veritable.

WordBowl Word-of-the-Day from media entreprenuer/Yankee fan/data analysis champion, the insatiably curious  K. Nanus

veritableword

In a town populated by blonde Baptists, our family — a dark-haired Catholic multitude — attracted attention, five kids in a land of two (parents)-by-two (progeny), five kids raised yes-ma’am, yes-sir, five kids who dared not contradict our elders, a plethora of politeness.

We were recognizable, interchangeable, a lump sum. Even our camera-exhausted parents passed off photographs of me — as the eldest, my young life was well-documented — as those of my sister, and it was years before Babiest Brother realized what he thought of as his baby photos were mostly his oldest brother’s. We have no Polaroids or Sears Portraits chronicling our collective childhood.

Veritable brainstorm, while writing another WordBowl word

Veritable brainstorm, while writing another WordBowl

There were occasional advantages to the gaggle of us: Blackberry picking in the still-wild adjacent woods, we gathered enough berries for a pie with some left over to top our Cheerios. Christmas mornings — even in the financially hazardous years —we gasped at first glimpse of our den, piled with presents. Later, wading through discarded wrapping paper, we acknowledged our individual hauls as perhaps a bit sparse, but the aggregate was staggering.

Summers — before my bothers reached the collective ages for baseball to dominate the season — we ruled the pool at The Racquet Club, organized raucous games of Marco Polo, Touch-the-Drain, aquatic Red Rover.The only way for someone else to win was to get us fighting amongst ourselves, not too difficult a task given the constant jockeying and scrambling for personal attention within our family itself.

Individual flattery worked, too.

End-of-the-season PORCH SWING (bourbon, house sweet tea, mint) cocktail at the southern-tinged restaurant The Readhead

End-of-the-season PORCH SWING (bourbon, house sweet tea, mint) cocktail at The Readhead

During the inevitable summer storms we would mad-dash to the ramshackle clubhouse, forage for loose change between vinyl seat cushions to feed the vending machines for icy cans of Barq’s Famous Olde Tyme Root Beer and Orange Fanta. We commandeered packs of playing cards from the lifeguards, surly at the interruption of their tanning schedule and, stripped of their high perch and reflective shades, reduced to mere mortal babysitters. We played War and Pounce and our own made-up game we called “poker” to justify penny gambling. We waited out the rain, until our pruned fingers softened to normal, our saggy suites dried in stiff creases.

When the skies cleared, we went right back at it, slip-sliding off the diving board, shouting and squabbling, ganging up on those who opposed us. Courteous with the parents strolling by, racquets swinging, their tennis whites glowing against deep tans, calling out for us to mow their lawns, babysit, tutor, ask our father — the retired major leaguer — to consider private coaching for their baseball-besotted sons. We were responsible in ways smaller-familied children were not. We assumed nothing our due, we were grateful for small kindnesses, we were too young to chafe at largesse. We were humble before adults, our Church, our teachers.

To outsiders there was something special, extraordinary even, about so many children so alike and well-mannered and industrious. Our last name morphed into a modifier, an emphasis. The very repetitiveness of us made us exemplary.

Our collective name defined us even as we grew, and separated ourselves from the herd.

Barqs

“veritable” handwritten at Southern-tinged restaurant The Redhead (east village, nyc) and edited over an iced pour-over coffee at Amor y Amargo (east village, nyc).

Want to enter the WordBowl Word Lotto? Fill out the form below! 

5 thoughts on “veritable.

  1. I love this one. Brings back memories of days on end at the local pool. And I get that sense of “surface” look and great sense of belonging to a family and yet that not being the full picture always

    Anyway, love you! I’m still celebrating your birth day

    PS Oh and we (#15) lost today to the # 2 team. A whole lot to a whole zero. Oh well. Fun was had.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

  2. The insight into a family of size is intriguing. They say if you were born six years apart from your nearest siblings you are essentially, socially, and psychologically, an only child. I was an only child. Sure as hell wouldn’t pan out that way in a familial herd, though, I’ll bet. Thank you for the view, my characters will make good use of it.

    Like

  3. loved this one. i especially enjoyed the picture part, because in my family of 5 children, the first two had those “sears” type pictures and the next three were barely photographed at all.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s