Do Your Research by Christine Duncan

Too many times, writers rely on TV, movies, or just plain, “What everybody knows” instead of researching whatever they are writing about. Let me give you an example. I am from what most folks call a large family. I have five brothers, four sisters, a half brother, a half sister, a step brother and a step sister. There are larger families out there but I haven’t met many people from them.
And yet, people tend to think they know my experience. Let me tell you folks, it wasn’t “Seventh Heaven”or Eight is Enough.
For instance, not very long ago when I was out with my oldest sister, who needed a bit of help getting around after knee surgery, a stranger mistook me for her daughter. This has been happening all my life as I am number 8 in the family lineup.. My oldest sister, who was resigned to it by then, politely told the inquirer that I was her younger sister. I’m pretty sure I never saw that one happen on “The Brady Bunch.”
Another thing you don’t see on TV is the difficulty of group shots. There aren’t all that many pictures of all of us as a family together. First off, you need to take the shot from a long way away to get us all in. Secondly, since the age range was so huge, many of the older siblings were off somewhere (married, in the service, whatever) by the time some of the younger ones came along. And last but not least, when they did get us all together, someone was inevitably strangling someone else in the shot. As the younger sister who was getting strangled, I can tell you that I don’t know why my Dad didn’t notice and stop the older brother killing me off either. All I can assume is that when you are trying to get that many people to smile at the same time, something is bound to be missed.
Even now that we’re all long grown up, whole family gatherings are impossibly loud, and incredibly hard to arrange.
I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Before you write, get the scoop.

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