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We fought frequently. When you have that many people crammed into a house, arguments are inevitable. We slept with 3–4 kids per bedroom. I remember sleeping in the I tried to be a good girl but then the campfire was lit and there was beer shirt and I will buy this same bed with two siblings when I was very young. It was great. When you have single-pane windows with frost on the inside, sleeping between two warm bodies is a luxury. On the other hand, fighting over limited resources was a frequent occurrence. One nice thing about having a large family was always having someone to play games with. With just our own family, we easily could play basketball, tag, other outdoor games, Monopoly, and other board games. And there was always someone old enough to drive so that we could get to school without the bus, get to band/sports practice, and other school events. Both of our parents had jobs outside the home. My father worked in a factory and worked the farm, of course, he had lots of free labor in me and my siblings. My mother worked several jobs – seasonal jobs, factory work, wedding cook, etc. So, in many ways, my older siblings raised me. Two of my sisters eventually became school teachers. They served as my surrogate mother – helping with homework, etc. You learn from older siblings. I always wondered how an only child learned the ropes in many areas of life. As a large family grows they tend to spread out. We now have 99 living members of our family including 12 of the original 17 siblings, their children, spouses, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. As you grow apart and grow older, you start to lose touch with each other. Fortunately in this day of social media, email, texting, etc., we still stay in touch even though we are far apart. People get older. People die. We see each other less often and often it is at a major family reunion, a marriage, or a funeral. I get questions from people who hear I am from a big family like – do you know everyone’s name, birth date, etc.? Of course I know all of my siblings birthdays. Admittedly, it gets difficult to keep all of the names straight when it comes to great-nieces and nephews – especially those who I may not see for five years or more. One thing that helps keep us together and connected is our family calendar. We are on the 29th edition of a self-produced calendar that features a picture page each month for each family.
Lastly, it is great having a large family to share knowledge, share problems, share life experience. Friends are great. Family offers a different level of closeness. You literally share a blood bond. You can (and should) share information about medical conditions. If you have some disease, condition, or malady of some sort, it is likely one of your children, nieces, nephews may get it. Having someone in the I tried to be a good girl but then the campfire was lit and there was beer shirt and I will buy this family who is a dentist or nurse or engineer or healthcare consultant or in law enforcement is great and I have all of those. If you have a question that you may feel uncomfortable asking a stranger, you can ask your sister or nephew for advice. Family, of course, are related to you by blood, regardless if they are part of your immediate family or extended family. They love you and you love them back normally, you ride with them, you die with them, you cherish every last moment with them. Your family are the first people you see, excluding the hospital worker next to your mom because there’s your mom, of which you came out through her vagina, of course. In return for giving birth to you, raising you in a healthy manner for 9 months, etc. you love your mom, your dad for not pulling out!, your grandpa for not pulling out again! and your grandma for not aborting. Because people want to leave their accumulated wealth to their families human nature those lucky enough to receive or who have actually earned a largish accumulation of assets, lobby for rules and regulations which make it easier to keep that accumulation and easier to grow that accumulation and easier to pass it along also human nature. In other words, those with money make the rules, and the rules they make allow themselves to build up more wealth, and then pass along more wealth, than those of modest means can. Someone with a very modest estate will likely see their heirs taxed at a much higher rate than someone with a multi-million dollar estate, because the multi-millionaire has hired CPAs and Attorneys to take advantage of every special rule for avoiding taxes while obtaining the highest possible returns, and use every technique in their day to day lives to increase their wealth, and the amount of assets that can be passed along, tax free.