My family comes to Cape today, which is awesome, because something exciting happens every time my family gets together. I think every person can safely say that his or her family is crazy in a sense because there is either that one crazy family member or things get crazy when everyone is together. I think the best part about being around my family is something always happens that surprises me more than the last time. On Mother’s Day, my grandfather told a dirty joke, which was the first time I had ever heard one from him (my grandmother says she knows some but she won’t share them). Every time we visit our Italian family in Boston, I feel like I meet a new family member, and last time we were there I discovered the title for a future book—my 2nd cousin offered his Uncle another beer and, after contemplating it quite seriously, his Uncle said, “I would have another beer, but I’m married.” But, perhaps one of the best things about family gatherings in recent years are the family history plays we perform at family reunions.
My dad’s side of the family comes from Germany, and my dad’s cousin Stephen started researching our family’s history a few years ago. What has he done with this collection of family history knowledge? Written several plays, of course. The past two reunions, we’ve been assigned roles, handed scripts, and acted out pieces of our family’s history—i.e., family members getting married, immigrating to America, etc. This last time around, everyone got really creative and had some form of costume or prop. My grandfather’s role had been a barber, so he acted with this large pair of fake scissors created for him. At one point, the roles my dad and I played were supposed to be covered in hay, so we stuffed hay down our shirts and in our hair. My dad’s cousin’s husband played the immigration office at Ellis Island, so he stuffed a pillow up his shirt and wore a straw hat with a sign that read “Immigration Man.” My Uncle Matt takes his role very seriously and, when my character was telling him that I was pregnant out of wedlock (family history right here, folks), he dramatically said “What the hell’s gone wrong now!” and “Thank God the cow’s okay” after finding out about the pregnancy. It’s literally one of the best things ever.
But the plans for tonight are a little more calm. It will just be my parents, sister, and grandparents, and we’re planning on going to the brewery by the river for dinner. Graduation hoop-lah starts early in the morning, so we can’t stay up too late searching for ice cream—which happened the last time a lot of us were together, at my Uncle Paul’s wedding a few weeks ago. Even so, I know all of us being together will be exciting and it will be fun to show my grandfather around Cape, since he’s never been here before.
But I need not worry—Stephen is writing another segment for the next family reunion this summer and apparently this time we’re moving forward in time a bit. So who knows, maybe we’ll actually be playing ourselves.