Knowing one’s family is odd isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Knowing one’s family is odd isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Since the 10 of us had vastly different talents, we could be pretty sure that any one of us could get the rest of us out of whatever current mess we were in.

My brothers Joe and Moe were mostly pains in the neck. If I wanted to go to the drive-in movies with my boyfriend, no matter who was manning the entrance,

all I ever heard was some guy telling my date, “She can’t come in, she’s Joe Lane’s/Moe Lane’s sister.”

If I tried a different night, or a different gate, the message to my boyfriend would still be the same. “Sorry fella, she’s not allowed in.”

Sometimes the gate guy would even have the nerve to suggest that my date and I go play miniature golf, as if I were 10 years old, as opposed to being 15 and 3/4 years old and a very mature 15 and 3/4 years old, at that.

As you can imagine, these brotherly restrictions galvanized me. I was almost 16, not a baby, and if I wanted to go to the movies, I was going to go.

Unfortunately, the stories about my many unusual and (always) unsuccessful efforts to get into the drive-in became legend. And, I found out later, the guys at the entrance gates had bets as to whether or not I was ever going to get passed them. I hated my brothers, and their friends. I also hated my boyfriend’s car’s trunk. It was way smaller and stinkier than I thought it would be.

I decided I didn’t want to go to the stupid drive-in, anyway. Becoming popular and going to the popular kids’ parties would be my new focus.

Living in a rural area, with country mile distances, made it hard for me to get to the really cool parties*. When I finally made it to one, it was seriously loud, and insane, and intimidating. I may have been innocent, but I wasn’t stupid. When Moe showed up, and offered to get me home in one piece, I was happy to see him.

It’s funny. My sister Ginger and I only recently realized this. If we came home with one of our brothers, our dad didn’t bother us with his usual cross-examination about our whereabouts, on the night in question …

And, hey! What were our brothers doing at those really cool parties?


*The ones closer to New York State, where the legal drinking age was 18.