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Things that are ugly…

nan's chest

Isn’t this lovely? Why no, it is not. This is the ugliest scrap of ancient Weasel family legacy kitsch I own (and that’s saying a Very Great Deal). My heart clenched when I opened this box tonight. It’s bumblebee yellow and black…did I mention?

This handsome item was hand painted by my cousin Nan, who — as far as I know — was neither epileptic nor had a metal plate in her head of any kind. She was actually my grandmother’s first cousin, which makes me related to her only below the Mason Dixon line. Grandmother was a great friend to Cousin Nan, despite the terrible dark blotch on her past. How disappointed I was to learn Nan’s dark secret was a youthful d-i-v-o-r-c-e.

Cousin Nan was hot shit.

For most of her life, she was a seamstress nine months of the year, sewing fine gowns for rich ladies and saving her pennies. Then in the Summers, she would hop a banana boat for points South. That was back when freight boats always carried a few passengers (do they still?). She loved South America.

By the time I remember her, she had retired to California, very old and very deaf and unprepared to accept either. When she came to visit, she was a total liability in public. She would lean over in a movie theater and shout in your ear, “oh my god, would you look at that big fat woman in the next row?” Eh. Bless her.

By an odd coincidence, my dad and stepmother were in her home town for some kind of function and dropped by to visit her one day in the mid 1980s. First time ever, I think. My stepmother swears she looked up as they left and saw the curtain twitch.

At any rate, Cousin Nan was raped and murdered by a stranger later that day. It would be flattery to call her attacker a serial killer. He was an animal who had himself a brief, nasty spree…savaged a few women and got caught within the week. My dad was called to testify about the timing. Murderous asshole’s probably out by now.

Anyhow, we all took turns sticking each other with examples of Cousin Nan’s art. Because it’s horrible, but what are you going to do?

March 6, 2009 — 8:23 pm
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