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4 kittens

Intrigue, IV drips

Posted on 2015.01.03 at 10:52
At times, I think "ain't life grand?" and look around our life, our family, our friends, our town* in awe.  Other times, I am certain that we've risen to the level of our incompetence. That the rest of eternity will be a tiring scramble to remember excessively many details and commitments. Exceeding our capacity by about 20%, if I had to put a number on it.

*This town. It has a beautiful river and large university and nice features, but it is also still a small town. The most organized political group seems to be the one fighting hard to remove fluoride from the water. I'm not kidding. My 2015 New Year's resolution should be to document the Fluoride Fighters here in this blog.


The other night when I went to bed, I found this:

January 3, 2015 (9)

That is Hokey Pokey, in our bed, curled up in baby Rascal's little co-sleeper nest. I died a little with mushiness.


I usually write these entries in stages, with revisions, and photos being added last. I interrupt all that because fuck, my ear hurts. I don't have a cold, I haven't had a change in altitude, and yet my ear won't pop and hurts like a bitch. This happened in Colorado, but I attributed it to the altitude. This happened yesterday, but my ear popped on its own. What on fucking earth.


Some essentials:
We flew back from Denver on Christmas day.  Technically the rental house had been in Frisco. There was a blizzard for a few days, there was a pukey norovirus that ravaged the house, and Hokey Pokey burnt his hand rather badly on the glass of the gas fireplace. The burn was maybe the size of a shot glass.

None of the parents caught the pukey. Pokey and Ace both did, and a lot of the ancillary adults who might have helped entertain the children also were pukey. It just wasn't as relaxing a vacation as it might have been.

January 3, 2015 (8)

Hawaii put on skis, and Jammies took her to a bunny hill with her cousin, and she cautiously skiied down.

Sometimes Frisco looked like this, mid-blizzard:

January 3, 2015 (3) January 3, 2015 (2)

and other times like this, crystal-clear:

January 3, 2015 (5) January 3, 2015 (4)

We got home past midnight. My family arrived the next day, Friday, and left on New Year's Eve. That is why I failed to post here last weekend - I felt rude carving out the time when my family is visiting. I missed you, internet.


Heebietown looks like this:

January 3, 2015 (6)

I took this photo because of all the tiny birds, pointing in the same direction, but birds that are tiny in real life become incredibly miniscule tiny birds in a photograph. It was supposed to capture the beauty of winter or something.


Ace says things like "Ah wa mo bok KEY! Ah wa mo bok KEY NOW!" If you concentrate, the sounds crystallize into focus, and you realize that she's saying "I want more broccoli! I want more broccoli NOW!" (It helps to know she is wolfing down the entire platter of broccoli, for context.) Her verbal skills have rocketed in the last month.

Ace finds something about this photo terrifying:

January 3, 2015 (1)

Specifically at dusk, when things are getting dark, and this is what she sees from her carseat, from the driveway. She trembles and clutches me tightly. Although her verbal skills are rocketing, I have no idea what she's seeing that spooks her.

Poor Big Kitty went paralyzed again, last Saturday. He howled in pain. I took him to the vet. (The vet tech wrote down that he was hollowing in pain, but I refrained from correcting him.)

It turned out that he was very arthritic and very constipated, which I expected. They wanted to give him a steroid shot and an enema, and keep him there for a day or so.

January 3, 2015 (7)

Then some bloodwork showed that his kidneys are failing, which is what Little Kitty died of.  So we are beginning the end. He spent the week pulling out his IV drip at the vet. Now we will do subcutaneous fluids at home.

With Little Kitty, the IV fluids process was not bad. He liked to cuddle, he seemed to feel temporarily better, and he died within a month anyway. Big Kitty does not like to be confined in a lap so much. I do not want Big Kitty to die within a month, either.


On Tuesday, with all the family gathered, we decided it was time to call Eli. (We are back in the saga of M. Aaron.)

I know I posted a photo of M. Aaron here with his birth name printed on it, but I'm hesitant to use that name in the narrative because my family is combing the internet for any trace of this person. For the sake of narrative ease, let's say that M. Aaron Geebie was originally born M. Yaron Geebwitz. (Being my mother's father, he and I don't actually share a last name, but it simplifies things.)

Eli, we believed, would be my mom's first cousin. We were fairly sure that we'd located Yaron's older sister (now deceased), and that this Eli fellow was her son.

We got ahold of his home number, and agonized over the script of what should be said on the answering machine - how do you convince a stranger to call you back? We squabbled over how certain of our kinship we should sound. We made sure that the script emphasized the names of his mother and grandparents.

My mom left a message on his home phone explaining that M. Yaron Geebwitz was her father, Rosie was his sister, and Moses and Anne were her grandparents. We all sat back and twiddled our thumbs.

About ten minutes later, the phone rang. My mom put it on speaker phone and we all held our breath.  My mom answered and introduced herself.

The voice on the other end said, "This is Eli! Of course I know who you are! Your father was M. Aaron Geebie! We loved him."

Did you catch that Eli used M. Aaron's new name, and not his old? Mom's message had referred to him as M. Yaron, and Eli had switched automatically to M. Aaron.  We stared, slack-jawed, at the phone and the implications.

Eli explained that M. Aaron had visited his parents back in New York every six to eight months, for Eli's entire life. He knew Uncle Aaron very well. They adored him, and he reciprocated. M. Aaron attended Eli's wedding, a few years after Moses and Anne had died, and met Eli's children born after that.

The secrecy was entirely one-sided. Eli had grown up seeing pictures of my mom and her brothers, hearing all about them, knowing about M. Aaron's double identity, and everything. There was full transparency with his family of origin. Eli knew my mom and my uncle's professions, where they lived, and the general shape of their lives. Moses, Anne, Rosie, and Eli had always wanted to meet M. Aaron's family.

Eli had no idea why M. Aaron would keep the families separate - he said M. Aaron's father was an incredibly loving, warm, guy (which sounds just like M. Aaron). Eli said his M. Aaron's mother was a bit funny, but it's hard to imagine that was enough to cause a double life.

We all found Eli very likable and warm and pleasant. But the pretend-estrangement from Aaron's family of origin is so much more confusing than an actual estrangement.

I feel so sad. It's the first time I've felt any sadness in this whole strange story. These lovely people, so many decades of relationships and celebrating milestones - lost, and for why.

I picture M. Aaron, claiming he was going to a professional conference, heading to New York, hugging his parents, having a long dinner with his family, putting a silly bow on his head and making up stories with Eli as a child. Sharing with them the joys of his own family, but reiterating that they were not allowed to meet his (beloved) children and wife. And then heading back home and telling his family the barest necessary details about his ficticious cold, boring professional conference. It all seems monumentally sad.

I picture Moses and Anne, welcoming their son home, and never being allowed to meet their daughter-in-law or grandchildren. Only seeing photographs and hearing updates.

Eli was generous and warm. He is going to email us photos, visits are to be planned, future friendships are implied.  At one point he said, "I could tell from your message that you thought you'd have to convince me we were related."  He sounded like he'd been expecting this call for decades.  Why were we the ones being hidden?

The working theory is that M. Aaron married the first Bea, and they changed their names together. Then they moved together so that M. Aaron could go to graduate school.  As M. Aaron and the second Bea fell in love, he did not disclose his original identity. (In fact, a lot of the farm life fiction seems to have been taken from the first Bea's hometown and childhood.)

Then he stuck to that decision to hide his past, for fifty years. As the consequences and deception accumulated. As the lost years of relationships piled on. I just don't understand.


panisdead at 2015-01-03 18:29 (UTC) (Link)
What a story. That's really hard to understand.

Ace finds something about this photo terrifying:

If I had to guess, it's the giant white drainpipe snake climbing down off the side of the building.
heebie_geebie at 2015-01-11 01:27 (UTC) (Link)
Now that you say that, yes that seems likely.
(Anonymous) at 2015-01-03 20:46 (UTC) (Link)
The M. Aaron stuff is crazy! It feels like one of those The Prestige-type movie plots that only work because the characters are refusing to tell each other important stuff for no logical reason. But I imagine he had some reason.

My mom tells a story about a family that adopted a daughter and never told her she was adopted, which is deceitful enough. But not only that, the birth father was around constantly, having moved from ze old country to the states, but they told her he was just a really close family friend. Eventually she went on a trip with the birth father to the old country at the age of 23, and passport issues resulted in the whole thing coming out, though he denied it til the last possible moment. What a mess.

heebie_geebie at 2015-01-11 01:32 (UTC) (Link)
He must have had a reason, but for the life of me I cam only imagine that we're still missing major parts of the story.

What a mess is right! (To your story.)
lacachet at 2015-01-03 22:38 (UTC) (Link)
It is strange, but so interesting! I imagine that he just couldn't admit that he had lied about everything, as the years went on--
heebie_geebie at 2015-01-11 01:34 (UTC) (Link)
That's the best theory I've got, too - sunk costs plus pride. Plus certainty that his secret would stay buried. It's so unthinkable that your kids and grandkids would discover all this on their magic internet boxes, decades later.
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