Here's the Scoop: June 27, 2012

More family secrets
By popular demand, I was asked to not write about the goings-on at our recent family reunion. That “demand” came from family members, concerned that I might spill some deep, dark secrets.

Well, those paranoid family members are now safely back at their homes, many of them thousands of miles from the Catskills. In short, they don’t scare me much — from a distance, at least.

As a compromise, I’ll skip some of the sordid details of our recent gathering, but I can’t fight the overwhelming urge to shed a bit of light on a few of the skeletons that were unearthed at the event. You can’t choose your family, as they say, so I’m not terribly ashamed of the information I’m about to share.

It’s still enjoyable
This one I had heard before, but it never gets old. It seems that I a great-uncle disappeared many years ago under mysterious circumstances. The “mystery” didn’t extend to his girlfriend, however. It seems that my great-uncle had passed away and, well, his lady friend had gotten accustomed to the finer things in life that his pension check helped supply.

So, she did what any grieving girlfriend would do: stuffed her loved one under a mattress and hoped that no one would notice. Waiting by the mailbox for pension checks to arrive had an added benefit on top of the money – fresh air — things were getting a bit ripe around their New York City apartment.

No one is sure how long this charade went on, but the unpleasant scent of my great-uncle’s decomposing body eventually made its way to some neighbors’ noses and the scam was soon put to bed, so to speak.

Here’s a new one
A new tale revealed at the reunion involved my grandmother’s sister. It seems that she perished after taking a tumble while hanging laundry out of an apartment window that was several stories high. My grandmother swore that the fall had nothing to do with her sister losing her balance, but was the result of a two-handed sendoff courtesy of an unhappily married brother-in-law.

This was an ugly tale, indeed. Apparently, there was never any proof unearthed regarding this episode. But, when push came to shove, it’s what my grandmother believed.

I’m sure the Sweeney Family History contains many more creepy tales, but I think there’s a limit as to how many embarrassing stories can be revealed at each reunion.

Fortunately, my cousin, a licensed psychologist, shared one more excruciating story — this one of recent vintage and verifiable.

My cousin was not bragging when she told us that — and remember, this is totally true — she was recently offered the role of psychologist (how appropriate) on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”
I’m not too familiar with this show, but I have caught bits and pieces of the “Real Housewives” series. My impression is that these shows are a searing mix of Botox and implants that lead to impossibly inflated lips and other assorted body parts. Toss in some vicious attitudes and it’s quite a combination.

Thankfully, my cousin is a very smart woman and her greatest endowment is common sense. Still, the fact that she turned down that “Real Housewives” role is probably going down in family history as a truly unbelievable tale. Reality Un-TV, I guess.
— Brian Sweeney