I suppose I should talk about my dad's family before moving along.
I never met my paternal grandfather. He died when I was 6 months old, but I understand he was a very nice man from Denmark, a former ships captain. I think he died before his time because his wife - my paternal grandmother - was a rigid, bitter control freak. She was from Arkansas. And when I say "Arkansas" I mean deep in the Ozarks, high in the mountains, shitting in a bucket and drinking moonshine while pappy plays the banjo. She was the poorest and trashiest of poor white trash. Her daddy was a preacher man who savagely beat his wife and children. I don't remember her at all. I think I blocked her out because trips to visit her house on the weekends were...well, lets put it this way: the first time I saw "Monster A Go Go" on MST3k, the closing sketch gave me a panic attack because it was a precise and frighteningly accurate description of my paternal grandmother's home:
[Joel realizes how depressing the movie was and is trying to cheer up the 'bots when Servo begins to cry.]
Joel: Hey, w-what's wrong?
Servo: Joel, it's this movie. It was really depressing! It was like being a little kid and eating dinner at your Aunt Ruth's apartment in the summer, and it's hot in there and she's got a local Christian radio station on, and there's nothing to do or look at 'cause all she's got in the apartment are Good Housekeeping magazines and linen doilies!
Crow: Yeah! And then they send you out to play with the strange neighbor kids and they're all big and their skin is pink and they have big pores and a big eighth grader makes you look at really upsetting pictures, so you go back inside and you sit down and they're all just talking with these big pauses in their conversations and you can hear the clock ticking on the wall!
Servo: Yeah! Yeah, and so you dig into your seat cushion and you find a really old peanut, and you're so bored you eat it! And then you just feel bad and a little sick, and then you think you're about to go! But-but then Aunt Ruth takes out a photo album filled with black-and-white photos of kids with squinty eyes and they're supposed to be your uncles and aunts or something, and then your parents force you to look at them!
My dad also had a brother, who died before I met him. Apparently, he was gay and had committed suicide at a young age. I have no idea if his sexual orientation had anything to do with his decision to end his life, but it wouldn't surprise me. She also gleefully reported to my mother that, when my father came back from Vietnam, he had received some love letters from a fellow soldier with whom he had apparently had a brief sexual liaison. Is it true? Who knows? Who cares? I don't really care if my dad was a closet gay. I DO care, however, that my grandmother was sadistic enough to tell my mother about it.
I had two aunts. Donna was the rotund blonde, who once ate live garden snails off of the ground as a small child. because she'd heard about escargot and didn't think there was a difference. She seemed nice enough, if a trifle unhappy and prone to depression.
My other aunt, Frances, was a willowy brunette who took after her mother. She had three kids, all boys. The oldest one was Cary, who wasn't actually her son but her husband's from a previous marriage. Cary was fat and socially awkward. Frances resented his presence and tormented him mercilessly. As a result of this constant abuse, Cary had constant nausea and would be banished to sit in a corner of the kitchen whenever he felt sick, clutching onto a stainless steel soup pot which had been labeled with the words "CARY'S BARF POT" for all to see. Eventually, Cary went to Alaska to live with his mother. I hope he turned out ok.
The other son was Tony, and he was a disgusting little pervert. He was always trying to get me to have sex with him, or touch his dick, or allow him to put his hands in my panties. I always said no. If someone walked in on us when he was attempting a molestation, he would immediately stop what he was doing and turn it back on me, loudly announcing that I was trying to look at/grab his weiner and dismissing me as "gross."
The youngest boy was Jimmy. Still in diapers, Frances and her husband thought it was hilarious to put wine in Jimmy's baby bottle and then watch him stagger around drunk. By the time he was five, he was a full blown alcoholic and would SCREAM until plied with alcohol.
I was glad when dad left and we never had to see any of these maladjusted assholes again. I haven't seen any of them since approximately 1977 and good fucking riddance. I never want to see them again. Christ, I didn't realize how deeply sick they all were until I started typing this.