Tuesday, October 31, 2006
A Myth Grows in Brooklyn...
In a previous post, I mentioned that Grammy Mac had a funny "Brooklyn Story." Fellow blogger Gabi inquired, so here it is...
Grammy Mac passed away in 1989, and Grandpa Mac passed away several years earlier, in NYC, where he had returned after they had split up, sometime in the early 70s. I think he returned to the general area of their original apartment in New York, which I'm not sure was ever in Brooklyn - one of my aunts or my mom could confirm this.
When my dad retired, about 6 years ago, his party included a number of people who had not seen our family in years, including Mr. and Mrs. Brown. Mr. Brown had worked with my dad early in his career, and the Browns' had been my grandparents' neighbors when we were young children. The Browns' had four daughters around the same age as me and my two sisters. One daughter, Marybeth, (Beth) accompanied her parents to my dad's party.
During the cocktail hour, Beth spilled a glass of Cabernet down the front of her ivory suit, so my sister Cheryl offered her hotel room for Beth to clean up. She accompanied Beth to her room, and Mrs. Brown joined them, seeing a good opportunity to catch up with our family. Shortly into their conversation, Mrs. Brown asked, "And how are your grandparents doing?"
My sister was taken completely off guard that the Browns', having moved so far away so long ago, did not know that my grandparents were long dead -- and in a split-second, she decided that she could not deliver this news to Mrs. Brown in the middle of my dad's retirement party. So instead, my sister said the first thing that popped into her head, which was "They're great!" And Mrs. Brown said, "Oh, wonderful. Where are they living now?" And my sister said, "Brooklyn!"
Of course, my sister immediately regretted what she'd said, but it was too late to take it back. So she fled from their company before Mrs. Brown had a chance to ask her any more questions and she was forced to concoct an entire life in Brooklyn for our long-deceased grandparents.
When Cheryl returned to our table and told us what she'd done, we got a great chuckle out of it, and I spent the night avoiding the Browns' as well, afraid that I'd be obligated to perpetuate my sister's story. As far as we know, the Browns' still think my grandparents are happily retired in Brooklyn, so Brooklyn has become the metaphorical heavenly resting place of Grammy & Grandpa McElroy.
And there are two funny sidebars to this story -- The first is that my Aunt Mary (one of Grammy's daughters) had not heard the Brooklyn story, and months after it had happened, we were at a family gathering where we were jokingly wondering what Grammy was doing in Brooklyn, and my Aunt choked on a glass of wine and nearly fell off the sofa since this was the first she had heard that Grammy was "alive." (You might also notice that glasses of wine are a recurring theme in my family stories.)
The second is that the Browns,' were known for one eccentricity -- Mrs. Brown's given name is Mary Lee, and they named their daughters Mary Beth, Mary Ann, Mary Lynn, and Mary Kristen. (Their father's name was Jerry, and at work they used to call him Mary Jerry, according to my dad.) - Tell that to George Foreman!