In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist

First, Some Family Background

Although we and our siblings are often recognizable as having come from the same family, we are just as often totally different, both in views and lifestyles. And so it has been with my family.

Also, keep in mind that we are products of our century, our time, and our history.

My father, Poppy, came from a middle class family in Buffalo, New York. He did not go beyond his sophomore year in high school, but he had a brilliant mind and a charming personality. At the time when I was born, Poppy owned a paint manufacturing company in Cleveland, Ohio--very possibly financed with the aid of my mother's inheritance from a very rich lake freighter family.

My mother, Mother, was--to my knowledge--the last remaining heir of her family. My memory of her revolves around the sight of her sitting by the radio doing needlepoint or reading Redbook or Cosmopolitan. She was not what I would call an intellectual, but she was an example of her time and class.

My older sister, Liz, led a miserable life. She eventually ran off with--and married--a rodeo cowboy, and they had two little girls, Teensle and Toni. Why it is that such awful things happen to the most miserable people, I don't know, but Teensle got into a drawer of prescriptions and swallowed a bottle of pills--which killed her. And that took away whatever joy poor Liz had ever experienced in her life.

My younger sister, Cynthia, on the other hand, was the "little princess" of the family. Whereas I was large of bone and struggled with overweight, she was--and remains, from her pictures--the darling of the girls.

My brother, Gus, was the baby--and the pride--of the family. He loved classical music (as do I.) Except for one or two temporary jobs, he never worked, until my mother sent him off to learn how to conduct a classical orchestra. He conducted various orchestras (as a guest conductor, I assume) around Europe and the United States. Next to conducting, by far his greatest interest was himself.

As the second oldest sibling, I, Anne--aka Duck Duck, Rudy in boarding school and college, Mommy, Ma, or Mother (depending on mood or relationship at a particular time)--have had an up-and-down existence.

With pride and conviction, I can say that I am easily the most mentally endowed and practiced of all the rest of the family.

And so, with all modesty, I close this enumeration of my family members.