People I Know

This is Harry and Ethel (Varner) Ben­nett, my mother’s mother’s parents.

Ethel was arguably the mean­est woman of the 20th cen­tury. Quite the party girl in her youth, I don’t think she was ever actu­ally fun to have around. When I knew her, she was famous in the fam­ily for, among other things, leav­ing minor ingre­di­ents out of any recipes you asked for, so your ver­sion would never taste just like hers. Also, there wasn’t an ill­ness you could catch that she hadn’t had, only much worse. I heard her last days were spent try­ing to hit my grand­mother with her cane.

Harry spent a lot of time at the local bar…


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Here’s my fam­ily, the Richards. George and Verna sit with their hands at the ready, in case son Randy or daugh­ter Gayle Sue try to escape.

And what are they look­ing at? Were they try­ing to watch ‘Bonanza’ when this was being taken?

Randy is keep­ing a close watch on Cha-Cha, the chi­huahua. Good thing, too, because she tended to bite lit­tle boys and ended up going ‘some­where else’ after she bit a fam­ily friend.

I’m the only one who seems to be pay­ing atten­tion to the pho­tog­ra­pher here — what’s up with that?


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Hap­pier times for Randy, now that the dog is gone. Here we are, cut­ting a rug in our liv­ing room. This is prob­a­bly one of the few pic­tures of my brother smil­ing; he had a rep­u­ta­tion for his Bah-Humbug attitude.

Does any­one else think it’s odd that my poo­dle skirt has a rooster on it? It’s not a poo­dle skirt. It’s a roo­dle skirt.

This was only one of many rea­sons for my years of therapy.


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My favorite place to be: sit­ting on Grandma’s counter. Myr­tle Wether­holt was my mother’s mother and she was just the best. Funny, cre­ative, active, and vain, in all the right doses.

She would pre­pare food while we chat­ted about every­thing, from dolls to sex. Okay, at that age, it had to do with the dif­fer­ence between boys and girls, but it still counted.

I sup­pose it wasn’t too san­i­tary to have my lit­tle tushy and ten­nis shoes up there next to the pie, but no one died from dysen­tary at her house.


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Yes, Grandma baked and sewed and doted on her grandchildren…

She also liked to dress her chick­ens in doll clothes. This is her favorite rooster.

I just don’t know what else I can say about this.


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This is my grandpa, Hansel Wether­holt, with me and his hunt­ing dog, Lady. I don’t remem­ber any actual hunt­ing going on, but it’s pos­si­ble I ate a lit­tle mys­tery meat in my youth.

I’m not cer­tain why this photo is in black and white, when two years ear­lier, we had a color cam­era. I think there is some Swedish in our back­ground; this has all the signs of a Bergman film.

The man, aware of life’s bru­tal mor­tal­ity, grips the child to hold to his youth. The young girl strug­gles to escape, know­ing that death comes to all. The dog rep­re­sents the desire to run freely in the moment, eat­ing trash and scoot­ing joy­ously across the liv­ing room carpet.”

Or maybe not.

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