Not Really Related

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They lived next door to us when I was growing up and for the longest time I thought we were related. We called them Uncle Kenny and Aunt Ellen and they spoiled us rotten. When I got old enough to understand, mom explained the non relation of the almost relation with those dear neighbors.


My Uncle Van, whose real name was Amos, but growing up they called him Windy when they weren’t calling him Myrtle, married Mary Cimino. Hang on to your hats this could get a bit confusing. Mary Cimino’s parents were Joseph Cimino and Rose Cardman. Rose Cardman’s sister was Ellen Cardman Gill, my Aunt Ellen. We also called Ellen’s sister Aunt Carrie, her real name was Catherine Beatrice Cardman Dent, and she and Uncle Larry Dent were also near and dear to us. I can’t remember calling any of the rest of Aunt Ellen’s family aunt or uncle, of which there were 13 of them total, so it is no wonder as a kid I was so confused. In Aunt Mary’s family there was another 12 members.


Uncle Van and Aunt Mary lived in Galeton, Pennsylvania. I can vividly remember the house that sat on a bank; all of the houses on that street had backyards opened to one another. They were also mostly owned by Aunt Mary’s family. One phone call that we had come to visit set out a chain of calls that created a swarm of humanity in the backyard, all related to someone I may or may not have been truly related to and then food was produced.


There was an old fashioned water pump in the backyard and I remember pumping it to bring ice cold water out of the ground. I was fascinated with this item and I wonder if it is still there and functioning. Across the street from Van and Mary’s house was a creek that the neighbor kids would dam up with rocks and swim in during the summer. I also remember it being ice cold too. Uncle Van had bought the very first 8-track tape deck, an enormous piece of equipment by today’s standards, that I had ever seen and he was so proud of it.


I started finding family information on these non related folks and to add to the complete confusion, most all of them had a nickname, Choppy, Ching, Teenie, Libby, the list goes on and on. Mom has been trying to help me sort out the assorted non relation and is getting herself confused between real names, families and nicknames.


1 comment

  1. I was much closer to my "Aunt" Clara than any of my true aunts. My kids call our best friends aunt & uncle. Then there are the aunts and uncles of my step-son that are not really related to my other son & daughter but they call them aunt & uncle anyway. My photo albums are full of pictures of these people. I think the only way to sort it all out for the grandkids is to get ot all written down in a family history. Good luck untangling everyone!

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