February 8, 2021

the history of a family quote, and it's a small world

When we went to Michigan in August, Lad opted not to come. He caddied while we were gone for a man, Jack, who offered him a job at one of his many car dealership (but didn't mention which location).

Because it’s a small world and nothing is ever simple, I used to babysit for Jack’s kids. I started  when I was expecting Lad and putting Coach through PT school. As a teen I'd sat for Jack’s brother Dave’s kids. Over the summer, Ed had an accounting internship at one of Dave’s dealerships. Should I draw a family tree here?

Anyway, it turned out that Lad’s new job was in a far north suburb, over 40 miles from our house. We didn’t tell him that he couldn’t take the job but we sort of assumed/hoped he wouldn’t. Remember, we walked on eggshells with Lad all summer.

We'd hoped that Lad would complete a neuropsych evaluation and get the medical help that he clearly needs BEFORE HE STARTED A NON-CADDY JOB. He had a head CT. Never followed up: bloodwork, results, etc. Long story, but we urged him to get the test pointing to his occasional headaches since his last concussion 18 mos ago (this is a snippet of a different story, that I shared a while back).

He started working at the dealership that, it turned out, is owned by Jack’s oldest daughter - one that I used to sit for. She remembers infant Lad coming to her house with me when she was 12. If he wanted to give car sales a try, we were supportive. We wondered how long he'd stick with it. I braced for the fact that he'd be working for someone who I consider a 'family friend' and hoped it wouldn't end badly.

When the drive was annoying or something inconvenient happened, Lad insisted that we pressured him to take the job. Nothing could be farther from the truth. He creates his own reality.

SO THE CRAZY PART . . . just before he started the job I asked him where in the town the dealership was located. The town ‘Justiceville’ is ironically the same town where Coach and I met. I moved into a house down the street from Coach, ‘the boy next door’, the day before my first day of freshman year of high school started. My younger brother, Pat, was in Coach’s 8th grade class and they became good friends.

You didn't know you'd be getting a history lesson today, did you?

I took this photo of my old house back in
September when Coach and I had to go up to Justiceville for something.

It was 1985 and not a great time to buy/sell a house. My folks were devastated because they'd built the house that they now had to sell. They'd thought that they live in it forever. We were all sad. The house that we moved into (above photo) was a downgrade.

Our new house, in Coach’s neighborhood, backed up to a car dealership. Justiceville is known for the plethora of dealerships.

This dealership had just been built. At the end of our yard there was a berm, which took the shape of a substantial hill - great for sledding. The dealership was planting evergreens along the berm to give the houses privacy. There were meetings about rules: lighting, volume of loud speakers, etc. Mom attended all meetings.

One day she was lying on the couch in the family room watching TV. It was warm. Windows open. Mom shot up to attention like someone had just pinched her.

She called the dealership. We listened. It went like this:

 Yes, this is Patrica McIrish. I need to speak to the manager. Yes, well they just paged me. I am sitting in my family room and I heard over your loudspeakers MRS. MCIRISH PLEASE CALL 123-4567. So I'm calling. Ya know,

I’m not one to complain BUT, you ARE NOT supposed to have the speakers up that loud. You're testing me. See, I CAN hear every announcement you make. I’ve attended every single town meeting about the rules and we just moved into this house, and YOU need to turn your speakers down.

This, my friends, is the day the loud speakers at the dealership were heard ‘round the world’ - or more accurately ‘in our family room’. Mom’s pledge that she was not one to complain BUT . . . became one of our most quoted family sayings.

From that date if ever someone in my family of origin complained about something, they prefaced it with that catchy little phrase. 

So, that day when Lad gave me the address for his new job I punched it into google maps, and a moment later I shot up off of the couch

Me:  Coach, it’s the dealership behind my old house! (In our old stomping ground where Coach courted me)

The significance of this was completely lost on our offspring. I lived in that house through high school, college, and a few years after college until I bought my condo. Lad's job is at the same dealership (now different owners) that once paged Mom to test her claims of too-loud-speakers. That dang town is riddled with dealerships, what were the chances he was going to work in my old backyard? 

I had to share that story with you because as we roll forward on this blog I will now begin each ‘complaining post’ with the infamous and totally appropriate quote from Mom:

I’M NOT ONE TO COMPLAIN, BUT (big emphasis on but, as it should be) . . 

Yes, a post in which I share things that get under my skin will follow this. Get excited.


Kari said...

LOL. Well, I now know where he works. Not the actual dealership but the town. That is a funny story; not funny that they could hear all those pages because that would be quite annoying. Considering how much those homes cost, having them back up to those dealerships, I would be angry too! :)

Suz said...

Hilarious! ALL of it. The phrase, the paging, the coincidences! What are the chances? Pretty slim I would say.
Hey, I'm not one to complain, but you didn't say if Lad was still working there or not.
I had to....

Kara said...

I love "small world" stories. The world is equally big and very small all at once.

Ernie said...

Kari - Ha, of course you can envision exactly what street/dealership I'm referring to. Just south of Golf Rd. Talk about a small world. It was weird having that dealership behind us, but honestly I feel like it was more private than having a house backing up directly behind our house. Those evergreens got big fast. And the berm was pretty big. Our yard was pie shaped so the back was big and deep. But yes, waiting for them to work out approved volume control drove my mother batty. We were wiseass teenagers and relentlessly mocked her. Hmm, I don't know what that's like. ;)

Ernie said...

Suz - YES, Lad is still working there. Pretty surprised that he's lasted there so long. Too bad my folks or even Coach's folks don't live in that neighborhood. Rather than drive 40 plus miles home, Lad could sled down into my old yard and walk into the house. Coach's brother lives about 3 miles from dealership, so in the next snowstorm he might stay there. Coach's brother's best friend DOES live in my old neighborhood. Walking distance to the dealership. Brother and his buddy talked about taking Lad to lunch while he was struggling so much and having a talk. Unfortunately Lad wasn't 'there' yet. Anyway, we got him surrounded now. All good.

Oh my - the day my mom heard the dealership test her over the loudspeaker. SO FUNNY! She has not been able to live it down.

Ernie said...

Kara - So true! Yes small world stories are so fun. What are the chances?

Charlie said...

I’m excited! And I love family sayings!

Ernie said...

Charlie - I know it's a pandemic and we all have things to complain about, but I think my whining will give you something to chuckle about. That saying is epic in our family.

Nicole MacPherson said...

Wow, what a neat coincidence! It is truly a small world. It's neat to see your childhood home, I drove past mine not long ago and wondered who lives there now.

Ernie said...

Nicole - It is so nuts that he works right in my old backyard. Too funny. This house is a hike from where I currently live, but the house I consider the one that I truly grew up in (age 6- age 14) is very close to where I live and occasionally I drive by it. Lad's best buddy in preschool lived in the same neighborhood as this nearby house - in the same exact model. The mom had my mom and I over to take a walk down memory lane once because the inside was just like our old house. So fun.

Beth Cotell said...

The fact that they PAGFED your mother and she HEARD it is killing me!! She must have already done an extensive amount of complaining to get them to do that. :)

Anonymous said...

I think my family would die laughing if I used the “I’m not one to complain, but...”, so I’m definitely going to start. 😁
I’m generally a pretty positive person but I, like you, speak my mind... sometimes loudly. And most of my family members see that as complaining.
Hilarious that the dealership was taunting your mom, and that she returned the page!

Bibliomama said...

The one we make fun of my mom for is from when we were all staying at a cottage and she was commenting on the kids' sleeping arrangements: "It's none of my business BUT if Jonah is alone in a room he's going to feel really left out". Us: "It's none of my business BUT here's my opinion IN THE VERY SAME SENTENCE". She took it pretty well.

Ernie said...

Ali - I love that. Yes, I can see a grandma swearing that it's none of her business BUT HEY I DON'T WANT MY GRANDKID TO FEEL LEFT OUT . . . so funny.