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    Saturday, July 14, 2007

    My In-Laws

    ~This is a post that I wrote in December of 2005. Some of you may have already read it. It got pretty lengthy so I posted it in 3 parts. I have been talking about my in-laws quite a bit lately so I thought it was appropriate to repost.~

    My husband is 8 years my senior. When I met him, we played the number game. How old are you , your parents and siblings. Interestingly, his parents were older than my grandparents. His sister is older than my mother and his brother is only 2 years younger than my mother. We have a strange generation gap. His mother peaked in the 40's and my mother wasn't even born until the 50's.

    My mother in law was born to Sicilian parents who had just moved to the United States. They settled into an area close to Boston. She was one of 7 children, 6 being girls. She lived a charmed life even though she grew up during the depression. The story goes that her father was a gin runner during prohibition working with the Kennedy's. She never felt the sting of poverty and rations that most did during that time. She remembered seeing huge rolls of money in her father's dresser drawers (or draws as she would say in her Boston accent) and more money that was kept under the floorboards. She was chauffeured to school in a limousine with her sisters and brother.

    Her mother had a severe heart problem that did not allow her to interact with anyone for fear of her death. She was bedridden until she died leaving the children to be raised by maids and anyone besides her busy father.

    My FIL was born to immigrant parents from Romania and Hungry. He had ancestors that lived in Transylvania. My FIL's mother's name was Zoraita, which conjures up visions of crystal balls and tarot cards. MIL always called FIL a gypsy and it was kind of true. Neither of his parents spoke English. They were farmers who worked hard. The story about my FIL's birth was that his mother was working in the cucumber field and gave birth to him right there in the field. They were very poor but had lots of land.

    During WWII, MIL's sister met a Navy man at the harbor. She gave him her number. When he called, my mother-in-law pretended to be her sister and made a date with him. She went to meet him and he decided he liked her better. Her sister never forgave her.

    The two became very attached to each other and my father-in-law was sent back to Japan where they continued to write each other. We still have some of their correspondence and Western Union telegrams. It was decided that they would marry upon his return.

    My mother-in-law was excited to think that she would be moving to the metropolis of Michigan. She wanted to leave the life she had been living as it was hard because of her father. His involvement with the Mafia made her uneasy with everyday life, even a little paranoid because the family was raided by the FBI.

    They were married in Massachusetts and my FIL went back to his home to set up a life for them. He sent for MIL later. She went by train to Michigan with visions of city life in her head. Upon stepping off the train in the middle of nowhere, she questioned her actions and would for the rest of her life. She would regret leaving her family behind.

    The in-laws built a modest home and had a daughter and 4 years later a son. My MIL grew increasingly bored with life in Michigan and threatened to leave. As soon as she did this, she became pregnant with my husband. This makes for a 13 year gap between her oldest and youngest.

    I never knew my in-laws in their younger years. My FIL was the sweetest man to ever walk. He always had a smile and a twinkle in his eye that made you wonder what he was up to. He was very loving and caring toward everyone. He would do anything for anyone. I never saw him angry.

    My MIL was a different story. Being Italian, she hated me from the start. I wasn't Italian and worst of all, I had blue eyes and blonde hair. I took her baby boy from her. Two days before we got married I got a frantic call from future Mr. Sign. He said that his mother didn't know anything about the present. She didn't even know who I was or that we were getting married. She had totally blocked everything out. Mr. Sign was able to get her to the doctor who prescribed some medication. She did take it and attended the wedding but was not herself. The only thing the in-laws paid for at the wedding was the champagne. She tried to sneak out of the reception without paying to my hubby's horror.

    Little did I know that this behavior was normal for her. I would find out through the years that she had mental problems. I, being the doctor that I should have been, diagnosed her with Paraniod Schizophrenia. She had always had these tendencies and we would find out after her death that several doctors had tried to medicate her to no avail. She would flush the meds down the toilet and tell us she took them. She would close up all the blinds in the house and tell us people were peeking in. She thought that her phone was tapped and that the local government was out to smear her good name. She wouldn't answer the door because she thought it was the police coming to arrest her. This behavior was enforced by her upbringing. Living with the fear of the FBI catching her mafioso father (flashbacks from her youth) had caught up to her.

    To Be Continued.......

    5 comments:

    MONA said...

    Signgurl! This is such a facinating story. Your MIL's problem could have stemed from her paranoia from her childhood days.

    I cant wait to read the next part!

    barman said...

    I so remember most of this story. I really loved it. I am glad you are replaying it.

    Oh and by the way ... what a weird sounding sentence

    ...she became pregnant with my husband...

    I know what you meant but looking at it on it's own makes me go hummmm.

    Let me get more popcorn and as I know the story gets much better.

    lime said...

    wow, MIL is a pretty colorful character isn't she??

    Sicilian said...

    Gurl. . . .I love it. . . . my mother never made it into my Nonna's good graces . . . . my Nonna however treated me as a little princess.
    The Mafia stuff. . . . fascinates me. . . . I have just found out some very startling stuff about my mother's father and the mafia.

    Can't wait to hear the rest of the story. . . .
    Ciao

    jillie said...

    Her past was catching up with her. Sad but true...how awful to not like you and to say it was because you weren't "Italian", I think she was jealous of you.

    These are GREAT stories Jenn!!