So I was over at my mother’s house the other day, and the topic of her family came up. Okay, that’s not a stretch: my mother’s Jamaican. Family comes up as soon as everyone’s awake. This time, however, we were reminiscing about her father. He died over ten years ago, but a guest didn’t believe any of the stories that we were telling (like the fact that, my mother says, that we are eleven generation descendants of Capt. Morgan. Yeah, the rum guy). So she whips out her father’s obituary:

Hubert Morgan
Late of Garland, St. James, born 7.10.1907, died 8.12.93 – leaving 49 children, 139 grandchildren, 59 great grandchildren, and 3 great, great grandchildren
.

No, those numbers aren’t typos. He had his last kid when he was 82. Look, I saw him in action. He was this doddering old man, frail and helpless, until a pretty, young woman walked by. Then he stood erect, insert joke here, would walk over to her, then start talking that talk. Yeah, he had his last kid at 82, the mother was 19. The man could talk. Okay, the fact that he held a lot of property helped.

In case you hadn’t figured it out, not all of his kids were with my grandmother. I believe that the official number that he had with her was 16. Then one day she says that she has to go to the grocery store for some bread. She leaves, gets on a plane, and goes to England. She came back for his funeral. All the other mothers were also in attendance; they also showed up for the reading of the will. Before the will was read, my grandmother turned around and said “we never divorced. You can all leave now.”

I love my family. You learn to embrace the weirdness.

Confused yet? Then comes my father’s side of the family. If you wonder why black people haven’t “gotten over” the whole slavery thing, keep this in mind: I found out that the reason my last name is Broaddus (with two Ds) instead of Broadus (with one ‘D’) is due to a spelling error on some transfer receipts. There’s nothing like trying to trace your family tree, then barely getting three generations before you have to start sifting through receipts.

This is a long way to answer the question that prompted this: how many brothers and sisters do I have? Between my mother and father, there are three of us, I’m the oldest, then my brother, then–after a nine year gap–my sister. We then adopted a female cousin about a year younger than my sister (she’s serving over in Iraq right now). I also have two other half-sisters, but since we don’t play the half/step game, I have two other sisters.

That’s my family bush.

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