Okay, as many of you know, I have an incredibly large immediate family.

My husband is the oldest male of eleven siblings.
Yes, eleven!
So coming from a family of only one sister and a mother and father this was an event.

When I was first invited to my “boyfriend’s” house to meet the family I was a little tentative. All I had to do was look at the size of the house (that had six bedrooms) and the dining room table (that looked like a banquet hall fixture) and I couldn’t believe it! My future husband was 21 years older then his youngest brother! What the heck? On top of that… they all loved to tease the newcomer.

So as I sat at the table, I realized that if I didn’t grab the food I wanted from the get go as the plates were passed around the table, I would not have a chance at seconds even if I wanted them. I quickly learned that when you are part of a family this large you had VERY different rules than small families like mine.

Now these people liked to play a little trick on the “newcomer.” They all introduced themselves by name and it was pretty difficult to remember everyone by name. In reality, it took me a good year to know everyone’s name and what the pecking order was! But this was the first time that I was in this massive house with all these related people! It was a little intimidating to say the least! What I didn’t know was how much they loved practical jokes! So…. As we are eating, the entire group (except my at-the-time boyfriend) gets up and runs around the table and sits at another seat! What the heck? You can’t make this stuff up! Now I am totally confused and they continue on as if nothing has happened and this is normal. (Come to find out, this is what they all enjoyed doing to ANY newcomer.)

So there I sat.
Brazen me.
(Oh yes, I was not shy, even in those days!)
Not quite knowing what to do.

Then the “Debate” started.

What they would also like to do was argue. It comes with the territory of large families I come to find out. Since my father-in-law was a lawyer, he would love to put your feet to the fire, so to say. The dining room table became a hot bed of debate. I found this invigorating and stimulating! God… the most my little family talked about at the dinner table was what everyone did during the day. These people took on tough issues… Child pornography, sexual liberation, politics (my father-in-law was mayor of the town I live in now), religious tenants… you name it. They were not afraid to discuss ANYTHING!

How cool was this?
Way cool!

Well, I wound up marrying that eldest son. We’ve been together for some 38 years, raised four beautiful daughters, and now have five fabulous grand babies. Life could not be any fuller or more blessed.

The picture in this article was taken 27 years ago. I know this because my husband is holding my youngest daughter (far left with the mustache) who was nine months old at the time this picture was taken in front of the “homestead” that was my in-law’s home. Kate is in the front row in the pink outfit. Some of these people are unfortunately no longer with us. I’m on the far left in the red dress above my husband David. I can tell you that being part of a family this large is a wonderful thing. You always have help. You always can find advice. You always can cry on someone else’s shoulder. There’s always a babysitter in an emergency. It’s a great thing. Right now there are over 60 people who are immediate family in this family. Our children have grown and are having children of their own. When we have a party we need to rent a hall! It’s great!

And do you know what?

To this day, when I write out a check in town or write my name on a credit card receipt, people still ask me the same question. The same question that I’ve been asked for over 38 years.

“Are you related to the Ivers family?”

My answer is and has always been…

“Yes. I married half the city of Meriden, CT.”

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