"The Jingle Bell Bum" (Read The Touching True Story...please!) Comment at patriciahanrion.com

"The Jingle Bell Bum" (Read The Touching True Story...please!) Comment at patriciahanrion.com
Still available on Amazon for Nook and Kindle, hard copy booklett to re-print November 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013

No Ordinary life if You Marry the Youngest of Five Boys!

He was tall and handsome with broad shoulders and thick curly dark hair, and very shy. I was drawn to him right away, and he tells me he knew we would marry after the moment he saw me when I was the night librarian at the college we both attended.  I found out he was the youngest of five boys....actually much younger than his brothers, France, Don, Leon and Scott. His next oldest brother Scott was almost ten years his senior...so the new baby Patrick (the only one born in a hospital) became the teasing target of the four older brothers. When we were around his family he was always on alert for a prank or practical joke.


Now this was new to me as I came from a quite formal New York family where everyone wore suits and rode the train to work in the big city. Our family moved to California 3,000 miles across the country when most of the silent film studios were moving and switching to "talkies". My dad was a controller for a sound studio and a money manager of golden age films. He spent most of his days at a desk balancing accounts and telling directors how much money they could spend. 

Patrick's dad had been a stock man and rancher on the Arizona Strip where the older four brothers were born. I guess you could not have found two more opposite people if you tried...as far as our background and upbringing went.

Patrick's older  brothers...Scott, Leon, and Don at the rancho

I remember as a kid going to Sequoia National Park and my brother Timothy and I begging our dad to stop so we could look at the huge trees. I had on a frilly dress, ruffled socks and patent-leather Mary-Jane shoes.  My dad was the kind who went on a trip for the drive and was content to see the sights through the windshield of a car. If he did stop it was only to do the "Chevy Chase" bounce-once-look...and then want us to get back in the car. I don't think I had been camping or even on a picnic until I met Patrick.

In the summer when growing up we would drive to New York from California my brother and I were placed in the back seat with a roll of lifesavers and a comic book....this was to keep us busy in the back seat for the daily very long drive...it took us exactly 3 1/2 days to drive to New York...the Catskill Mountains. My grandmother's house was huge, they ran a boarding country farm where they took in city folk for vacations away from the city. The kitchen always smelled amazing, and grandma would take me on long walks and explain about all the weeds and flowers, naming each and telling me how you could make a tea to heal different ailments. Maybe that's why I became a nurse, I think my grandma was a healer, she learned about plants from her mom who was part Indian.

We would then go into the city to visit my father's family. It was formal and everyone wore suits and ties to breakfast that was served on china placed on a white crisp tablecloth. My dad figured a place was not good enough to eat at unless they had tablecloths...I know in all his 82 years he never went to a fast food place.

So I fell in love with a country boy who teased and played tricks because he was subjected to such things by his brothers on a daily basis. My background was formal and quite stiff. Teasing was not anything I understood or was used to. On our wedding night while I dressed in my beautiful lingerie, Pat's comment was, "So you brought your curtains"...the next day while in the shower...he dumped a bucket of cold water on my head, saying, "Why are you mad..my brothers do that all the time and think it's funny." He couldn't understand why I was crying. I got used to the teasing quickly and even learned to dish it out a little. But he was always doing something new...like hiding in the closet and jumping out to scare me or one day when I was doing dishes and looking out the window over the sink...he jump up into view wearing a horrible scarry mask. My screams could be heard for blocks...great fun..he thought.

I had heard for weeks before our wedding that his brothers were going to kidnap him and chain him to a wall somewhere...or put a ball and chain around his leg and chain him to a train going to San Diego. As a preventative Pat even hid all his old shot puts to stop them from using them for the deed...I refused to go to the church building for the wedding until I got a call from my Dad that Pat had arrived to prevent me from being left at the alter. And during the reception the brothers showed up with a freshly painted ball and chain they had made by pouring cement into an old basket ball and putting the end of the huge chain into it and letting it dry. The thing was huge and heavy. Then Scott, the next oldest brother had spray painted it all black. Don, the second oldest and worst tease decided it would be bad form to actually chain Patrick to the wall since the paint was still wet and ruin his rented tuxedo. 

I was so worried about what wild scheme they had concocted that I was prepared with a hacksaw in my suitcase. I had even purchased several extra blades just in case! I was learning it was best not to fight, but to outwit the brothers.

Through the years I've found it is best to ignore most of the teasing and other things too...it has worked for me rather than overreact and cause an argument. For the most part it has been a good plan except for the fact that I may ignore some things I should be paying more attention to...

But after 47 years of marriage my advice is...if you plan to you marry the youngest child of a large family, "Buckle up and be prepared for the ride!" It will be full of twists and turns, lots of nonsense, and most importantly full of fun.

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