I remember my father impersonating his crazy grandmother; the one with one eye. He's in super 8 film reels, donned in mommy's faux fur coat with the real mink collar. On his head a velvet hat of mine.. a fancy riding cap, from Easter. He picks up Susie, our cat, and you can read his lips, looking into the camera ... "atsa my cat."
I don't whether she was mad or what, but family history, as it is, leans strongly towards the likeliness. People speak in circles and make light of such skeletons, until one day all the skeletons come out and walk among the living.
In my youngest years I remember seeing my uncle with cotton in his ears and nose one day. At the age of 4 or 5, this seemed perfectly clever. Later that night, between my parents, in bed, though I knew my parents might not like the idea so much, I quietly ripped off pieces of my dad's racing form, and pushed the pieces in my nose. I didn't have any cotton. My mother, in her motherly way, knew I was being far too quiet. After that, it was all tweezers and "sit still" as my mother undertook the delicate task of getting paper out of of young nose. Till this day she still says "You really stuck it up there!"
Sometimes my uncle was scary, and my father (one of the sanest people I've ever known) would tell us to stay back, and he'd go off to rescue whatever madness was swirling round my uncle's mind at that time. Was he even here, I wondered... and was this a different man? He was never scary enough to stop loving, and as I child I knew him at a soul level, as he knew me. We had wonderful conversations when he was lucid. He had a most magnificent mind.
("Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream
This is not dying
This is not dying ")*
And the generations made a line... albeit, zigzagged.
One relative has those eyes... looking too far inside of people, like she wants to climb inside there, too. A close talker, who you want to keep at arms length.So many skeletons dancing in those eyes.
These were the more psychotic of the family line. More mundane maladies and addictions would follow... alcohol, gambling, food, depression, anxiety.... Addiction of one's dis-ease.
("please don't wake me,
no don't shake me
leave me where I am
I'm only sleeping")*