My Crafty Grandmother & the Police Lineup

Hermann Carl Eduard Biewend (daguerreotypist) [German, 1814 - 1888], My Helene, On her Lap Little Mathilda Asleep, and Close By, Our Two Other Children, Robert and Little Louise, German, June 22, 1851

I’m aging. I’m 46.
Today I saw my aunt, who was a second mom to me, and she’s looking very old these days.
My mom, grandmothers, great grand-mothers- all the mothers who have went before us, are now gone. These women had the good sense to see us kept alive and free so the generations continue.

My maternal grandmother was a force to be reckoned with. She was short, very fat, and smart as anyone could be, though uneducated. In her younger years, she was shapely, and had long, auburn hair, and she never cut it. I can remember in her 60’s, her hair was down to her tail. All her children grew up to be fine, productive members of society.

She had 9 children – 7 of them were boys, and they came, year after year, so that bless her soul, she always had a house full of young teens and men, and that often meant trouble living in a poor part of town.

She was beyond crafty. Dirt poor, she always managed to take care of her kids and grand-kids the best she could. She was caring for grand-kids before her own children were grown, and last I counted, there were 19 of them.

One day I remember one of the boys running in the house – I think it was Hugh, he stayed in trouble – saying “the cops are after me, the cops are after me!” She passed him $5 bucks and told him “Well, you better get on.” He ran out the back door and jumped the fence into the woods.

Soon the police came, looking for him. It was some little something he’d done. Hugh and the boys never did anything REALLY wrong against others, unless you consider catching harmless snakes and dumping them in a police car, really wrong. That might have been what they did that day, it was some stunt like that.

“Ora,” they said, they knew her by name. “Your son has done got caught and you gotta bring him up to the police station. We’ve got a witness that can identify him.”

My grandmother never got up – her door had been as wide open as it always was. “Oh Yes-Sir, I’ll get my boy right up there. I’ll have him up there tonight in just a bit; you have my word.”

So my grandmother rounds up ALL her boys, except her oldest – and she takes 6 of them to the police station, knowing they all look so similar that no one could pick one from another easily.

And that’s exactly what happened. The cops told her “Ora, why’d you bring them ALL up here for?”

“Sir, you said to bring my son. You never said which one.”

The witness couldn’t tell either, so there were no charges or arrest that day.

-The End. Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂

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