The Apple Don’t Fall Far From The Nut Tree

One of my favorite childhood recollections is one where my whole family is gathered around the table for a big holiday meal. I glance over, and there’s one of my aunts looking right at me, completely serious…with an entire stalk of broccoli hanging out of her nose.

This is my family in a nutshell.

The most consistent theme running through my family memories is humor. Not just witty remarks and fart jokes, we’re talking complete lunacy. It would take a novel to recount all the bizarre/hilarious stories (and don’t think for a second I haven’t thought of that), but a recent conversation on a group email stream inspired me to really think about where I come from. The following conversation is verbatim, except where it isn’t, and yes, they are being completely serious. *names have been changed to protect the deranged. **yes, everyone still calls me Bethie, which I adore.

Polly: Meredith, do you have my braid of hair?

Anne: Yes, I believe I do. It’s somewhere around here in a paper bag.

Marge: Aunt Destiny’s hair? That has to go to Bethie when we’re all gone.

Polly: No, I’m talking about my hair. Aunt Destiny’s hair is being kept by Karen and probably won’t go to Bethie, although you never know. It does have to stay in the family. If they run out of people to hand it down to, it will have to come this way.

Me: What the what? A bag. Of hair. Why does Anne have a bag with your hair in it (ew)? And why is there some other hair (who is Aunt Destiny? that’s a stripper name btw) and why does her hair have to stay in the family? IAMNOTTAKINGIT.

Polly: Aunt Destiny’s hair is charmed. It is carried to ward off evil and disease. Generations ago, she died at a young age but had magnificent hair which they cut at her death. The family thought it brought good luck (but not for Aunt Destiny). So they kept it. Now our cousin Karen has it.

Marge: We’re a very superstitious family.

Me: How can I just be finding out about this? A bag of dead-girl-charmed-hair is a big matzo ball. You can’t just drop that in casual conversation. Wait, why does Anne have a paper bag of your hair, Polly?  Don’t tell me yours is “charmed” too? *winces while waiting for answer*f

Jane: What until you hear about the knife from Da’s shop. You’ll probably get that too.


Polly: Don’t listen to her. My hair is just from when I cut it all off ages ago. You couldn’t give it to the Cancer Society back then, so you just kept it. Somehow Anne ended up with it.

Me: Uh-huh. I can’t believe I’m going to ask this, but if your hair is in a paper bag, what is the charmed hair in?

Polly: An ivory case

Me: Of course it is

This is my family. They’re zany, superstitious, clever, dramatic, funny, creative, and you should avoid taking them in public.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How would you describe your family? Does yours have strange traditions or superstitions? Are there things about yourself you’re glad you got from them? Can’t wait to hear from you!



  1. I believe you can’t make that stuff up. the family sounds like a trip (I am not sure to where though). still not seeing how you get charmed hair from someone who died young…..


  2. I knew that somewhere in this world there had to be an official keeper of the hair. I’m so glad I found you. When you get a chance, read my post “Take That, Hot Flashes”, there’s something in there I’m putting into a bag and sending to you.


    1. KAREN! Don’t you dare send me creepy hair! I’ve got enough problems with my nut job aunts! I can’t find your post, btw. You don’t have a search engine. Need the link…


  3. I wanna hang out with your family! They sound like too much fun! My old Italian side has o many superstitions it’s funny.


  4. Haha this is excellent– my family is pretty weird but I don’t think we’re carrying around any hair or fingernails or anything… We mostly just pick on each other and hit where it hurts. Let me know if that whole braid thing really gives the good ju ju!


    1. I’d like to say my plan is to refuse any hair that comes my way, but I know myself too well. *sigh* If it’s “charmed” then I’ll convince myself I have to keep it or horrible luck will befall my family. If I have to go through the humiliation of telling my husband why I have an ivory case of old-dead-kids-hair, it had better bring my ass some ju ju.


  5. Your aunts are the kind of people I like to hang with!
    When people start talking about their dysfunctional families, I always win most dysfunctional. So many stories that would make your eyes bug out. Yet they are so much fun. I love getting together with them all, trading stories and laughing at all the old ones.


    1. our get-togethers are hysterical, seriously. And no one is trying to be funny, that’s what’s so damn funny. They’re just loony tunes. I could have put so much in this email, but was trying to keep it brief. 🙂

      cool that yours is fun, too! I love that.


  6. HAHAH best line I’ve read all day? This one: “A bag of dead-girl-charmed-hair is a big matzo ball.” Love it! My family is weird but we’re usually quieter about it. Can I come over for Thanksgiving? Please????


    1. Some of my funniest memories and stories are from Thanksgiving! For some reason, this holiday really unleashes the crazy. My aunts are really nuts, but at the get-togethers my brother and cousins make me laugh just as hard. There is wine, football, board games, sarcasm, bad jokes, more wine, and all-around strange behavior. It’s Awesome.



    I am dying. Seriously, they sound hysterical. My family is crazy too, but they don’t believe that a braid has magical charms. Can I come by for Thanksgiving or Sunday dinner sometime? I’d love to take notes and write them into a book.

    But seriously, you’re my new favorite blogger lately. Props to you. I’m rarely so entertained every time I read a blog 😉


  8. Love this. Meandered over to you from the lovely @So Done … Lovely to have discovered your world.
    The best part about this is that your Aunties aren’t trying to be funny. That’s it in a nutshell.


  9. This is why we love you. Our family is just as crazy. Mathair’s side is all Irish and they are so superstitious that they get violent if someone doesn’t take them seriously. When I was four, I knocked the salt shaker over and my Grandma Jackie freaked out until I threw what had spilled over my left shoulder and my great uncle was convinced that he was haunted by his dead mother as well. Great post, Beth.


    1. Hi ladies! I’ve missed you! OMG – is it an Irish thing cuz that side of my family (my mom’s side) is full-on Irish! I never even thought about that. That’s SO funny about you having to throw the salt over your shoulder, and how your great Uncle thought he was haunted by his dead mother! You have NO idea how many similar stories I could share with you – haha! Thanks for visiting, my sisters!


    1. Hey Martin! Ew, broccoli in the kettle? What was it doing there? Was it there on purpose? Or she didn’t know it and had been steeping tea with it in there for ages? I’ve gotta know, Martin!


      1. Put it this way – it was a relief to finally find out the mystery of why the coffee there was so hideous (we just thought the coffee was old & stale). I think it had been there for months, if not longer, makes my stomach turn just thinking about it.


  10. Wow! This explains so much. Hey, I’ll be honest…I would much rather have an interesting albeit wacky family than a boring one any day of the week. We could trade some crazy relative stories but you’ve probably got me beat with the hair thing! But you’ve got me thinkin’….


  11. I actually clicked over to read this and will be going back to read the otter story. I’m so grateful that I got my kindness from my family. It may sound corny but I’m just being real in my answer. As far as traditions those all seem to disappear once divorce reared it’s head when I was a young kid. But, I absolutely love hearing about others traditions, Bethteliho! 🙂


    1. Yes, I also know about divorce…ugh! I’m fortunate that my mom’s side of the family had all the traditions so they stayed in place regardless of the split, but there’s always fall-out no matter what so I feel your pain.

      I love that you’re enjoying my crazy stories and my lil blog! You’re awesome, Mike!


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