So we have this mystery in our family.
It’s a bit of an odd mystery.
Have you ever had that sensation of remembering something from your childhood that was just plain weird and totally illogical, and then one day realizing that your parents must have been teasing, or talking about something else? That may be too vague to explain what I’m talking about, but here’s our family mystery:
My Mom remembers, plain as day, as a normal occurrence in her childhood, her Mom (Mammaw) telling her about her pet monkey that she had as a child.
Yes. Mammaw had a pet monkey. In the 1930’s.
Sounds logical, no?
Normally, I would just write that off as one of those strange childhood memories. Except for the fact that my Mom’s siblings ALSO remember hearing about said monkey, and also associate their mother’s childhood with having this pet.
However, Mammaw says this is the most ludicrous thing that she has ever heard, that she NEVER had a pet monkey, and has NO idea where they came up with this.
And actually, one of the top 10 funniest moments of our family history (right below the Mammaw/Chris Spoons Debacle) is when this memory discrepancy was discovered.
We were having a normal Sunday Family lunch, and somehow monkeys came into the conversation. Just as normally as she would have said, “please pass the peas”, my Mom says, “Well Mother, you should know, because of your childhood pet monkey.”
Mammaw twists her face in complete confusion and ridiculosity. “I had a WHAT?!?!?!?!”
Mom: “Your pet monkey!”
Mammaw: “I never had a PET MONKEY!!!”
Mom: “Of course you did!! You told us about it all the time!!”
Mammaw, in the most “where did you YOU come from” voice ever: “NOOOO I didn’t!!”
I cannot tell you how long the rest of us laughed at this conversation, as my Mother’s comprehension of the universe came tumbling down around her.
So it has become somewhat of a family mystery AND a family joke. Anytime there is anything to be said about Mammaw forgetting something, someone has to say, “Well there WAS the pet monkey, after all.”
Or, conversely, any time there’s a comment made about one of my Mom’s slight airheaded moments (that “slight” was added so as to not insult my Mother), someone has to say, “Well she DID think her Mom had a pet monkey, after all.”
My personal opinion is that there WAS a pet monkey mentioned in their childhood, but it was some sort of threat, or wild story, or something that left this impression in three kids minds.
There HAD to have been something behind this wild tale.
Either Mammaw made up a series of bedtime stories about a pet monkey that was very realistic, or she threatened them that she would get her pet monkey to attack them if they didn’t behave, or SOMETHING.
Or maybe Mammaw DID have a pet monkey, and just loves to see us all squirm with curiosity. I could totally see her pulling that trick.
The world will never know.
This post was originally published March 25, 2009.