martial arts?!!!!
Then in 1975 I was born and I guess you could say this is when my introduction to Dysfunctional was ever so prevalent. You're probably wondering what exactly constitutes a dysfunctional family and so what, everyone has a family like that. Yes, they do, to some extent but when I introduce you to a few characters in my world you will see what I am talking about.
According to dictionary.com, dysfunctional means “nor operating normal or properly”. Likewise, a dysfunctional family is one in which conflict, misbehavior or abuse is considered a normal occurrence. In addition, dysfunctional families may be affected by addictions, mental illness and other non traditional behaviors (Wikipedia).
Based on the two proceeding definitions, my family should win the award for most dysfunctional family known to exist, or at least come in a close second. In order to understand my family, one must get a complete picture of some of the key characters. To protect their identity, names will be changed, however, stories will remain exactly as experienced. So sit back, relax, and grab a bag of popcorn because you are in for a wild ride.
Here is a brief introduction to a main character in My Family: They Call Me Willie.......