The Allure of Other People’s Families, a guest post by Allison Weiser Strout

It was a great game for the school bus. The goal: name all eleven siblings in age and grade order (a few were usually scattered about among the rows of sticky, green vinyl bus seats.) The winner got nothing more than bragging rights, but that was something, especially when you lived in a quiet suburban neighborhood.

Sometimes the kids in this family would join the game, and it was fun to see them struggle to remember the specific details pertaining to their brothers and sisters. They weren’t always the fastest to come up with all the right information. Others on the bus knew that two were in college, two were in high school, and that there was a set of middle-school twins stuck in the center of the parade of siblings. The older group was then followed by an assortment of elementary-aged siblings, trailing all the way down to the youngest, a toddler in preschool.