But it got me to wondering just how many people have crazy families? I’m not talking about Addams Family crazy. No, let’s go out further. Let’s go way out there to Manson Family nuts. Got anyone in your family like that?
I do. In fact, there are several branches on my family tree that are full of squirrel food.
I’d like to impress you with the nuttiest branch I can find, then see if you can top me. So I’m going to tell you the story of my sister-in-law, “Reba”, and her children. (All the names have been changed, by the way, so don’t go trying to google their police records.)
Two of Reba’s kids are in prison. That would be my nephews, Lenny and Jay. Lenny’s locked up for molesting children and for selling child porn on the internet. He’s done ten years so far, and we expect he won’t see the light of day for at least another ten.
Jay has also done ten years. But he recently won parole, and will likely be released before the end of the year. He’s doing life for trying to stab a man to death, whom he randomly chose to kill. When Jay gets out, he plans to stay away from his crazy family, and settle in San Francisco. Wise decision, Jay. Glad to know you’re the sanest one of the bunch.
Then there’s my niece, Zena. She’s an intelligent young woman, but a very quiet wallflower. She keeps secrets. We suspect she was molested by Lenny while growing up, but I doubt you could ever drag that secret out of Zena. Her mother, Reba, taught her to be clandestine, and to never discuss family matters, even with family.
She graduated from high school with a full scholarship to a Catholic university. But she only finished one semester. Reba is a practicing Wiccan, and is rabidly anti-Christian, and hates Catholics. She convinced her daughter Zena to drop out and hook up with her high school boyfriend, who was a drug addict at the time.
Soon after getting married, she had a baby and went on welfare. But a few years later she divorced her drug-addict husband. Then she met a man in a bar and had sex with him in the parking lot. Nine months later she had another baby.
The father of her second child is an alcoholic. In fact he’s done several stints in prison from drunk driving convictions. He barely scratches out a livelihood, living in a ramshackle hut with no running water, out in the middle of the desert. He can’t pay child support, but still has joint custody. Zena won’t fight him on the child support or joint custody, because he knows a secret about her. I’ll get to that in a minute.
Zena recently had a boyfriend, but they broke up a few months ago. Zena is very heavy, but we doubt that’s the reason for the breakup. In a careless moment, she dared to allow her boyfriend inside her house. That’s when he called it quits on her. The inside of her house is her secret that the father of her second child holds over her.
Zena has lived with her mother, Reba, for the past eight years, where she’s raised her children, who are now 10 and 7. And Reba is a hoarder. Her house is filled from floor to ceiling with boxes of junk. And her car is so full of junk, she can’t drive it. And she rents four storage units, all piled full with junk. Reba is very sick in the head.
The house is a hazard to live in. It’s a mold hazard, fire hazard, and avalanche hazard, because of all the hoarded junk. If Child Protective Services discovered that Zena’s two children lived in these conditions, they would probably charge both her and her mother with child endangerment, and take her kids away from her. Their dysfunctional fathers would win full custody.
Shortly after Zena broke up with her last boyfriend, she discovered she was pregnant. Now she’s plotting child support revenge on him. But as my wife and I watch this drama unfold, we suspect Zena has met her Waterloo. The boyfriend knows about the packrat conditions she’s raising her children in. And unlike her previous paramours, he’s a decent man, with a decent income.
We doubt he’ll allow his child to be raised in a deathtrap house. One call to CPS, and Zena will lose all of her kids. He’ll gain custody of the one currently in her belly, and she’ll be the one footing the child support bill. And not just for one child, but for three.
It’s all coming to a head.
Meanwhile Zena, in her quiet, wallflowery way, has been hinting about committing suicide.
That’s my lunatic family story. Can you top it?