Monday, October 15, 2012


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Watching Call The Midwife (PBS Sunday evenings) has me thinking about the size of families. I mentioned in the post I wrote about the show that one of the mamas in Nurse Jenny Lee's care had her twenty-fifth child, which prompted my good friend Lotta Joy to ask if the babies just fall out of the mom at that point.
So now I'm wondering, how many siblings do you have? Do you think you come from a large family? Do you think your placement as oldest, middle, or youngest has affected you?

I once met a man who came from a family of 34 children -- eleven sets of twins and the rest single births. I couldn't verify the 34, but I did find the eleven sets of twins on a Web site.

When I was a reporter, I worked with a woman named Barb in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, who came from a family of 18. When I was a geriatric nursing assistant, I worked with a woman named Robin from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, who came from a family of 18. I asked, Do you have a sister named Barb who works at the newspaper? She said, No, but I have a sister named Barbara.

I thought it was interesting that little Waynesboro could boast of having at least two families with 18 children each.

These families make me feel that my five siblings and I didn't come from such a large family after all, but when I was a kid and the last in line to use our one bathroom, I thought our family was huge.

I've read that the oldest child in a family is usually a leader; the middle child or children keep quiet and go with the flow; and the youngest tends to be artsy and creative -- maybe even flaky.

Well, I'm the youngest. I hope I'm creative.

I'm definitely flaky.

My placement in the family has affected my life, and I'm afraid it's not a positive effect. I'm 53 and my four living siblings still treat me as if I'm the bane of their existence. I kinda feel as if I'm punished because our mom made the older kids take care of me. They would get in trouble if I got hurt or was fussy.

Thus, I stay away from family gatherings. I prefer to be treated as an adult, which my friends do.

Now, how about you:  How many siblings do you have? Do you think you come from a large family? Do you think your placement as oldest, middle, or youngest has affected you?

As always, I eagerly await your fascinating responses.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


  1. Dear Janie, my mom and dad had only two children--my little brother and me. I say little, but he is now 5 feet 11 inches and I am 5 feet 4. I always thought we came from a small family because a number of my classmates had several brothers and sisters with four seeming to be the average number of children in the families of my parents' friends.

    Both my brother and I are creative and both of us are born teachers (or so I think). He is three years younger than I but much smarter than I'll ever be and he's always been that way from the time he was small. He often uses analogies when he speaks and that's a sign of intelligence. I seldom do! My brother is very dear to me. And I think the feeling is mutual. Peace.

    1. Your brother must be as lovely as you are, Dee.

  2. I have 1 brother--older. I'm creative & WAY past flaky!!

  3. Only child here... But my Mother and Dad raised my two cousins after their parents were killed in a car crash, so in reality I'm a third (and littlest) child...

    1. How kind your parents were to take in your cousins. It must have felt very strange to you to suddenly not be an only child.

  4. Seven of us kids, but two died at birth. My mom was number 12 of 15. Turn of the century farm family.

    1. My paternal grandmother was the second of 14 children -- seven boys and seven girls. When my grandmother had children, her mom was still popping out babies.

  5. First time commenting on your blog; I can't imagine having all those siblings like the man with 34! Wow! Keeping track of birthdays would be next to impossible! I come from a family of three siblings; I'm the youngest, there's a boy in the middle, and then my sister is the oldest. I was spoiled as the "baby"; got my way a lot on things. My mom came from a family of 10; 6 girls, 4 boys. She was the youngest. She had a sister who had to quit school to help care for her; the sister was not happy about that and while kind to my mom, still held that against her for a lot of her life. My mom was the last of her siblings to die; I always wondered how she felt being the lone ranger so to speak of being the last one left.


    1. Welcome, Betty! I enjoyed your comment. It's very interesting. The family of 34 was broken up -- the kids were taken away from the parents. I don't know what happened to them. It seemed to be a sad story.

  6. I was the oldest of three. My brother and sister were both born three years after me--brother in Jan and sister (an accident) in Dec. I started babysitting them when they were both still in diapers. My mother was absent often and mostly ignored us a lot when she was home. My sister resented me (the substitute mom), was always competitive, angry, and a glass half empty sort of person. We have always been like oil and water--but she's forgiven me for trying to be the mom and sees the bigger picture now. My brother kind of removed himself from everyone...complete loner. Still don't really know him.

    I resented having all that responsibility at the time but without it I think I could have ended up a very different person...and not for the better.

    My room was my home/my sanctuary when I was growing up. I have carried my "home" with me all my a turtle. Everyone has always told me how comfortable they feel at my place--like they can totally relax and breathe. I've been told there's a peaceful, uplifting energy in my home...wherever I have formed it around me. I am glad my little sanctuary makes others feel good, too. :)


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