I have been sharing stories this summer about my very unique grandmother, my Pooh Pooh. If you haven’t already figured it out, she is quite a character. And if I haven’t conveyed it well through the stories, she is a very pessimistic, troubled woman. And I love her.
Pooh Pooh is, indeed, the type of person who seems to thrive when others are down… even kicking them there herself, if the need be. She came from a poor family. And although I know there was love in the house, I do question whether or not my great-grandparents may have been so overwhelmed at having twins during the depression that they expressed disappointment in their girls, maybe even regret. My Aunt Geneva, Pooh Pooh’s twin, is a very happy person, the polar opposite of her sister. But, to accept Pooh Pooh’s accounts, Geneva was loved and she was not. I do not want to believe that it could be true… but it would, indeed, begin to explain why my grandmother is so sour.
My Pooh Pooh tells a story to illustrate just how much her mother loved her twin… all the while despising her. I retell this story with a full disclaimer that none of it can be proven. I don’t think anyone has ever been brave enough to ask Aunt Ginny if any of it is true.
* * * *
When the twins were young and in school, their teacher asked all her students to go home and ask their parents what happened on July 4th. Both twins went home and followed their teacher’s orders, each with a very different result.
Geneva ran into the kitchen where her mother was busy cooking supper for their family of six.
“Mama, what important thing happened on July 4th?”
“That’s Independence Day, baby. The day our country was born.”
Pooh Pooh ran in shortly after with the same question. “Mama, what happened on the 4th of July?”
“That’s the day they found little Mary Ficken’s body. She’d been murdered. Now run on, I’m busy.”
The next day, the twins returned to school. Neither one had discussed their assignment with the other. When the teacher asked the class what they had found out about July 4th, everyone raised their hands. Pooh Pooh was excited that she knew the answer, and even more excited that the teacher called on her. She proudly stood by her desk and said “July 4th is the day they found little Mary Ficken’s body.”
The whole class laughed at this response. Apparently the teacher did too. The whole class raised their hands once more to give the proper answer. This time the teacher called on Aunt Ginny. Much to Pooh Pooh’s chagrin, she stood and answered proudly “The day our country was born.”
It the story is true, I can completely understand my Pooh Pooh’s personality… if it’s not, then she is clearly insane. God bless her.