The Boy

1954

 

The boy and I sat under the kitchen table, caged in by four shiny, chrome legs. Loud wails came from the boy. He slapped the toy from my hand and bellowed for mommy. Couldn’t he see her legs? She was right there, the toy now swirling at her feet.

The boy was bigger than me and he cried all the time, but I liked having another kid in the apartment. He was with us for almost eleven months. And then he was gone.

 

After the boy vanished, Daddy told me I was going to be a Big Sister. I wasn’t happy with the news. I didn’t care that a baby was growing in Mommy’s tummy. I didn’t want a little brother or a little sister. I didn't even know what a brother or sister was, anyway. I liked the boy and I wanted the boy who was gone. Even if he cried all the time.

The boy was my cousin, the son of my mother’s brother, Pete. My parents cared for Douglas while his father tended to the boy's ill mother.

 

Mom had ten siblings: seven brothers and three sisters. At the time I was sitting under the table living my first memory, I already had a dozen older cousins on the Fedorchak side--my mother’s side. My dad had two older sisters and three older brothers. On the Kiehart side, I would have one cousin.

More than a dozen additional cousins--first and second cousins--would arrive in the future. As a child, I could not comprehend the number of people that would become my extended family, nor could I imagine how their lives, religion and traditions would influence my life.

Section is from an early draft of Calico Lane.