The Other I

June 3, 2014

Anybody you recognize?

Filed under: Just Stuff — theotheri @ 3:56 pm

My father was the son of first and third generation German immigrants.  In America they made their living as lawyers, musicians, farmers, and engineers.  The inheritance is evident among my 5 brothers and 4 sisters.

Two days ago, my lawyer-brother sent the family an engineer test, with the question:  “Does anyone recognize anyone in our family?”  The gasp of recognition was heard throughout cyberspace.

Since then we have been exchanging stories all suggesting that the incipient characteristics of the engineer were evident from an early age.

I remember –  I’m probably the only living person who does — that when I was about three years old, my oldest brother, who was four at the time,  decided I needed a cross on my doll house.   He didn’t discuss it with me, but I went out one day and there was this big ugly thing nailed onto the roof of my lovely little house.  We all had crucifixes over our beds, and there was Tom deciding that my dolls needed one too.  Actually, I doubt he was making an attempt to rescue my dolls from the clutches of paganism.  He just decided to try out his incipient skills as a construction engineer.  It was terrible and I remember asking Mom for her scissors so I could cut it down.  The adults in my life thought that was hilarious.  My sister – who wasn’t around at the time – says she is sure it wasn’t supposed to be a cross at all but a lightning rod.

I have another engineering brother who at about the age of six thought that taking off one’s clothes to go to bed at night was a total waste of time, when you simply had to put them all back on again in the morning.  So he developed a masterful time-saving plan:  put one’s pajamas on over one’s clothes.  When Dad found out, he called him to “come here immediately” in a scary authoritative voice of judgement he could use, so there wasn’t time to do anything but appear in full regalia.  What those of us who witnessed the confrontation knew was that Dad was laughing so hard he could barely hold it together.  Personally, I think that brother showed the ingenuity of a budding engineer.

Even my husband Peter (who grew up in a coal-mining village during WWII in England) could not believe the outfit Dad put on to “work on the farm.”  It was the outfit his second wife forbid him to wear above the basement level.

Which demonstrates why we are all unanimous in our gratitude to the partners of the engineers in our family for supplementing the lacunae in their undoubted skills.

If you know any engineers, I’d love to know if you recognize any of the hall marks too.   Double click on the test for engineers for the full authentic list.




  1. This was quite good. It did remind me of someone. A couple of people actually.


    Comment by sanstorm — June 3, 2014 @ 7:14 pm | Reply

    • Oh I’m glad you liked it! and thanks for letting me know. I’d love to hear about your acquaintances sometime. Terry

      On Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 8:14 PM, The Other I wrote:



      Comment by Terry Sissons — June 3, 2014 @ 7:26 pm | Reply

  2. Engineers. Not even on the radar of my family. If it didn’t wear a habit, it didn’t amount to anything worth pursuing. But, then, none of us would have passed the engineer test either. A bunch of artists we were, manques of course — graphic, literary, musical and comedic. Took after our mother, I suspect. You’ve got that wonderful variety to your bunch. You could do a sketch for each of them.


    Comment by Thomas J. Hubschman — June 3, 2014 @ 11:46 pm | Reply

    • Well, with ten of us there was a little more room for variety than usual. And then there is the contribution from my mother’s Polish heritage. What with all the Polish jokes going around, it wasn’t just the potential engineers who got their share of laughter. I think any of the social skills we may have they came from her.

      We too had an great reverence for anything in a habit. Of the ten of us, five of us experimented with religious life.

      Yes, I could do a sketch on each of us. Somebody in the family every once in a while says that somebody ought to write some kind of family biography. But in the mix of engineers, musicians, teachers, saints, lawyers, accountants, a court reporting business, and a psychologist, there aren’t any really good story-tellers. Too much emphasis on “right answers” in our upbringing, I suspect. We need somebody like you…

      On Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 12:46 AM, The Other I wrote:



      Comment by Terry Sissons — June 4, 2014 @ 10:21 am | Reply

  3. We win hands down:-)

    About wearing pajamas over clothes: I’ve seen this actually done in winter in Delhi. The school opens early. There’s little time in the morning to get them ready. So they’re sent to bed partially ready for the morning!


    Comment by tskraghu — June 4, 2014 @ 1:24 am | Reply

    • Oh, wait until I tell my brother! vindication at last after a life time of providing amusement with his creative exploit. (In fairness to those of us who were laughing, it is by no means his only forays into “creative failure.”) Thank you for sharing. We will all enjoy hearing about Delhi’s winter night clothes.

      On Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 2:24 AM, The Other I wrote:



      Comment by Terry Sissons — June 4, 2014 @ 10:05 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: