Uncle Dunc and Aunt Lucille had a houseful of kids. Sometimes we were lucky enough that Bert, the eldest would drop in our games, raising our rough play to fever pitch. Naturally, he tired of us soon, leaving us deflated when he went about the business. I was always leery of the two big girls, since they seemed smart-aleck. Ava, the oldest, was pretty with a bouncy, blonde ponytail. Though I overheard Mother whispering she was trashy for mowing in her swimsuit out by the road, I thought it made perfect sense and worked well for her since she married a guy with a greasy ducktail and had a baby before her seventeenth birthday. I kept a watch on both girls to see if they sprouted leg hair like Aunt Lucille.
I believe Ava saw herself like this.
Prudy, the next girl was skinny with a lot of pimples and wore those pointy bras common to the late fifties and early sixties. Her swimsuit kind of wrinkled over her skinny behind so she didn’t mow out by the street. In fact, she worked as a carhop down at the drive-in for a while after dropping out of high school before hooking Toxie, who worked at the filling station and always smelled like oil. Red rags always hung out of his back pocket. I never had any contact with Toxie except when he yelled at me from under the hood of an old car suspended from a tree branch in Uncle Dunc’s front yard when I hit a ball into it. I never really liked him much after that.
Carolyn was just a couple of years ahead of me, but must have been easier to control than her big sisters. Her long hair, parted down the middle was braided so tightly it pulled her eyes back and hung in tight, thin braids almost to her waist. The other girls must have rebelled against their mother in their dress and behavior, but at ten or so, mousy little Carolyn suffered under Aunt Lucille’s bossiness, since she only wore dresses and had to attend fundamentalist church services along with her mother and younger twin brothers. They were wild little boys a couple of years younger than I, still peed their pants a good bit, and didn’t seem worried by Aunt Lucille at all. Carolyn said she wouldn’t be allowed to have boyfriends, drop out of school, or cut her hair till she was sixteen. I was only six or seven at the time, but that seemed very unfair to me.
I made a point to stay out of Aunt Lucille’s way since she yelled at kids a lot and was fond of using a switch on Carolyn and the little boys when she could catch them. I certainly never asked to spend the night like I did at Cousin Sue’s and Cousin Cathy’s house. We only visited Uncle Dunc for a year or so, until he moved off Aunt Ader’s Place, which incidentally was very near Daddy’s favorite brother. I heard later he gave up drinking after a car-wreck left him paralyzed and he had no one to depend on but Aunt Lucille.