OM118 - Queen Victoria’s Grandchildren

John being a pretty good dad (OM118)

John knew he would be good at being a father because he had seen the incontrovertible proof that all kinds of people manage to have kids. There are many parents out there and there is obviously a wide variation in how good parents are. You can point out the ones who are truly bad parents and do bad things, while some parents are pretty darn good. There is a big fat middle where you can do a pretty average job and still get the job done. They never went to jail, but they never actually talked about their kids' feelings once. A lot of kids go to college in America today and that has always been the benchmark: Were you a good parent? Did your kids go to college? Are they more or less happy and well-adjusted?

John never expected that his kids were ever going to write a book about how their dad was the greatest dad who ever lived, but he knew he would be fine at it. John does not have an equivalent of ”No more wire hangers ever!” (Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest), a thing that Marlo would be telling her therapist about in 2030, except that John is an anachronism compared to most of her peers’ parents because he is a little bit older, he is a Rock musician, and he sleeps late. The worst thing for her is that she wakes him up every morning by rolling the carpet sweeper with one hand and tapping him on the shoulder with the other.

John’s family beeing late breeders (OM118)

John’s parents were both raised by Victorians. John’s grandparents were late breeders and his great-grandparents were late breeders. John’s dad was born in 1921 and Ken’s dad was born in 1949. John’s dad’s mother was born in 1886, John’s mom was raised by her grandparents and her grandmother was also born in 1886. Late breeders are good for giving kids cool ancestors for elementary school.

With the short Mormon generations on Ken’s side, his kids can say that grandpa was too young for World War II, but he fought in Korea. Their great-great-great-great-grandfather drove a Model A across America. John’s dad fought in WWII. John has pictures around his house of his ancestors who were just two generations away and they are absolutely wearing Victorian style. He has the papers from when his great-great-great-grandfather was pardoned by president Grant (in office 1869-1877) for his rebellion against the Union. That situation communicated a lot of anachronistic language to John and some values that felt old even in the 1970s, a sense of decorum and honor, that a family should be committed to public service, which was not what they were teaching you in the 1960s.

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