Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Peas in a Pod

When I was a teenager, my Aunt Gerdi once looked at me and then at my brother.  "You two look so much alike, it isn't even funny," she told me.  I wasn't laughing.  It isn't funny, to grow up as the less pretty version of my brother Karl.  And yet, I wouldn't choose to look like anyone else.

In a family of six kids, I am the shortest and least photogenic.  My brothers are so good looking that when my friend Jeff D first met them, he kept looking from them to me, and saying, "But, they are model gorgeous."  I could tell he was trying to figure out where I came from.  Meanwhile, I was trying to figure out if my handsome brothers had turned him, and Jeff's upcoming drag show debut is for more than fun.  But, I do look like them, especially Karl.  My eyes are blue, his eyes are unnaturally blue, like those aliens in "Dune." 

We all laugh the same.  We kick each other to shut each other up.  We grab our stomachs and laugh silently, what my nephew Peter calls our "bullet dodge" laughter.  We laugh until we cry, at jokes no one else really understands or finds amusing.  "What do you get when you cross a dog eating baby with a 90 year old with leprosy?"  "Seven fingers."  See?  Makes no sense whatsoever.  Neither does "Aunt Erni basement rot" or the song we sing when Mark comes home for Christmas, "Carmelkorn, Carmelkorn, Mark, Mark, Mark."  My sister in law Katie fits right in, with her "It's all right to be angwy, Ewik." 

So, looking alike is only part of what draws us together as a family; what really are the ties that bind are all those inside jokes and stories, and shared sucky memories.  If I could change my appearance or fight off age with Botox and cheek implants and all the rest, I still wouldn't.  Because then, I wouldn't look like the people I love most.  I can settle for being the ugly duckling in a beautiful flock, because I love my flock more than anyone. 


  1. I always thought you were the more beautiful one! You're definitely NOT the ugly duckling of the family. You and Karl do look alike. You both have beautiful blue eyes. I think Karl has the same incredibly blue eyes that Benjamin Drake, our ancestor had. But they are not alien eyes. They are beautiful, and so are yours. As the doctor for my Peace Corps physical pointed out, I have a slender frame. I just have struggled over the years with keeping slender. In that respect I don't look like the rest of us. You're all slim and trim. I've been slim and trim occasionally over the years, but mostly I've been so chastened by my body that I keep a photo from our trip to Oregon on my refrigerator to remind me not to eat!
    We do love to laugh, but we mainly laugh at ourselves. I think it's healthy to be able to find humor in our attempts to cope with life. I'm glad that we don't poke fun at other people's misery. I've never liked that brand of humor. Katie does fit right in. She's an unbelievably good sport!

  2. Oh, sure, we ONLY laugh at ourselves, and there is always something silly we've done. I was reminded via facebook that there are alot of people who were like family and also get our stupid jokes, Jeff Gardner chief among them. Isn't it funny to think how we six have been large in the lives of others?

  3. Funny you talk about family resemblances. Every time I look at the photo of Cath Dangling, I see the outline of Peter's face, with the same chin and grin! Christine has shared that you all enjoy sitting around the table and reading back issues of the Onion. I knew then we are kindred spirits! :)