Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #554

Heidi, apparently just back from Rehab: “Grandpa, I missed you so.”

Grandpa, apparently in need of such: “And I missed you, too, little… um… I’m sorry. I can’t recall your name. Our family breeds like rabbits on moonshine and there are 47 girls running about who look just like you.”

Heidi: “That’s okay, Grandpa. I’ve grown accustomed to not having an identity after Mother started dressing me like this. But still, I had a few questions for you, if you don’t mind. It’s for a project at school.”

Grandpa: “School? So, they’re letting you go back there, even after what you did during the Festival of the Stuck Pig? That’s wonderful!”

Heidi: “Well, it’s not all that great. I’m not allowed to have caffeinated beverages and I can’t go to the bathroom without an armed chaperon, but they do let me take classes that don’t involve machinery or combustible chemicals. In one of my classes, Rudimentary Composition for People Born in Barns, we have to interview one of our elders and write a report about it.”

Grandpa: “And you picked me? That makes me feel pretty special.”

Heidi: “Well, you don’t toot as much as the other grandpa, so I didn’t have to spend a lot of time on the decision.”

Grandpa: “Oh. I guess that makes sense. I never did understand why my cousin Earl has such noisy guts. You’d think he’d stop eating whatever it is that makes him that way, especially after he blew out the south wall of the-”

Heidi: “Grandpa, that’s not really one of my questions, so you can save that. My first question is where did we come from?”

Grandpa: “Come from?”

Heidi, sighing: “Where did our family live before we lived here?”

Grandpa: “Hell if I know. I would imagine that wherever we come from is a place that didn’t want us anymore.”

Heidi: “Yeah, well, that doesn’t help me out a lot. Anyway, next question. Who is my most famous ancestor?”

Grandpa: “It’s not cousin Earl.”

Heidi: “I think I figured that out on my own. Look, you’re not taking this very seriously. Do you want me to get a bad grade on this report and they hold me back a year?”

Grandpa: “Like you haven’t been to that dance before. Honey, I’m just being honest with you. Our family hasn’t done squat since we crawled out of the sea. We are not the Kennedys. We aren’t even The Simpsons on a bad day. We simply carry on with what we’ve got and we make do. Like me wearing this ugly-ass shawl because I’m cold and I’m too lazy to find something more manly.”

Heidi: “Okay, I see where this is going, which is probably more time in Rehab. Still, I might as well ask the last question. What is the most enduring quality of our family?”

Grandpa: “Oh, that one I can answer. All of us are doomed to have really bad hair, no matter what we do. We will never be attractive in yearbook photos or most-wanted posters. It’s a curse that knows no end.”

Heidi: “So, I really am looking at another round of Rehab.”

Grandpa: “Probably. But look on the bright side. You’ll get to catch up with a lot of your kinfolk that you haven’t seen in a while.”

Heidi: “All of this is just so depressing.”

Grandpa: “Oh, chin up, girl. At least you didn’t have to bunk with Cousin Earl when you were a young un. Life is really challenging when you have to strap yourself to the bed so you don’t get blown out the south wall. Wait, where are you going?”

Heidi: “Any place but here.”


Previously published, slight changes made. A few things I should mention based on comments with the previous post: First, this is not actually a still from a “Heidi” movie, it just smells like one. Second, I’ve never actually read any of the “Heidi” books, though I understand it was a rite of passage and/or excruciating experience for many young lasses. Third, I actually had a request to expound on the backstory of Cousin Earl. I’m not sure this is a wise path to follow, since his backstory has already been well-documented, so to speak. Fourth, I actually sported fake Heidi’s hairdo during a troubling time in elementary school. Please hold your follow-up questions, as I still haven’t fully recovered…


16 replies »

  1. I’ve been told that we’re related to a Col. William B Travis who was at The Alamo… other than that, we’re pretty boring. My mama was born is West Virginia and grew up in Georgia before being relocated to SoCal. I don’t believe there was inbreeding, but there might as well have been 😂😂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m latching onto YOUR comment Angie, because I forgot to mention in mine, besides it was too long as usual; that in Utah in-breeding is a thing (not today, a lot of ‘outsiders’ have watered down the pot so to speak and many LDS have fled to Missouri and are terrifying the old guard back there). One has to be extremely careful with whom one choses to frolic because it’s entirely possibly, in the smaller towns, that one is related and sometimes pretty closely too. I lived for a short time in my father’s home town, and I was related to EVERYONE. Yeah. Dating pool? Closed permanently because I worked in Clinical Genetics and saw what boinking your first cousin (most of the time, I know one really startling exception) did for the children of that union. Not always, but significantly enough that it put me off dating anyone in Southern Utah EVER. I still wouldn’t, if I dated.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Angie: I don’t have much claim to fame, either. I’m related to the late country singer Jim Reeves via my birth mother’s family, but she was adopted so there’s no actual bloodline from me to him. There’s also something about a distant relative who was involved in the capture of Geronimo, but there’s no real pride in that, so I never researched it, nor do I know if it’s actually true…

      Melanie: The worst haircut I ever received was so bad that it was given a name, “The Zoomer”. That name involves a very complicated story which I won’t promise to share, but I’ll try…

      EDIT: Update on comment to Melanie. My response actually belongs with your original comment, further down. (I didn’t want to delete this whole comment and start over.) This is what happens when I try to multi-task…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah! That whole ‘Heidi hair-do’ remark explains a few things. They (in that day, which I shared and so I ‘toot’ forth) called it “Little Lord Fauntleroy’ or something cutesy that the bullies at school didn’t ‘get’, so any young male tot with such a ‘do was tortured and taunted and there usually ensued an episode involving scissors and DIY before such things were really popular. The things we do for acceptance, hmmm? Hope I didn’t raise any ghosts with that remark.

    Now Heidi was one of the few ‘girly’ books that I embraced (oh who am I kidding? I read MOST of them: Nancy Drew, The Secret Garden, The Little Prince and The Little Princess (two different authors entirely), and Trixie Belden, who had gender issues from the get go, but that’s not important and besides my ‘radar’ about which side of that fence was supposed to be chosen bloomed so late, my mother despaired and kept dragging me places where lesbian (I’m not judging nor hatin’) cousins would inevitably hit on me. I still don’t quite understand THAT, save to say in-breeding does a LOT more than just make old men prone to ‘tooting’ (My mother had to be related to Cousin Earl, because her ‘toots’ (far too coy a word) would stun people in the next county. I sadly (and I’m embarrassed, a little bit, to admit) inherited that trait. I can say that the pain caused by the internal combustion is so severe that I don’t give a f*rt in a high wind if people care about it or not. At least I’m eased for a while.

    Genetics. It’s jointly FOR everyone, and should be banned for some. Like Cousin Earl. Tell me did he ever procreate? Now THAT’S a tale to be told!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Looking back, I don’t really remember reading that many children’s books. I’m sure I did, of course, but I don’t recall them. I certainly read Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. (I started reading The Boys after discovering a dusty cache of their books in a back room at my Granny’s house. They were brown hardbacks with no cover photos, although they were illustrated inside. Seems like maybe they were printed in the 40s? Possibly 50s, it’s fuzzy. I didn’t read Heidi but I did read Pippi Longstocking. I never read The Secret Garden. I did read The Little Prince, but that was later, in French class. (Yes, I read it French before English.)

      Oh, wait, others are coming back to me now. I really enjoyed the Happy Hollisters. And the Swiss Family Robinson. I worshipped anything penned by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. (Still do, as I have several on my Kindle.) Maybe I need to sit down and think about this. I’ll get back to you…

      Liked by 1 person

      • AH-HA, you reminded me of several! Pippi was a big favorite of mine, as were the Roald Dahl. But my favorite by far was Stuart Little.
        I guess I was more thinking of those “classic” kids books, i.e. Heidi and Little Women.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Your note reminded me of the time I started to read Heidi to my kids. In my defense, there were very few actual kids books I read as a kid, so my knowledge of these classics were limited and I never saw the movies. So thinking I was being a good mama, I tried to read them all, but… well, either the books were lame or my inner feminist (Barbara is her name) found something troubling.
    Sometime you should meet my kids. Barbara taught them well. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • First, please see my response to Melanie. I thought I hadn’t read many children’s books until I really started to think about it. Life is funny and memories are tricky…

      Second, I would love to meet your kids. But first I’d like to meet you… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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