Ask Auntie Linda, October 22, 2015

Auntie Linda

Dear Auntie Linda, I am the mother of two girls, ages six and seven. My mother died two years ago.  She and my father divorced before I was born.  She married my adoptive father when I was six months old.  I always suspected he was my natural father since due to her divorce and their hasty marriage.  They were wonderful parents.i had no contact with my birth father until after Mother’s death.  My adoptive father asked me not to see him, but I was curious.  My birth father is pressing for a closer relationship, saying he wants an opportunity to get to know me and my girls.  Only when I expressed my intention to do so, did my father reveal the circumstances of my birth.  My mother’s fourteen-year-old sister gave birth to me after being raped by my father.  The truth didn’t come out she was about five months along..  My birth father went to prison.  My aunt went back  to school after delivering me.  My mother adopted me, divorced my birth father and married my adoptive father within months. My aunt and I have always been extraordinarily close.  She confirmed the story.  My girls were thrilled about their new Grandpa and ask about him constantly.  I don’t intend to ever see him again, nor do I want have to tell my daughters the truth at their tender ages.  What do I tell them till I can tell the truth.  Not Who I Thought I Was

Dear Not Who, The simplest answer is best.  You found out that “Grandpa” is a bad man and you don’t feel safe or want him near them.  They aren’t to young to know that not everyone should be trusted.

Dear Auntie Linda,  This sounds like something off Jerry Springer, but it is true.  My sister, LouAnne met up with our third cousin Mike at a family reunion at my cousin’s house after not seeing each other for more than fifty years.  LouAnne and Mike hit it off and started socializing.  In fact, it is more than socializing.  They moved in together and are talking about getting married.  We are from a small town where everybody knows each other.  I am so embarrassed.  I wonder if this is even legal.  I am NOT going to the wedding, but I dread facing people.  How in the world do I deal with this?  NOT kissing a cousin

Dear Not, You are not responsible.  In most states there is no prohibition against cousins marrying if they are past fifty.  If you dread gossip, meet it head on by announcing the news to a friend or acquaintance yourself.  You’ll only have to tell one or two and the word will get around.  Auntie Linda

evening chuckle

imageTwo old men, Abe and Sol, sit on a park bench feeding pigeons and talking about baseball. Abe turns to Sol and asks, “Do you think there’s baseball in Heaven?” Sol thinks about it for a minute and replies, “I dunno. But let’s make a deal — if I die first, I’ll come back and tell you if there’s baseball in Heaven, and if you die first, you do the same.” They shake on it and sadly, a few months later, poor Abe passes on. Soon afterward, Sol sits in the park feeding the pigeons by himself and hears a voice whisper, “Sol… Sol… .” Sol responds, “Abe! Is that you?” “Yes it is, Sol,” whispers Abe’s ghost. Sol, still amazed, asks, “So, is there baseball in Heaven?” “Well,” says Abe, “I’ve got good news and bad news.” “Gimme the good news first,” says Sol. Abe says, “Well, there is baseball in Heaven.” Sol says, “That’s great! What news could be bad enough to ruin that?” Abe sighs and whispers, “You’re pitching on Friday.”
Steve lies dying, as Jack, his law partner of 40 years, sits at his bedside. “Jack, I’ve got to confess — I’ve been sleeping with your wife for 30 years, I’m the father of your daughter, and I’ve been stealing from the firm for a decade.” “Relax,” says Jack, “and don’t think another thing about it. I’m the one who put arsenic in your martini.”
So a guy is walking with a young boy into the woods. Boy “Hey mister its getting dark out and I’m scared.” Man “How do you think I feel, I have to walk back alone.”

Two guys meet up in a bar. The first one asks, “Did your hear the news – Mike is dead??!!!” “Woah, what the hell happened to him?” “Well he was on his way over to my house the other day and when he arrived outside the house he didn’t brake properly and boom – He hit the curb, the car flipped over and he crashed through the sunroof – Went flying through the air and smashed through my upstairs bedroom window.” “What a horrible way to die!” “No no, he survived that, that didn’t kill him at all. So, he’s landed in my upstairs bedroom and he’s all covered in broken glass on the floor. Then, he spots the big old antique wardrobe we have in the room and reaches up for the handle to try to pull himself up. He’s just dragging himself up when bang, this massive wardrobe comes crashing down on top of him, crushing him and breaking most of his bones.” “What a way to go, that’s terrible!” “No no, that didn’t kill him he survived that. He managed to get the wardrobe off him and crawls out onto the landing, he tries to pull himself up on the banister but under his weight, the banister breaks and he goes falling down on to the first floor. In mid air, all the broken banister poles spin and fall on him, pinning him to the floor, sticking right through him.” “Now that is the most unfortunate way to go!” “No no, that didn’t kill him, he even survived that. So he’s on the downstairs landing, just beside the kitchen. He crawls in to the kitchen, tries to pull himself up on the stove, but reached for a big pot of boiling hot water, whoosh, the whole thing came down on him and burned most of his skin off him.” “Man, what a way to go!” “No no, he survived that, he survived that! He’s lying on the ground, covered in boiling water and he spots the phone and tries to pull himself up, to call for help, but instead he grabs the light switch and pulls the whole thing off the wall and the water and electricity didn’t mix and so he got electrocuted, wallop, 10,000 volts shot through him.” “Now that is one awful way to go!” “No no, he survived that…” “Hold on now, just how the hell did he die?” “I shot him!” “You shot him? What the hell did you shoot him for?” “He was wrecking my house.”

Musings on My Father, on His Birthday (Part 2)

Five kids

Back left, Linda Swain Bethea, holding Connie Swain Miller’s hands, Middle Back Billy Swain, Back Right Phyllis Swain Barrington holding Marilyn Swain Grisham.  Picture made about 1961

parents wedding pic

Bill Swain and Kathleen Holdaway Swain, June 29, 1945

When I reflect on my father’s life, it is odd to think I am several years older now than he was when he died at fifty-seven.  He had retired, all five of his children were grown and on their own, and his life was no longer a struggle.  He had realized his dream and had large herds of cattle on two farms.  He had mellowed out and life was good.  He died only three weeks after being diagnosed with a brain tumor in December, 1981.

When puzzling out his behavior, I now realize Daddy’s moods were bipolar.  He was extremely quick to anger, irritable, easily offended.  The worst thing his children could do was to embarrass him.  Quick to reach for a belt or switch like so many parents of his era, he considered himself strict, though he would be classed abusive now.  Many times, we wore stripes for days after a whipping.  His goal was to raise children who were law-abiding, respectful, and hard-working.  Though his methods were beyond strict we might have rebelled had we not had our mother’s softening, comforting influence.  She had as little control over her life as we did ours.

The whole family’s life got harder after we moved to the farm.  Land had to be cleared, brush piled and burned, barns and fences built.  It was more work than any one man could do in a lifetime.  Daddy must have been overwhelmed by all the work to be done.  We were all pressed into service.  My brother and I worked right along with Daddy, along with occasional help Daddy could afford to hire.  When the day’s work started, Daddy always said, “Time to the friendship to end and the work to begin.”  He was difficult to work with, not taking time to explain how to do a job, lashing out when we didn’t read his mind.  I learned to hate summer and school holidays, knowing farm work was waiting.  My poor brother, being three years younger than I, caught the brunt of the work, laboring on that farm almost every day he wasn’t in school from the time he was eleven till he left home.  Thankfully, I was fourteen when the heavy work started and only sentenced to four years hard labor.  All that farm work certainly motivated me to get an education.  I had no intention of ever being subservient to anyone again.  From the time I was ten or eleven, I had a miserable relationship with Daddy and avoided him whenever possible, which wasn’t often, since I had to help so much.  Though I was definitely not grateful at the time, I did learn valuable skills that have helped me throughout my life.  I am very strong, have good problem solving skills, and am not intimidated by difficult tasks.  There was also the added benefit of developing a thick skin.  I yet had to work for anyone as critical as Daddy.

With the arrival of grandchildren, he demonstrated the kindness and caring we never enjoyed.  He was everything a grandfather should be.  I admired a lot of things about Daddy and think we would have grown close had he lived longer.

Funny Marriage Quotes


All marriages are happy.  It’s the living together afterward that causes all the trouble.” -Raymond Hull

“The total amount of undesired sex endured by women is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution.” -Bertrand Russell

“A husband is what is left of the lover after the nerve is extracted”
-Helen Rowland

“Marriage is a matter of give and take, but so far I haven’t been able to find anybody who’ll take what I have to give.” -Cass Daley

“Marriage: A legal or religious ceremony by which two persons of the opposite sex solemnly agree to harass and spy on each other for ninety-nine years, or until death do them join.” -Elbert Hubbard

“The husband who wants a happy marriage should learn to keep his mouth shut and his checkbook open.” -Groucho Marx

*“Do you know what it means to come home at night to a woman who’ll give you a little love, a little affection, a little tenderness? It means you’re in the wrong house, that’s what it means.”
-Henny Youngman

“When a man opens the car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife.” -Prince Philip

“I require only three things of a man. He must be handsome, ruthless and stupid.” -Dorothy Parker

“When a girl marries she exchanges the attentions of many men for the inattention of one.” -Helen Rowland

“Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.” -G. K. Chesterton

“Alimony – The ransom that the happy pay to the devil.”
-H.L. Mencken

“A husband’s last words should always be, OK buy it.” -Unknown

“My wife has a slight impediment in her speech. Every now and then she stops to breathe.” -Jimmy Durante

“I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” -Rita Rudner

“There’s a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking. It’s called marriage.” -James Holt McGavran

“Marriage is like a phone call in the night: first the ring, and then you wake up.” -Evelyn Hendrickson

“One advantage of marriage is that, when you fall out of love with him or he falls out of love with you, it keeps you together until you fall in again.” -Judith Viorst

“After marriage, husband and wife become two sides of a coin; they just can’t face each other, but still they stay together.”
-Hemant Joshi

“An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets, the more interested he is in her.” -Agatha Christie

“My mother said it was simple to keep a man, you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom. I said I’d hire the other two and take care of the bedroom bit.”
-Jerry Hall

“I never married because I have three pets at home that answer the same purpose as a husband. I have a dog that growls every morning, a parrot that swears all afternoon and a cat that comes home late at night.” -Marie Corelli

“Marriage is a wonderful invention: then again, so is a bicycle repair kit.” -Billy Connolly

“Alimony is like buying oats for a dead horse.” -Arthur Baer

“Why does a woman work ten years to change a man’s habits and then complain that he’s not the man she married?” -Barbra Streisand

“I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They’ve experienced pain and bought jewelry.” – Rita Rudner

“Car Manufacturer’s formula for a successful marriage : Stick to one model!” – Unknown

“Marriage is give and take. You’d better give it to her or she’ll take it anyway.” -Joey Adams

“What’s for dinner is the only question many husbands ask their wives, and the only one to which they care about the answer.”
-Mignon McLaughlin

“Three rings of marriage are the engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffering.” -Unknown

“Women hope men will change after marriage but they don’t; men hope women won’t change but they do.” -Bettina Arndt

“Before marriage, a man declares that he would lay down his life to serve you; after marriage, he won’t even lay down his newspaper to talk to you.” -Helen Rowland

“The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.” -Henny Youngman

“If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married.” -Katharine Hepburn

“It’s a funny thing that when a man hasn’t anything on earth to worry about, he goes off and gets married.” -Robert Frost

“The man who says his wife can’t take a joke, forgets that she took him.” -Oscar Wilde

“I never knew what real happiness was until I got married. And by then it was too late.” -Max Kauffmann

“Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.”
-Henry Youngman