My Family

Once upon a time, a long time ago, before you were ever born, a man was born named Dad. He walked around, unsuspecting the destiny awaiting him, looking around at all the girls and wondering which one he would marry and have the perfect nuclear family — two kids (boy and girl) and a nice split level house. Every year he would go out and buy a new car and drive around town smiling because he knew that Jesus loved him, he had a good job as a teacher, and his life seemed to be unfolding like the average Canadian baby boomer. It wasn’t to be. One day he met a girl named Mom!

Now Mom was from a very far away country and grew up in a huge family with lots of sisters and brothers — more than most people. She laughed and played and climbed trees and crawled through sewers and did all the exciting things that girls do when they’re young. Mom also knew that the Lord Jesus loved her and hoped that one day she would meet a nice young man that knew Jesus too and they could marry, settle down, and have a few children. Can you see the way it happens?

Dad meets Mom. Dad loves Mom. Mom loves Dad. Dad asks Mom to marry him. She says yes and they live happily ever after. Is that what you think happens? Well, most of that is right but I might as well fill you in on some very interesting details that happened along the way.

You see, Dad did meet Mom. Dad did fall in love with Mom, and Mom with Dad. Then Dad did ask Mom to marry him and she did say yes, but the story does not follow normal patterns from here on. You see, the nuclear family was not to be. The little Allan babies started coming from the hospital with such regularity that Mom almost needed citizenship papers for the maternity ward. Mom and Dad picked up one baby after another from the hospital starting with a little girl named Coralie.

Coralie as you can see took right after Mom. She laughed and played and did crazy things too (except I don’t think she ever crawled through the sewers). Coralie, because she was the oldest, and therefore the cleverest Allan, had the weighty responsibility of organizing numerous organizations and clubs for the neighborhood children. To join one of these more prestigious clubs, we had to walk across the monkey bars , pick things off the ground while leaning out several feet from a wildly spinning merry-go-round, or ride our bikes along the wall down at Sobey’s. The higher you could ride your bike, the more important you were. Coralie of course, could ride right at the very top because she was of course the oldest and knew the most about such things. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, because when Coralie was still a wee tike, Mom and Dad made another trip to the hospital to pick up another little baby girl . . . Heather.

Heather was a different model than her older sister, probably because they were picked up in different countries. Heather played along with all her older sister’s games and joined all the important clubs, but she made her own little niche in the family. Heather learned to cook under the tutelage of the best cook of all time, Mom, and would bake on a regular basis for the family. Yummmmmeeee! If it tasted good and was full of sugar or butter or some other evil ingredient, Heather was the culprit. (Mom would never cook such things because everyone knew they would rot your teeth or make you fat.) Heather, on the other hand, liked to help people like this and went on to be a nurse. I don’t think she liked the nursing school too much because her classes were hard and she just wanted to work with people and poke needles in their arms and make them swallow gross medicine like she does now. Most of the time, Heather and her older sister would get along, but not always. If Coralie didn’t get her regular 10 hours of sleep per night, she was not very happy in the morning. Because Mom knew this and Heather and Coralie shared a room, Heather would get lots of spankings for talking late at night and keeping Coralie up. But most of the time, Heather and Coralie played together and thought up evil tortures for their brothers to come. And there was brothers to come.

Shawn was a brand new kind of baby for Dad and Mom. He was the first boy kind that the doctor handed to them. It’s not really fair that Shawn came first because he stole all the things in the hospital that make you tall and he grew up to be taller than everyone else. I guess that’s OK since he’s the oldest but sometimes I wish that he left a little for me. Because he grew up so tall, Shawn liked to look at the clouds and think about weather. Now he goes to a special school for people like him who sit around, drink coffee and tell all the other people what the weather will be like. Most of the time he’s wrong but that’s OK. Just because he’s older doesn’t mean that he can always be right. Besides, he had to live with two mean older sisters who bothered him a lot. I know they kind of warped him because he thought strange things when he was older. For instance, he didn’t like jeans and would only wear rugby pants to school. I guess he thought jeans were for sissies. He also told the next boy strange stories in bed at night but you’ll have to ask him about that.

The next baby that Dad and Mom brought home with them was another boy one to even out the numbers and help Shawn fight his older sisters. His name was Mark. He didn’t look at all like his older brother Shawn. He had lots of curly black hair and everyone thought he was sweet and cute and good. There’s not much to say about Mark except that he like to eat. Not just a little like most other people, but tonnes. One time Heather told Mark he couldn’t eat 20 cheeseburgers so he tried. It’s not really his fault that he only ate a dozen, because everyone knows how filling McDonald’s food is and besides, he probably didn’t want to eat too much before supper. Mark also likes to skateboard and snowboard sometimes if he isn’t eating, but that’s not too often. Now we hardly ever see Mark anymore because he always driving far away someplace in his free time, but I’m jumping way ahead again.

I don’t know what Mom and Dad thought when they went to pick up another baby — me, Danny! The only thing I can figure out is they needed someone to write down the history of the Allan family for you to read and no one else knew how to do it right. Anyway, Dad told Mom I was the last and named me the caboose. He didn’t really understand the way trains work I think. I could tell you lots of things about myself but I’ll leave that out in case I tell something I shouldn’t and get myself in trouble. That’s the good thing about telling this story, I can leave out the parts that might incriminate myself. So let’s just say that Mom must not have agreed with Dad about having any more. I don’t blame her. With five kids and Shawn in the middle, we didn’t want him to become more weird and Mom also thought it would be nice to have an even number of boys and girls. So one day Mom headed off to the hospital to get her little baby girl, only when she got there, she found they only had baby boys and since she had already ordered a baby, she brought him home.

His name was Teddy. I don’t remember when Mom took him home but I must have been mad because now I had to share a room with him. Teddy, as you can see, is big and strong. It used to be fun to have a younger brother ‘cuz then I could pick on him or talk to him late at night in our bunk beds, but then Shawn sneaked him some of that growth stuff and now he’s bigger and stronger then me. Hopefully Teddy doesn’t remember all the bad things I did to him and come back to get me. I don’t think so though, ‘cuz he was always nice and helped make lots of skating rinks in the backyard even when it was freezing outside. But here Teddy went and really made it lopsided. Four boys and two girls.

Neither Mom nor Dad thought it was good that the boys outnumbered the girls 2 to 1, because we might get them back for playing mean tricks on us. I don’t think they really realized that if they went back to the hospital for another baby, the family would be as big as Mom’s was. Anyhow, they weren’t paying attention to the fact that Dad could no longer get a new car ever year and off they drove to that big brick hospital and this time they made sure it was a little baby girl. Her name was Merri. Merri liked to dress up when she was a baby and put on high heels to parade around the house just like her older sister Coralie (who by this time was wearing high heels all the time) and Heather (who was famous for her huge 4″ spikes). Merri was pretty quiet though and didn’t say much for a long time. Maybe it was because she didn’t have anyone to dress-up with or to talk to late at night. Merri must have said something to Mom and Dad about this and off they went to the hospital to even the number of boys and girls with another girl named Melita.

Melita stole a little from everyone. From Coralie, Melita learned to read and write like Tolstoy. (Coralie by this time prided herself in her artsy fartsy ways.) From Heather, Melita learned how to bake the most scrumptious cookies. Melita also must have been sneaked some of those growth things from Shawn and is now almost a million feet tall. From Mark, she learned how to eat . . . and she couldn’t have learned from a better teacher. Now, she’s about to eat Dad out of house and home. This was about the time when the weekly visits stopped to the restaurant in Zellars for grilled cheese sandwiches and I’m convinced it was the duo of Mark and Melita working in tandem. I don’t know exactly what Melita learned from me, but from Teddy, she stole the ability to play the piano. (Teddy had taught himself to play for hundreds of people at a time and had an inside track with the ladies because of it.) And finally, from Merri she learned to dress-up.

You would think that the perfect number had been reached. Eight children — four boys and four girls and the family was ended. But then, just when we thought we had reached the perfect number, Coralie threw a monkey wrench into the story and messed it all up. She moved out to go to University. Whatever was Mom to do. Back to the old story of uneven numbers. Of course the obvious thing to do was to go get another child from that hospital. By now, the doctor told her she really shouldn’t keep taking all the children, she wasn’t giving the other ladies a chance. But Mom did not heed the doctor’s warning and brought home another girl to even the number. This was Bethany.

Bethany is the very first baby I remember going to visit in the hospital. She was so cute with her full head of hair and little tiny hands. Bethany loved to laugh and play and do all those things that Mom and Coralie did they were babies. (It only makes sense since she came to take Coralie’s spot.) Here’s a picture of her doing one of her favorite sports — rollerblading. Bethany is doing something now which everyone else in the family wanted to do, but didn’t. She going to a French immersion school and is learning a whole new language to speak, read and write.

Kristi. How did she fit into the picture? This one is sort of strange. Mom was trying for a world record. You see Mom had picked up a baby girl in both 1970 and 1980 and I think she figured since it was 1990, that she should go and get another one. So as soon as most of the family walked out the door and left on a trip, out Mom sneaked to the hospital and convinced the doctor that she wanted another baby girl. I don’t know how she managed it, but by the time everyone returned from Montreal, there was another little girl waiting for us. Besides, that evened the number or children out to a nice even ten. Ten was a good number and again Dad declared that this one was the caboose. Kristi grew up with lots of attention from everyone and decided that she should be like Bethany and cut her own path with schooling. Only Kristi didn’t want to learn a new language like French, so she stays at home in the morning, rolls out of bed, down the stairs and into Mom’s classroom.

New and strange things were happening in the Allan family at this time. It was evident from Mom’s history that if someone didn’t stop her soon, she was going to keep having babies until something major happened. So Coralie set out to stop her. Coralie, by this time if you remember had grown up, moved away, and was teaching in a school so we all knew she was pretty smart. She had met this guy named Harry and she thought she knew how to stop Mom from getting more babies. It was the perfect plan. She would get married. This fellow, Harry had grown up on a farm far away so he was kind of used to the crazy Allan family that Coralie had grown up in and thought it was interesting. I tried to warn him one time that he was going to end my brother-in-law if he didn’t watch out, but only got in trouble from Mom for that. Just like Mom and Dad, Coralie and Harry loved each other and so when Harry asked Coralie to marry him, she agreed. It seemed that maybe Mom was stopped.

Just to ensure that this was the case, Heather decided to follow suit and get married. She had met a guy named Craig and they fell in love too. Crash. Boom. Bang. So what do you think happened? Of course, I know that you can guess. Craig asked Heather to marry her, even though she carried big scary needles with her and she tried to spend all his money. So Heather marries Craig and off they go into the golden sunset. Now Craig is trapped. Little did he know that marrying Heather meant that he would marry into lots and lots of sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law and there would be diaper changing and family visits in store for him. Craig didn’t have the farm experience that Harry had, but he knew that marrying into the Allan family would be sort of like being thrown into the middle of a left-wing political party and it would be sort of crazy. (Hopefully by the time you read this, he’ll have gotten kind of used to the wildness of it all.) But I’m digressing and the story is not finished.

Mom quickly saw that even though Coralie and Heather had gotten married, they hadn’t been to the hospital to get any of their own babies. Besides, now two of her daughters were no longer living home with her even though her and Dad had gotten two new sons. You would think that she would be happy with the two new sons. (If you’re still doing the counting, that makes it six girls and six boys now.) Nope. If they weren’t going to get any for her to play with, she ‘d go and get another one of her own. So after waiting an appropriate amount of time, her and Dad went off to the hospital to get Kylie (or Bulah). Bulah was the most smilingest baby in the whole world and lit up he whole world all around her with her cute pudgy cheeks and bright smile. Now she runs around and declares that she is “Danny’s Bulah” even though we all know that she is really Mom’s. That’s OK! By this time, I had gotten to the point where I loved all the new babies coming in on a regular basis and wanted more so I couldn’t really blame Mom.

I think Coralie and Harry must have caught the disease too because shortly thereafter they went to another doctor (I don’t know if we could get any more from the same one as my Mom because we had a reputation for stealing so many) and picked up their own little baby girl, Keltie. Keltie followed in her “aunt’s” footsteps and is another big smile baby with lots of smiling for everyone. And, following the tradition of all Allan babies, she thrives on the hustle and bustle of big families and crowds and the attention that comes with it. We think she’ll be like Coralie and organize bike clubs for all the neighborhood children because already she loves to ride her buggy around and lead me around on crawling romps throughout Coralie’s house. And, like Coralie always did, she always wins. Before I know it, it will be a bicycle with training wheels — then a two wheeled bike.

So that’s the end of the story, right?? Wrong. Heather decided to make sure once and for all that Mom had lots of children to play with and just recently, went and got her own model at the hospital from the doctor, a little girl named Emily. We’re not too sure right now who she’s like or if she’ll end up poking needles in people like Heather because she’s so young. But we do know one thing: she’s already hard at work, just like her mother, spending all of Craig’s money.

So Mom is stopped! Or almost. Out of the blue an awful realization dawned on Coralie and Harry. What if Mom suddenly ralized that she hadn’t had a baby boy in the Allan family in all of nineteen years? She might just take it in her head to head back to that big, brick hospital. I know. I know. You might think that Mom would be content with the two new young babies, but one can never be too safe. The solution was obvious. Coralie and Harry had to pick up the newest version of a little baby boy — David Harry. A brand new brother for Keltie and a grandson for Mom.

Stop for a minute. Remember the arms race? USA was collecting all these big tall shiny things and so Russia had to follow suit? Yeah. Picture that, except instead of big tall shiny things, picture lots and lots of little babies and making sure that Mommy didn’t take them all. Well, we’re still going strong here.

Babies. Babies. Babies. With all of these little ones being introduced into the Allan family, neither Shawn (the big, tall one) nor Mark (the hungry one), wanted to be outdone. Crash. Boom. Bang. Just like that, Mark goes out and asks a girl named Lindsay to marry him, and Shawn asks a girl named Lynn to marry him. Fast forward a few years and now Mark and Lindsay are carrying around two little girls (Brynne and Sophia) while Shawn and Lynn are towing a boy and girl (Kaitlyn and Gregory) around in their little red wagon.

Wait, don’t forget about that nurse named Heather with the pokey needles. Two more little boys named Jack and Eddie have been added to the VISA card. Would that put Heather one up on Coralie? Of course not, it’s a baby race right? Coralie and Harry add little Liam to their mix.

And just when you thought things were slowing down, that boy named Danny got married. Hey, that’s me! And you know what I once told my Grandma? I told her a wanted a hundred little baby girls. Haha. I can win them all. Mommy and Coralie and Heather and Shawnie and Markie … Now we just have to see what Heidi has to say. Maybe we can compromise at 21 or so. You should check back soon to see what happens.

I can tell you one things for sure, with Merri running right behind me down the wedding isle to marry Andrew, and Teddy following a few months later to marry Julie, things are going to keep getting more and more crazy.

(I think we should all buy shares in Allans Unlimited.)

So that’s the history of the Allan connection more or less how I understand it . . . and I was there for most of it. If you question the authenticity of anything here, hey, that’s OK. I don’t even know if Dad would have believed you if you told him this story 30 years ago. That was back when he thought kids were screechy things whose dirty diapers had to be changed and when Mom was still living in a far off country. A lot happens over the years . . . And if you think my Mom is going to stay away from the maternity ward, I’m not going to say “yes” and I’m not going to say “no”. My uncle always said he assumed my mother was pregnant unless told otherwise . . . and she never says otherwise.