I must confess, it isn't currently late here in Salt Lake City, but I've been mulling around about this topic since the pre-dawn hours last night.

My family is quirky. Not my present family (my children might strenuously disagree), but my birth family. My mother seems, to me, to have been the only reasonably normal one in the group. True, she was given to bursting into pop songs of the 40's and 50's at the drop of a hat, and she did have a fondness for hot pink and fuschia, but, altogether, she was on the sane side of the psychiatrist's couch.

My dad, an Appalachian who escaped small-town life as soon as he was able, was passionately interested in a variety of topics - true crime of the 30's, astronomy, politics, alternative origin theories, etc. He was tremendously UN-interested in primetime TV, lawn care, barbeques, and sports. He fought a lifelong battle with serious depression, a battle my mother's lighthearted nature was an effective counter-balance to.

All of us were voracious readers. I enjoyed murder mysteries, logic puzzles, and long, classic books. My brothers leaned to fantasy fiction, science fiction, and adventure. My sister flitted from one genre to another. We were competitive players at Monopoly, cards, and other games.

My poor mother had to wonder whether they switched babies at birth. None of us shared her sunny disposition (alas, my father's tendency to gloom appears to have been hereditary), her enjoyment of pop culture, or her sociable nature. We were bookish, naturally solitary, and prone to cranky outbursts of temper. None of us cracked the code of getting along with people until well into middle age.

I'm glad we grew up when we did. In today's environment, I feel confident that we would have been diagnosed, dosed, and had our quirks ironed out. I don't know that we would have been better off.


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