This file includes Family, Cousins, In-laws, Aunts and Uncles, Nieces and Nephews, - plus an idea of what to do about those 'Skeletons in Your Closet'. Also see Family Reunions.
Like branches on a tree,
We may grow in different directions,
yet our roots remain as one.
Each of our lives will always be
a special part of the other.
(You can substitute 'uncle' for 'aunt' in most of these quotes.)
Can give hugs
Like a mother . . .
Can keep secrets
Like a sister . . .
And share love
Like a friend . . .
U nderstanding and
An Uncle is a blessing
It means so many things
Words could never tell
The joy an Uncle brings
An Uncle is a bond of faith
That even time can't sever
A gift to last all of our lives
An Uncle is forever
(Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer)
I have an uncle I don't like,
An aunt I cannot bear:
She chucks me underneath the chin,
He ruffles up my hair.
Another uncle I adore,
Another aunty, too:
She shakes me kindly by the hand,
He says, "How do you do?"
Nieces and nephews are nice!
There's nothing that's nicer
than having a niece
Who's always a pleasure to see;
Who brings so much sunshine
to all those around her
Wherever she happens to be;
Who means more than ever
as each day goes by,
Who's loved all year through;
There's nothing that's nicer
than having a niece
As dear and as special as you!
(Edwina Peterson Cross)
Folding the laundry is the dullest chore
In the world
And yet, as I stand here bored
My hands moving automatically
I smile . . .
When I think how many, many times
These tiny socks have been folded.
My sister's hands
Far away from my mountains full of snow
In the green by the sea
And the baby who first wore these little overalls
Is almost six feet tall.
I cried when I folded away the tiniest baby dresses
For the last time
Tears on the pink and the lace
But, the emptiness inside was gradually replaced
With a warm, deep glow
for they go now to you
Tiny new pink niece.
And soon another sister's hands
Will fold these tiny sox,
These little overalls,
In her rolling green hills.
Across the country boxes go
Full of tiny socks,
Whose material is strong and lasts
Like our love.
Many people have wonderful in-laws and I have included poems for them. But there are plenty of other people who have problems with in-laws and humor is one way of dealing with the resulting stress.
(Helene Lewis Coffer)
We love it when the kids arrive
And bring our quiet house alive.
It has a special ambiance
With sons-in-law in residence.
They're tall and husky,
And, bless their hearts!
They like my cooking.
I cannot lift
A grocery sack;
They fear that this
Might strain my back.
They look for chores,
They're strong and able,
They bow their heads
For grace at table;
Inspect the fruit trees
And trim the boughs
I couldn't reach.
They seek out Dad
For manly talk
And join us in
Our morning walk.
We had no son
But we can praise
The sons we didn't
Get to raise,
The folks who did,
With love and caring-
And daughters, for
Finding them, and sharing.
Lovingly God gave us
Children of our own
Wanting us to raise them
Till they were on their own
Somehow with our children grown
and walking out the door
Little did we realize what more God had in store.
For one day our son found you
and you became his wife
Pledging your devotion
As you started wedded life.
God had also chosen you
Quite certain that you'd be
Another member we would have
Inside our family.
Granted some have daughter-in-laws
But this is not our view
For to us you are a daughter
And we thank God for you.
(this was mostly written by "Scamper")
Always there for me
Beautiful, inside and out
Creative, Cooks delicious food
his 'Dear' mother, delightful
Homemaker, helper, honest
doesn't "Intrude" (and we're next door neighbors)
Joyful of spirit
Keeps the family together
Loves us unconditionally
No one like her
Open and honest
Prays for us
Quite a person
Respects our privacy
Teaches me skills that I did not know
Value's her family
Welcomed me into her family
Young at heart
Zest for life
How blessed we are,
How fortunate we've been.
That you are his Mother,
And also MY friend!
(for grooms mother)
You are the Mother I received
the day I wed your son.
And I just want to thank you, Mom
for the things that you have done.
You have given me a gracious man
with whom I share my life.
You are his loving mother and
I his lucky wife.
You used to pat his little head,
and now I hold his hand.
You raised in love a little boy
then gave to me a man.
(for bride's mother)
You are the mother I received
the day I wed my wife
And I just want to thank you, mom
for bringing her to life.
You raised and loved your little one
with guiding hands and praise.
She's now the joy of my life
in many cherished ways.
You have given me a special friend
with whom I share my life.
I know you were as proud as I
the day she became my wife.
"Mother-in-law" they say, and yet,
Somehow I simply can't forget
'Twas you who watched his baby ways,
Who taught him his first hymn of praise,
Who smiled on him with loving pride,
When he first toddled by your side.
"Mother-in-law" but oh, 'twas you
Who taught him to be kind and true;
When he was tired, almost asleep,
'Twas to your arms he used to creep.
And when he bruised his tiny knee,
'Twas you who kissed it tenderly.
"Mother-in-law" they say,and yet,
Somehow I never shall forget
How much I owe
To you, who taught him how to grow.
You trained your son to look above;
You made of him the man I love.
And so I think of that today
When with thankful heart I'll say,
(Maxine Derringer - alternate version of the above poem for those not so fortunate)
"Mother-in-law," they say, and yet,
Somehow I simply can't forget
'Twas you who followed him around
To grab whatever hit the ground.
And in your hand, to make it super,
A real gold-plated pooper-scooper!
Let him demand a separate menu.
Perhaps if he had been a daughter,
You might have taught him to boil water.
His little socks and underwear
You let him throw just anywhere.
'Twas you who taught him how to say,
"What can the world do for me today?"
And so, today, beside me stands
The man that I took off your hands.
You raised him with such cunning knack,
I think I'll let you have him back.
(The author of this list prefers to remain anonymous!)
A is for all the ways you annoy me
B is for butting into our business when you shouldn't
C is for coming to visit and driving me crazy
D is for the diet coke that you condemn me for drinking
E is for exasperatingly meticulous, which you are
F is for the father my husband lost at an early age whose photos you won't document . . . aargh!
G is for grapes . . . and wine . . . of which you are an expert and that makes me look like an idiot
H is for the housework that I stay up until 3am doing before you get to my imperfect little house
I is for the ideal I don't live up to
J is for the Jewish American Princess your son DIDN'T marry
K is for the kids that your son and I are well aware we have none of at this point
L is for logic of which you display very little
M is for the mother of the groom dress you bought before my mom picked out her dress
N is for Neiman Marcus, your favorite store
O is for the opinion you have on EVERYTHING!
P is for your preoccupation with perfection
Q is for the quality you always insist upon
R is for rigid which you are once plans have been made
S is for self-conscious, which is what you make me
T is for the television shows I like that you look down on
U is for the ugly wallpaper in your kitchen
V is for your very, very, clean house
W is for your wardrobe, which is always just exactly perfect for every occasion
X is for your extraordinarily bad sense of direction
Y is for Why can't you just relax?
and Z is for the zillion other things about you that make me nervous, self-conscious, and generally not-too-happy to be around you . . .
A woman was leaving a 7-11 with her morning coffee when she noticed a most unusual funeral procession approaching the nearby cemetery.
A long black hearse was followed by a solitary woman walking a pit bull on a leash. Behind her were 200 women walking single file.
The woman couldn't stand the curiosity. She respectfully approached the woman walking the dog and said "I am so sorry for your loss and I know now is a bad time to disturb you, but I've never seen a funeral like this. Whose funeral is it?"
The woman replied, "My dog attacked my mother-in-law and killed her."
A poignant and thoughtful moment of silence passes between the two women.
"Could I borrow that dog?
"Sure, but you'll have to get in line."
We're from the same shoot,
the same family tree,
Into this world we sprouted
call it destiny!
It's cousin to cousin
a special thing
A closeness to which we're tied,
And you've always been there
to laugh with me
Or even when I've cried.
Anyway I think it's fantastic
that you were meant to be,
A part of my life, my cousin,
You'll always be special to me!
Sometimes I wish we could go
back to our childhood days.
Yet here we are, both of us grown,
With busy lives and out on our own.
Things change, but you'll always be
My cousin, my friend, and loved by me.
Cousins are cozy
wherever they're from;
They feel like your family
whenever they come.
Some people have many;
most people have some.
Cousins are cozy
wherever they're from.
We begged and we pleaded for them all to say "cheese"
But only the eldest were aiming to please
So how many more years do you think it will take
Until all of the cousins cooperate?
She's been a good daughter, my cousin Elaine
(In contrast to Walter her brother,
Who showed no respect). And she kept her room clean,
And she never talked fresh to her mother.
In college she tried, while maintaining straight A's,
To write home twice a week or more often
(Unlike that bum Walter, who just called collect
And with news that drove nails in their coffin).
The boys Elaine went with were all that her folks
And their gin club and swim club expected.
(The girls Walter went with her folks only prayed
That he wouldn't come home from infected.)
Above-the-waist petting was all she allowed
Till the day she was led to the altar.
Yes, good is the word for my cousin Elaine.
(God knows what the word is for Walter.)
She's been a good daughter, my cousin Elaine,
As well as a good wife and mother.
She promised her folks that she's taking them in
When they're old. (Could they go to her brother?)
On how to raise children and which car to buy
She accepts their suggestions and gladly.
(That Walter, believe me, you can't tell a thing.
He responds to advice very badly.)
Elaine, when a card should be sent, sends a card
And a birthday is never forgotten.
(That Walter can't even remember the day
That his mother was born. Is that rotten?)
My cousin Elaine can look back on a life
Where she followed the rules to the letter
And won the esteem of her mother and dad,
Except--they like Walter much better.
Many people do their albums in chronological order. However there are a few cases where it works better to do topical pages. If you have cousins or old friends that you only see occasionally and get photos mostly of major life events (graduation, weddings, etc.) you can make a page for each person or family instead of scattering them out through the years in your family albums. You can put the pages in a separate album for that purpose, in a Christmas or holiday album, in your heritage album or at the end of your current family album. This is especially good if you want you children to be better 'acquainted' with distant relatives.back to top of page
My family has so many skeletons we don't have a closet big enough to hold them so we decided to put them on display ;-)
My daughter and I have discussed several times how she was going to handle all the 'interesting' things from her heritage in her daughters albums. She still hasn't decided about some of it but in the meantime she is making something that would be a great idea for a scrapbook.
Since there is no way to hide some of this stuff she decided she might as well make it as fun and interesting as possible. Because she is making three duplicates and will have much more journaling than photos she is printing it out and putting it in page protectors in notebooks. She is printing it on quality paper so if she later gets more photos (and more time) she can easily put it in scrapbooks.
The idea is mostly hers but I helped with the details. Once we got started we decided to expand the idea to include other fun things as well as the skeletons.
The title page has "Skeletons in the Closet" printed very large in a font that looks like bones. At the bottom is a graphic of a smiling, dancing skeleton.
The next page has this text sized so it fills the page. It is all lower case. Each list should be on two lines. I used -- to indicate the start of the second line in case it doesn't come out right here.
a collection of
scandals, secrets, stories,
--tales, legends, rumors, gossip and anecdotes
notorious, villainous, disreputable and infamous
--black sheep, in-laws, outlaws and unsavory persons
disgraceful, dishonorable, devious, deceitful,
--underhanded, questionable, shocking, immoral and illegal behavior
as well as
uncommon, unique or unusual names, occupations,
--religious beliefs and physical characteristics
famous shirttail relatives, dubious parentage, coincidences,
---disease and tragic death and other miscellaneous trivia
She is dividing the book into these sections:
I. Peculiarities & Oddities
II. Black Sheep
III. Shocking Behavior
IV. Disease & Tragic Death
V. Notable Connections
VI. Tangled Roots
VII. Dead Ends
VIII. Miscellaneous Trivia
The first page of each section will have an appropriate graphic and quote similar to these:
Cousins marrying cousins: VERY tangled roots!
'Crazy'' is a relative term in my family.
Ever find an ancestor HANGING from the family tree?
Many a family tree needs pruning.
My family coat of arms ties at the back . . . is that normal?
A few of the things she will have in the book:
Two aunts with the last name of Slaughter who married brother with the last name of Hogg.
A great aunt who was married eleven times.
Another aunt who was married to a man who turned out to be a bigamist.
A great-great grandfather who "took up with the maid" after his wife died.
A great uncle who got bit by a rattlesnake and survived.
A great-great uncle who was a hobo in the thirties.
Identical twins who married brothers and then three of the daughters from those two marriages ended up marrying three brothers from another family (I have been to one of their reunions and no one ever really figures out how they are related!)
A visiting nurse who froze to death walking home from a patients house in a snow storm (many years ago in Denver).
A grandfather who was shot and killed while robbing a bank.
An ancestor who knew Daniel Boone and others who were related to a signer of the Declaration of Independence and author Daniel Defoe.
The list goes on and on--but that should give a general idea.
At the end of the book she is going to have a section about why she wrote the book and what she hopes they will get from it. Part of it will be about having a sense of humor and accepting that not everyone is perfect. She is also going to mention that we are who we are because of all the things that have gone before. If any one of the people in their ancestry who had made bad marriages had had better judgment then none of them would have even been born. She is also going mention their many wonderful relatives and some of the positive traits of a few not-so-wonderful relatives.
At the end she is going to have a paragraph that paraphrases something Erma Bombeck wrote: "genes don't dominate us . . . we overcome them--and become better and stronger as a result."back to top of page