December 9, 2023

That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon marks


One Plus Five:

By some standards, I grew up in a large family. I have five siblings. A generation before me, eight to ten was typical, and my parents came from typical families. My mother had seven siblings and my father had nine. I have some cousins that were older than my mom was.

I was nearly eight when my third brother was about to be born. Counting my older sister and me that would make five. I was worried. My sister had told me that every fifth baby born in the world was Chinese. Of course, back then we had no idea if it was going to be a girl or a boy, except for the fact that my mother, after having my sister, swore she would never have another girl. So far, she had been right. My fears were unfounded. The fifth and even the sixth were not Chinese. Moreover, Mom was right; five boys followed the one girl.

There were pros and cons for my sister being the only girl. She had her own room, while the rest of us five boys were all stacked in the third bedroom. It was not until she left home that we split up, two and a half in each room.

Sis had plenty of opportunities to help with chores around the house, too. Even though we boys helped some, we were not expected to be very good at it, and most of the time it was better to get us the heck out of the way. A wise old farmer I once worked for, Melvin J. Fingado, used to say when it comes to helping out, “One boy’s half a man, two boy’s half a boy, three boys is no boys at all.” With five, you actually finish up worse than when you started. East Branch, New York did not need tornadoes, it had the Marks boys.

The five boys ganged up on our sister. Being the oldest, she could handle one or two of us at a time, but all together, it was like being stoned to death with cotton balls. We never had real fights, but there were some serious wrestling matches. Even in verbal battles, she would hold her own for a while, but in the end, she was simply out-numbered. In addition, being boys, what we said did not need to make sense; often it was better if it did not.

How do you argue with someone who says, “Well, you’re dumb too. See, he’s not Chinese.” She made the mistake of trying to respond logically to every argument. It is like keeping five different conversations going simultaneously, with no more than two making any sense.

Occasionally, one of us boys would say something especially stupid and the tide would change. Old alliances were broken and new ones formed. It would still be five against one, but the teams were different. Those episodes did not last nearly as long, because the loudest argument became the best argument, until Mom would shut it down.

We scattered to the winds after we left home. Six siblings live in five different states, New York to Arizona, Virginia to Nevada, with a stop in Nebraska along the way. We did not have much contact for a while, but we have become closer again in the last few years. Spouses have changed the odds, so some battles are not so lopsided, while others are even more so. Everybody’s fair game and we all get our turn in the barrel. I would not have it any other way.

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes
One Response to “That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon marks”
  1. Delcia Claxton says:

    Thanks for not telling everyone what a brat I could be!
    I love being your favorite sister.

Leave A Comment