Saturday, August 16, 2008

Where's Crumb - Summer 2008 by Aline Kominsky Crumb

"Robert, Sophie and I arrived at The Crumb Family Farm (established in 1878) for the 130th Crumb Family Reunion, July 12th, 2008. Robert's father, "Chuck," was one of 14 brothers and sisters. Seven of them are still alive and five were there, in New Richland, Minnesota, with various spouses, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren for this years family picnic. There was a cousin from Australia, two from Hawaii and of course, we came from France.

Upon arriving we immediately noticed the resemblance among the Crumb decendants. The Crumb genes seem to dominate, even if it's crossed with my eastern European Jewish genes—our daughter was instantly recognizable to many relatives she had never met before. One cousin, Laurie, who also married a Jew, was astonished by Sophie's resemblance to her son. The most amazing resemblance, however, was that of Robert and his cousin Scott Rollenhagen, who hadn't seen each other since 1952. They are the same height and build (including turkey neck and protruding adam's apple) and were dressed identically down to the sandals with socks and old man's cap. They both have little white beards and thick rimless glasses. Robert, Sophie and Scott played music together at`the party, never having rehearsed or discussed anything in advance. They all knew a lot of the same tunes and had no trouble playing for a few hours. Scott is also an artist, although we haven't seen his work. Robert sez, "Scott is the alternate me. the not famous me, who lives in peace and seclusion in the woods of northern Minnesota." Robert was moved and intrigued by Scott and fantascized a lot about what it would be like to be him!

In general, the Crumb Family was more open, intelligent, liberal and eccentric than I had imagined. Even tho I stood out like a Christmas tree, no one seemed to notice or care. The whole time we were in Minnesota, we stayed at cousin Diane Wendland"s house, along with Robert's sister Carol and nephew Avery. Diane's hospitality was boundless and we really fell in love with her and her 6 toed cats. Cousin Gail put us up in Madison, where we got to know Larry, our half Japanese cousin from Hawaii and visited Alex Wood. We really liked Madison; it seemed like a very liveable place. All in all my preconceptions about Midwestern America were untrue and my fears about meeting the other side of the family were unfounded...Live and Learn, EH???


That's all folks,"

-Aline Kominsky Crumb