Oh, last weekend was so much FUN! My sister Lori flew into town last Thursday night and then Friday afternoon we hit the road for LA to meet up with our second cousin Laurie and her 26-year-old daughter, Melissa. Our dad and Laurie's mother were first cousins. When we were kids, Lori and I used to see Laurie and her siblings a couple of times each summer at our grandmothers' family camp at Reichard's Lake, outside of Albany, NY. We hadn't seen each other since we were teenagers in the early 1970s and reconnected a couple of years ago when Laurie found us on Facebook.
Laurie married a Kiwi and has been living in New Zealand for about 7 years now. A couple of years ago, she became a flight attendant with Air New Zealand so she gets to fly for super cheap. After she booked this trip to the States to see her kids, we made it a point for us to all get together. Lori booked her flight from Albany and I booked us a couple of rooms at The Cadillac Hotel on Venice Beach.
|Charlie Chapman once spent the summer here.|
|View from the rooftop|
Now, when you're seeing someone for the first time in about 40 years, you can't really know what to expect. Laurie was AWESOME! Funny as hell and totally nuts.
|Melissa and Laurie|
And as for Melissa, the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree. That kid is hilarious. She told us how she went to the bank to open an account wearing a costume (I think it was a superhero costume) just to see people's reactions and no one said a word. She likes to sew and made the dress she wore to her brother's wedding out of a shower curtain from Target. Plus she told us this joke:
Q. What's worse than finding a worm in your apple?
A. The Holocaust.
Oh, she is a sick one, and in the greatest way possible. I adore her.
Here's a pic of Lori and Laurie and me.
As you can no doubt tell, my cousin Laurie has the most incredible rack. That was the first thing I wanted to say when I first saw her, but I thought I'd better be polite so I waited like 10 minutes and then said, "You have the most incredible rack!" It's true--she does!
Laurie is truly a fascinating person. She grew up in a 7-bedroom house and they had a maid. A maid! But don't hate her--her family was as dysfunctional as the next one and Laurie is the most unpretentious person on earth.
Laurie traveled and lived all over the world with her first husband and kids, and they even lived in Kuwait for a while. A few years after they were divorced, she met her Kiwi husband online and a few months later flew off to New Zealand to meet him. "Fortunately, my dad had just died and left me some money," she deadpanned. Soon after her return, she told Husband #1, "You'd better reconnect with the kids; I'm moving to New Zealand!" and she's been there ever since.
Oh, and on Saturday she told us that in college she spent some time in Eastern Europe on a music tour and one of her roommates was Sheryl Crow. They even recorded an album. My sister Lori was like, "Really? You were roommates with Sheryl Crow and you're just now telling us? On Day 2? I totally would have led with that."
It was so wonderful to laugh at our lives and our families and reminisce about all our mutual dead relatives. And it was surprising how much we had in common.
- We both grew up with parents screaming their heads off at each other, and I think Laurie's parents got along even worse than ours. When Laurie's father died, there was a downpour when they all arrived at the cemetery. Not wanting to go out into the elements, her mother barked, "Let's just go to Olive Garden!" and that was the end of that period of mourning.
- We both married Kiwis. (She's already had a much higher success rate than I did.)
- Our whole families LOVE Pee Wee Herman and can recite practically the entire dialogue from Pee Wee's Big Adventure. "It's like you're unraveling a cable knit sweater that someone keeps knitting, and knitting, and knitting..."
- We're not animal people. We're still lovely people; we just don't connect with the animal world and sure as hell don't want them sniffing or breathing on us. I told Laurie I have a rule: Any animal that wants to sniff my crotch has to buy me dinner first.
- We love Ross Dress-for-Less and spent God knows how much time in the one in LA across from The Grove.
|Lori and I hit two more of these on the way back to Vegas|
What a fantastic weekend. And to think we all came together through Facebook. Say what you will about it, but this little segment of our family is pretty damn grateful. I have lots more to share about our time in LA. Next post!