My family on the Walters side just weren’t very social critters. I only recall one quasi-family reunion in my life and that was for an aunt’s funeral. My dad had four brothers and sisters who in total had four children so there is not much of a clan to start with. Dad was the baby in the family, the others were considerably older than him so most of my aunts and uncles died before I reached thirty.
The family of my mother’s side were for the most part non-existent. I think during my very early years we lived in a double next to her parents for a year or two but that was my exposure to them. I really don’t recall anything about them other than her father was a night watchmen at a meat-packing plant. She had one brother, maybe more, I just don’t know. Mother was a “bridge burner”, she seldom looked back on life. She was almost totally into herself and that left little room for others, especially in her later years.
I have two brothers and one sister by three different fathers. Pretty much the last time I saw my brothers was when my wife and I took a trip to the “south” in 2002. One lives in North Carolina and the other in Florida. Due to life’s circumstances we were just never very close. I was the middle boy of three and in my earlier years and I simply adored by older brother and walked in his shadow whenever he would let me. But then my mother took him and abandoned the rest of the family when I was about ten. He was ripped from my life pretty much on a permanent basis.
Let’s just say my younger brother sowed a lot of wild oats in his childhood and did some things that I had trouble with. He eventually settled down into a stable family life but it seems that both of us just for the most part went our different ways. My sister was a troubled soul from an early age. She was twenty years younger than me so she was more of a niece than a sister. She died at the age of about forty of some sad circumstances. I grieve that she had such a troubled life.
I didn’t get married until I was almost forty and my wife is older than me by several years so we had no children. I have just not had much exposure to “family” and now of course I never will it seems. So my exposure to family has been very muted in my life. That is except for my wife’s clan.
I was almost in shell shock the first trip I made with my new bride to upper Wisconsin. I was told that there would be a get-together to celebrate our marriage but I was totally unprepared for the magnitude of it. I was quickly exposed to perhaps a fifty aunts, uncles, sibling and all the associated families. Over the last thirty years most of the clan, except for the kids, have passed away so that side of the family is also dwindling.
In some ways I kind of wished I grew up with a “Walton’s” family but who ever really did?