Some of the people who have come into our family from time to time as partners spouses etc have commented about the merciless way we tease each other. Of course living in the family it never seemed strange to us. I think everyone starts out in life assuming everybody lives and behaves pretty much the same way we do. I can say however the somewhat perverse sense of humour comes naturally too us all.
My parents were both Scottish as is my older sister. I have tried to have her deported but so far the government is unwilling to go that route. Almost all our relatives however stayed in Scotland and so growing up we only knew aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents by occasional letters and stories told us by our parents. Mum was the second youngest of nine children and dad the youngest of 4. At one time in my late teens I counted up all the cousins and determined that we had over 50 of them floating around most of whom we had never met.
In the mid 60’s however transoceanic flying had come down in price enough that some of the aunts and uncles started coming over for visits.
One of my mothers sisters, Aunt Kate was over for a visit with her husband Uncle John and it was great fun seeing mum revert to being a younger sister instead of the authority figure we had aways known. Kate it turned out had a devilish sense of humour which she unleashed one evening on my older sister, the immigrant girl.
Sheana was 15 or 16 at the time and on the night in question had a first date with a boy from school. Back then in prehistory there was no such thing as going out to meet somewhere, or the boy parking in the driveway and honking. He did like all well brought up lads of the era would, rang the doorbell and come in to meet the parents and say hello before taking out their daughter. All the rest of the family were of course itching to see what he looked like and how he behaved. I myself went through the same agonies just a few years later when I started dating and remember the dread I felt, hoping to not do anything too stupid or clumsy on meeting the family for the first time.
Our young suitor was actually quite well behaved, polite, neatly dressed, short hair, all the things that were expected and after a few moments chatting suggested that they had to get going or they would be late for the start of the movie they were going to.
It was then that my aunt Kate got into the process. She started out by asking him what he did for a living. On being informed that he was still in school she asked him how he was planning on supporting Sheana if he didn’t have a job. He was obviously flustered by this turn in the conversation and stammered that he hadn’t actually thought about that. She then asked if he was just trifling with our young princess. Sheana was of course beside herself about this and started trying to help get them out the door but now that Kate had the bit between her teeth there was no stopping her. She asked about his parentage, his religion, his prospects in life, what he was going to do once he got through school etc. etc. It was a good a grilling as I ever saw on tv and he tried manfully to keep answering all the questions at the same time as both of them tried to get away.
Finally Kate said, “Well I guess it’ll be okay for you to take her out on a date”.
You could see the relief wash over him and for a second it looked like he might even stop sweating. It had been worked out before in much gentler terms about them going to a movie and then for a pizza and what time curfew was etc. so the two young lovers stood up to leave and go to their show.
It was then Kate stood too and said,” Where is my sweater I always find it too cold in the theaters”. It is the first time I actually saw what it looked like for a guy’s jaw to hit the floor. He started to stammer and Kate interjected, “You surely didn’t think you could take her out unchaperoned did you”? There was what must have been for the two of them a horribly long, silent pause and then Kate started laughing. Sheana was mortified, I’m sure young Lochinvar was twitching and wondering what sort of nut house he had walked into but they were sent on their way at last while the rest of us laughed ourselves silly over the scene.
Strangely enough he never asked Sheana out again. I guess they just didn’t hit it off.