March 2018

Back to Issue 3

Family History

By Natalie D-Napoleon

She used to wear mini skirts and drive a red mini. He used to spray DDT because it gave his Dad headaches. He left school at 14, 12 years later she left school at 14 as well. Her father said girls didn’t need an education. He was the only son of five children. He told his children a Rhodes scholar used to copy his work at school. His four children rolled their eyes at him. The grandfather pulled him out of high school after one year to run the family farm. The Dad said the only reason he left home at 33 was because of the mini skirt.  The 21 year-old long, brown legs agreed.  There was a lamb on the spit, stuffed with onions and garlic. There was necking in the car at the King’s Park lookout. A wig and a June wedding, fur cuffs on the bridesmaid’s sleeves, bags of sugared almonds. Two Yugoslav families each glad to find one of their own. There was a fresh concrete pad and a house on Hotpsur Road less than a mile from his parent’s house; a lawn-mowing job, an inheritance, then a return to the farm work. There was an Encyclopedia Britannica read from A to Z. There were two people working the fields six days a week, cabbage ice-creams for the kids and dugites in the cucumbers. There was a surgery to strip the varicose veins on the long, brown legs. There was a litter of rabbits buried in the carrots by the father’s hand. At the father’s funeral the Rhodes scholar came up to the eldest daughter and told her how he used to copy off her Dad at school. He told her how he had such a brain. How he could have done anything with his life. This time, she didn’t roll her eyes.