I kind of chuckled when Tranplanner mentioned a crazy relative (in a comment about a group vacation). This Bear had a crazy relative.....
My uncle Constantine was born in that part of the world that (depending on what year) was either Russia, Lithuania, Poland, or Belarus. He was the only uncle or aunt on my Dad's side of the family that was born in "the old country". He was the oldest of 4 boys and 2 girls.
All of the others were tall....."Count" was short and quite rotund. In his later years, with his bald head, he certainly looked like a Russian Count. However, as he aged he was often seen wearing a really silly-looking black hair piece......looking totally fake.
He liked to bowl (almost to the day he died). His wife (Gladys, who was blind) had passed-on many years ago. His profession had been as a chemist at the Pure Oil Refinery that helped to light the night skies of east Toledo, so many years ago. He was a regular church-goer. He was quite bright, an avid reader.
So......why refer to him as "crazy"?
He was a "pack rat". This man did not know how to throw anything away. When he died, my Dad was handling the estate. After the funeral we drove out to his modest home on a few acres, about a dozen miles east of the metro Toledo build-out. Incredible!
Because my Dad was aging and tired, I volunteered to start to go through the house and the possessions. I had access to a big step-van vehicle and a trash dumpster at my workplace, so for nearly an entire summer I would drive out.....everfy day after work....to Count's place and sort and trash the collection of a lifetime. On some weekends, my brother drove in from the eastern suburbs of Cleveland and he would help with the sort and trash. Here is a small sample of some of the stuff that Count had accumulated.....
About 20 bowling balls, all laying all over the yard (back, front, behind the garage).
Thousands of magazines, stacked in every room, creating very skinny access paths.
About a dozen guns, all loaded. I opened a kitchen drawer and pulled out a loaded gun.
Brand new, still in the original box: Ted William's Croquet Set (from Sear's).
Brand new, still in the original box: Chain-saw.
Antique (but damaged) wire recorder, full-size model.
Unopened package of nude women playing cards. (I opened them. )
Stacks of 78 RPM records.
Wooden cases that held original-size Coca-Cola bottles.
A camper, not taken care of, rotting floor, filled with wasps.
Ladders of all sizes and shapes.
Jars of liquid mercury.
A weight-loss device that you strap around you and it mechanically shakes the hexx out of you.
A wringer washing machine.
Newspapers stacked everywhere.
A large number of suspenders.....different shapes and colors.
A flame-thrower. For real.
He had sub-divided his basement into many rooms, all with tables or workbenches built into the walls. It was strange.....almost as if he would work on different projects and different work benches.
His basement included a cabinet that was in pristine condition, except for broken glass on the doors. He had nailed rubber casters to the bottom of the cabinet so it never picked-up any moisture from the basement floor. The cabinet was filled with newspapers, magazines, and books. That cabinet, with fresh glass I installed, remains in our living room today. We love it!
Count also had thousands of dollars in United States Silver Dollar Coins. However, the night they took him to the hospital, his wife's daughter went to the house (she had a key) and took all the money.
Uncle Count.....what a crazy guy. A collector.
You have any crazies hanging on your family tree? What say you?