I used to believe that my family had achieved a certain level of status and gentility: we live in a neighborhood known as “the Gold Coast”, the boys excel at school and sport, FOTI is a member of the golf club, our names may occasionally appear in the local paper, but never in the “Crime and Police Reports” section, we sometimes make the Bobo-list...
My roots, however, are not so genteel. By the time my father's generation grew up, the family was, for the most part, respectably working class. Before that the family history is a little murky and sinister. Borne on scandal through Ellis Island at the turn of the last century, to the fringes of underworld alliance, my near ancestors were not the sort of people you'd be likely to run across at Golf Club Driene.
(the clubhouse at Driene in winter)
Reaching adulthood and starting a family of my own, the past 25 odd or so years, I felt as though I had, both in honor of and despite my shady ancestors, somehow arrived. My family had become respectable, full stop.
The past few weeks and months have relieved me of this delusion.
Joe College is enjoying his freedom from the familial nest. He's joined a music society and a number of social clubs at the University of Leiden. If Facebook is to be believed, he spends his days planning parties and his nights attending them. Of study, lectures, and lab work there is little mention. Charlie Brown (formerly known as Imp 2—explanation follows) has expressed his concern about his brother's party-animal lifestyle. Frankly, I think Charlie Brown feels as though he is missing out on the fun now that the parties have moved across the country. I am worried. So much so that I find myself channeling my mobster auntie and railing at my son that his life is headed “down the effing toilet if he keeps this up.” FOTI tries to calm me down and assures me that Joe will get over it and knuckle down after the first round of exams. I threaten to “kick his ass if he doesn't”. The rot has set in. My language is already deteriorating.
“Fee,fee, fi , fi, fo, fo fum!
I smell smoke in the auditorium”
Charlie Brown, formerly known as Imp 2 is on the path of juvenile delinquency. It is only the second week of October and we've already had the school rector on the line. Charlie Brown has been in trouble at school. Somebody, and we don't know who, but somebody had the brilliant idea to puncture a can of spray deodorant in the locker room after gym class. We know who punctured the spray can: Charlie Brown. We know this because the pantywaist who's deo he punctured TOLD ON HIM!!!! What is the youth of today coming to? In my day, there would have been a bit of a punch-up or a bit of retaliation but nobody would have TOLD THE TEACHER. Anyway, Charlie Brown was sent to the rector's office. He had to apologize to the ratfink and buy him a new can of deo-spray, which was fair. Then he had to write a “confession of the crime” and bring it home for either FOTI or me to sign. Charlie Brown wrote the confession, forged FOTI's signature then went on Twitter to tell all his friends. Neither FOTI nor I Twitter, so we missed it. The forged signature was far too easy to spot with the naked eye and Charlie Brown was caught big time. I should probably take small comfort in the fact that Charlie Brown has not inherited the forgery gene from my side of the family, but it is small comfort indeed. The rector called yesterday afternoon and as luck would have it, FOTI answered and Charlie Brown's wings are clipped but good for the time being.
Which brings us to yet another incident marking my family's fall from grace.
FOTI was able to answer the phone yesterday afternoon because he has been at home, on non-active status since July. My beloved finds himself caught in the middle of a corporate lawsuit, the details of which I cannot share with you because the case is pending. I can tell you that the bailiff came to our house twice this week.
The first time I was standing in the kitchen and I saw him coming up the driveway. All I needed to see was the dark suit and the envelope in his hands and the old DNA kicked in. I morphed into a mob-wife. Still wearing my adorable apron with the chicken motif, I went out the back door. Accompanied by Mack, the bullmastiff, I stood in the driveway with my arms crossed and tried to look as tough as I could without the benefit of a Chanel suit and killer boots.
“Is Mr. V. at home?”
“Who wants to know?”
At this point in time I wasn't aware that this was just a subpoena and I was about to tell the bailiff that my husband had just “gone out of the country on business” if I didn't like his answer. As it was only a subpoena, I left the poor man, he was a little jittery, I must confess, in the driveway, under the baleful but intimidating watch of Mack and got FOTI to come and accept his own subpoena.
Listen to me, “Just a subpoena”. My God, this fall from grace is a rapid and slippery slope.
Yesterday the bailiff came again to deliver papers regarding the case and he was greeted by Mack like an old friend. I'm glad the neighbor across the street is away on holidays and the others can't see our front door.
My life is going down the effing toilet.
(images from Google)