The plot twist with a 90-year gap

When I was a kid, listening to stories about my grandmother’s family struck me as an intriguing mashup of some of my favorite TV shows: “The Brady Bunch” meets “Eight is Enough” on the set of “Little House on the Prairie.”

I loved shows about big, boisterous families, and it amused me to no end that if you added the six kids in the first show to the eight kids in the second, you got the total number of kids in the Gerber family.

Grandma Annie-Bananie with her baby sister, Great Aunt Josephine (aka Jokie), in the summer of 2013.

Grandma Annie-Bananie with her baby sister, Great Aunt Josephine (aka Jokie), in the summer of 2013.

One of my favorite “episodes” from Grandma Annie-Bananie’s childhood was the time that Big Brother Gaius sliced his foot with a scythe and was being hauled into town via horse and buggy, only to have Little Brother Alvin fall out of the hay mow and break his arm while they were gone.

Ninety years later, a similar episode of medical mayhem occurred this week when four of the last remaining five siblings wound up in the same hospital, all on the same night. Sylven, age 101, was already there getting his broken hip operated on. His brother Floyd, sister Leona and baby sister Jokie all showed up later with ailments of their own.

The result: Two broken hips, a respiratory ailment that turned out not to be pneumonia and a blood-pressure issue.

At one point, Jokie told me when I stopped by to see her yesterday, one of Floyd’s daughter’s went into what she thought was an empty examining room next door to make a phone call, only to discover Leona was there.

It sounds like everybody’s recovering as well as can be expected. The last I heard, the plan was to stand Sylven up yesterday just a few hours after surgery. He was given 50-50 odds of surviving the surgery, given his age, but the alternative to operating on his hip was spending several months in bed. And that was unacceptable to a guy who didn’t completely retire from farming until two years ago.

The Gerber family, shown here in 1951. Jehu, who stood just 5 feet, 4 inches tall and always wore a bow tie in his later years, was 34 when he married Lydia, then 22, in 1907.

The Gerber family, shown here in 1951. Jehu, who stood just 5 feet, 4 inches tall and always wore a bow tie in his later years, was 34 when he married Lydia, then 22, in 1907.

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5 Responses to The plot twist with a 90-year gap

  1. bgddyjim says:

    I always love these posts… I came from a medium-sized family (four siblings plus me) but we’re thin on both parent’s sides. The bigger families fascinate me.

  2. OmniRunner says:

    We used to watch “The Waltons”. My grandmother lived with us and lived through those times. She never liked to talk about the past much, which is unfortunate. I always imagined that many things we saw on The Waltons were familiar to her.
    Including my grandmother, there were seven of us in my house when I was growing up. We were an average sized family for our neighborhood.
    Anduy

  3. tischcaylor says:

    Yes, I thought about the Waltons after I wrote this. Just seven kids in that family, though, and we didn’t watch it as much, or maybe it didn’t resonate as much with me then. (More likely: The teen actors weren’t as cute.) Makes me want to go back and watch it now, though.

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