This post is at the risk of upsetting my ex in-laws

13 People Overnight in a Two-Bedroom Mobile Home

I’d like to start with some background. My ex-husband and I came from very different families. I am an only child; he is the middle of seven – three boys and four girls. I was taught it is not polite to ‘drop-in’ on people (even family) uninvited or unannounced.

Since his brothers do not figure into this story, I will ignore them. To preserve anonymity, we’ll call his sisters J, L, B and F (in order of age). At the time of this story, my husband, our four-year-old son, and I lived in a 10×50, two-bedroom mobile home in Kansas City. I had just found out I was pregnant with what would turn out to be our oldest daughter. I had also just quit smoking. My mother lived in California. Sister B and her one-year-old daughter lived in Denver where she worked for Frontier Airlines. Sister J., her husband, and four children (10, 9, 8, and 6), Sister L., her husband and six-month-old son, and Sister F., her husband and two sons (4 and 2) lived in Central Missouri near mother-in-law.

On the weekend prior to this story, my mother came to Missouri and took our son to visit my grandmother.

So we start on Friday evening. I can’t remember if it was Sister L. or Sister J. who called and said, “We just put Mom on the train to Kansas City, go down to Union Station and pick her up.” (No, ‘are you busy’, ‘do you have plans’, just drop everything and do it.) “Sister B. has a pass to fly to KC tomorrow.” So my husband went to pick up his mother. While he was gone my mother called and asked if it would be convenient for her to bring son home tomorrow night. I told her fine. Mother-in-law and Sister B. will be here. But we had two double beds and a sofa-sleeper that folded out into a double bed. We have room for six people, no problem.

When husband got home, lo and behold, he had not only his mother, but Sister F. and her two sons. We are now at nine people. I was then told, “Sister L., her husband and baby, and Sister J. and two of her kids will be here in the morning.” Now there are thirteen people. “Oh, and Sister J. and Sister F.’s husbands and Sister J.’s other two kids will be here Sunday.”

The next day, I sat between my mother and Sister B. who were both chain smokers. Guess who started smoking again. That night about ten o’clock mother-in-law says, “I don’t know where we’re all going to sleep.” (You just now thought of that. God forbid any of them go to a motel). Now my mother can be very stubborn and exasperating at times and this was one of them. She said, “I don’t know about the rest of you, but my daughter and I are sleeping in her and her husband’s bed. Goodnight.” I think my four-year-old slept with Mother and me. As to the other ten, I still have no idea where they all slept and that was forty-six years ago. Although I’m willing to bet my mother-in-law did not sleep on the floor.

So Sunday we had seventeen people for dinner. While I was trying to cook dinner in my rather small kitchen, the six-month-old baby was sitting on a potty chair in the middle of the living room (because he was already potty-trained) and his mother was cutting Sister B.’s hair in the kitchen. While I was cooking.

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