All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


My Mother

My mother is a conundrum for me.  I've learned how to see where she is coming from and I've come to figure out a little of how she thinks.   SOMETIMES.  I also learned how to have an adult relationship with her.  The way this works in real life, is that Mrs. Ipsa spends an hour or so each week on the phone with her and relates any information and/or family gossip, that I may find useful.  This keeps me informed of family info that I need, and keeps me from having to deal with her too often.  It's a system that has been perfected over 16 years and I like it.

Normally this is a great system and it has worked wonders.  Living over 1,000 miles apart can be a good thing too.  Saturday night at dinner the whole damn deal went straight to hell.  The main problem was that my parents were here in person and there was no filter form mom's mind to her mouth.

My great grandmother and I were very close.  From the time I was 5 years old I spent a part of every summer "up north".  In high school and college, I would take my girlfriends to meet her.  In college this was a great benefit if I was half way interested in a girl.  I had a weekend getaway that I could take a girl out to, complete with a cook, house keeper and second opinion.  I valued that second opinion.  If I was thinking about getting serious about someone they had to make a couple of trips with me to visit Gram.  Even though she lived several hours away, she met more of my girlfriends than my parents did, even when I was living with them.  This is still a bit of a sore point for mom.

My mom's offense was bringing up, and exaggerating a comment my grandmother made.  At the time I was dating The Perfect Blond (TPB).  I was serious about TPB.  I met TPB shortly after what could be called my Meatloaf romance.  TPB wasn't the hottest girl I was ever with, she was a solid 6.  What made the "P" of TPB was we were soul mates.  We enjoyed a connection with each that was incredible.  People who didn't even know us felt a need to comment on our relationship and how "in love" we were.  Someplace out there is a picture of us on a college recruiting magazine, the idea being that if you come to this school, you too can be this lucky in love.

That relationship didn't work out.  It blew up.  The person to blame for that is me.  Yes, at the end, she made some irreversible decisions that I would not live with, and ultimately could not forgive.  Her choices were a response to my actions.  I didn't lead properly, and I didn't maintain my integrity.   It was my fault.  Nobody that knew us, knew that at the time, including her family.  I doubt that they know it now.

Grandma is long dead.  A quarter of a century ago she made a comment to my parents that she thought TPB "just wanted to get married".  That's the whole comment.  Maybe she said it in a semi disapproving or a flat tone.  At dinner, in front of my wife and kids, my mother had to bring up TPB and how much my grandmother disliked her.  Then she asked me if Gram was right and how lucky I was etc.

I wouldn't lie.  I never gave mom an answer to her questions.  My wife noticed and looked away.  My son, never knew there were any other females in my life, or that it was possible to love anyone other than his mother.  This morning my little daughter asked why I don't love her mommy.

Two years after I was married to Mrs. Ipsa I ran into TPB's mom and dad at a function.  My name was in the program as someone who gave enough money to meet the speaker.  Her parents sought me out.  They were impressed with my job and how well I was doing.  They asked me to get back in touch with TPB and were handing me her number.  That's when I pulled my left hand from my pocket to take the paper her mom was offering.  In that exact moment TPB's father saw my wedding ring and forcibly pulled his wife's arm back.  He pulled her away from me and they beat a hasty exit.  I laughed as they were running off.  I told them that I wished TPB well and give her my best.

I do wish her well.  I hope her life is working out.  I hope that for all the girls I knew before. 

For the record:
  • Married 16 years, faithful 16 years. 
  • I know that my life would have been different if I had married TPB.  Among other things my kids would be mostly raised now, instead of just starting their schooling.
  • That incident 14 years ago is a close to renewing contact with TPB as I've ever come.
  • My parents next visit will be too damn soon.


  1. black9:01 AM

    I hate when anybody brings up old flames. Especially around my kids.

  2. WaterBoy12:19 PM

    You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family. Forgive and forget, I say. She'll be gone, too, one day, and regret is too bitter when it can't be undone.

    My pair o' pennies.

  3. Res Ipsa5:31 PM


    That is what I've done. She doesn't even have a clue how pissed I was at her. In her mind she did nothing wrong. If I had to guess her motive was to build up my wife.

    I would never bring up an old romance to anyone in front of their spouse. Never. I would NEVER EVER try to have a conversation where I was asking for them to compare their spouse to an old flame.

    TPB came very close to being Mrs. Ipsa. If things would have happened just a little differently she would have been. I was very hurt that they didn't, at the time. Like they say, things always end badly, otherwise they wouldn't end.

    Even though I have no intention of ever seeing her again, I won't bad mouth her, or pretend she was anything less than wonderful. She was awesome in every way, right up until the day she decided that she had to burn the bridge beyond repair. If she had waited 2 weeks longer she would have been over her anger. By that time I was over my foolishness and we would have worked it out.

    She isn't a bad person, I loved her wholeheartedly. I will never pretend otherwise.

  4. WaterBoy6:35 PM

    Res Ipsa: "That is what I've done. She doesn't even have a clue how pissed I was at her."

    Good deal. The best course of action, I believe.

    Family relationships are funny. My mother's parents practically disowned her when she let her boyfriend move in with us before they were officially married, after she had been widowed for several years. We used to go visit them all the time, but after that they wanted nothing to do with us as a family. It was difficult to understand that, as a child. But after they tied the knot, suddenly all was OK again.

    I know where my grandparents were coming from, but the bad feelings from that period carried throughout the whole extended family for decades afterward. Life's too short to let crap like that spoil it.

  5. Anonymous6:54 PM

    What the hell is a meatloaf romance?

  6. Res Ipsa7:31 PM

    "Romance" makes it sound more classy than it was. Once upon there as a very long legged swimsuit model. There was a place called Don Cherries. We went there. On the way back to my place this was playing. If it was on video the whole "relationship" would have been the story line for Bat Out of Hell.

  7. WaterBoy2:07 PM

    I figured you meant PBTDL; it was a classic.

    His other song often referred to in a short-term relationship sense was Two Out of Three Ain't Bad. But you definitely strike me as more of a Dashboard Lothario.

  8. WaterBoy2:11 PM

    Sorry, that should have been "erstwhile Dashboard Lothario".

  9. Two Out of Three Ain't Bad. Would have worked too, but that wasn't on the radio at the time.