|Both Marthalette and particularly Rilene had elements of the classic "Bad Seed" personality, but none of the actress' looks or charm.|
|Even as children, they looked much more like Matilda's nemesis.|
I have many first cousins. Some would say that I have too many of them, and I would not argue with anyone who said that. Lots of people have many cousins if one starts counting all the various step-relationships. I don't even have any step-relationships. These people are all legally my first cousins. One is my first cousin legally but not by blood, as she was adopted a few months ago from a Puerto Rican-Filipina mother living on the isle of Manx where her adoptive parents live. I haven't seen her yet, but I've been told that she looks like a little baby Bruno Mars and is gorgeous. Seeing her this summer is one of the things I most look forward to.
Having so many cousins has been, for the most part, a mixed blessing at best. Cousins are something everyone should have at least a couple of if possible, in my opinion. One can have, however, too much of a good thing. Furthermore, not all cousins are equal. Some are very nice people. Others are rotten to the core. I shall tell you about my two least-redeemable cousins.
Marthalette and Rilene are the first two of my Aunt Marthalene and Uncle Mahonri's thirteen offspring. Marthalene is the oldest of my father's seven sisters. Aunt Marthalene was born just shortly after my father turned one year old. She married when she was eighteen and started her family right away, while my dad was still serving his LDS mission, and then finishing college and attending medical school afterward. Because she started early and wasted no time in her quest to personally (with the help of her husband) populate the world with dark-haired, not-especially-attractive progeny, all of whom sprouted humongous teeth shortly after they were born, her oldest offspring are considerably older than Matthew and I are.
People are stuck with the looks that are given to them. Because of that, I'm mildly reluctant to criticize the looks of my oldest cousins. There are subtle things that can be done to make the most of a person's looks, but for the most part, if a person emerges from the womb looking part horse, part Osmond (though their genealogy proves there's no close relationship between them and the equally toothy but exponentially more talented Osmond brood), and part Eddie Munster, all of the tricks of a cosmetician's trade can only do so much to salvage one's appearance. Even so, as my evil fifth-grade teacher used to say [about me; she found me both physically ugly and character- and personality-challenged], "Even if you aren't pretty, if you will just act sweet all the time, no one will ever notice that you're not pretty." This memo never quite made it to my oldest cousins Marthalette and Rilene.
Despite being on the homely side and not possessing an especially kind or sunny disposition, Marthalene is probably more notable for the thickness of her skull despite there being no clear evidence of a working brain inside her head than for unfortunate appearance or for her unpleasant disposition. Marthalene did not excel academically, though she didn't oten receive failing grades. She muddled along and got a whole lot of C-minuses as I recall. Marthalette was gullible. Even I, who was eight years younger than she was, could tell her ridiculous things that defied logic that she would, more often than not, believe, then go crying to her parents because sneaky Alexis had tricked poor Marthalette into exchanging five quarters for a dollar because everyone knew that five quarters equaled a dollar. Marthalene's gullibility caught up with her in high school, and this one she cannot blame on me. Someone far more evil than I told Marthalette that pregnancy could be prevented by douching with Coca-Cola after intercourse. Marthalette married at the age of sixteen years, one month, and gave birth to her first child at sixteen years and four months of age. It gets even stupider, though. She popped out four more children like bullets -- BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG -- before she finally deduced that the Coca-cola douche method of birth control wasn't working for her, and if she didn't want to produce roughly one baby every eleven months, she needed a more reliable form of contraceptive.
Marthalette's sister just younger than she [by one week less than a year], Rilene, wasn't as dull-witted as was her older sister. She certainly wasn't Gifted-and-Talented-Program material by any stretch of the imagination, though as compared to Marthalette, she might have seemed almost like it. Rilene possessed straight-across-the-board average intelligence, but she (as far as anyone in the family could tell, she was evil from day #1) was born with a malevolence almost unheard of elsewhere. Young parents are often warned about their dogs in relation to their new babies, particularly if the dogs are of breeds known to be aggressive. Pit bulls, for example, who have always previously been gentle, have been known to unespectedly attack and even to kill infant offspring of their owners. Rilene was a bit like a pit bull in that regard, except that, knowing her nature, the attack shouldn't have been unpredicted or unexpected where Rilene was concerned. When Rilene's baby brother Bradford was a mere-three-weeks old, one-year-old Rilene was found in his cradle, sitting atop his midsection while simultaneously pinching his nose closed and holding a stuffed animal over his mouth. Fortunately this happened when my Aunt Celine was visiting, and Aunt Celine usually paid at least a little attention to what the children were doing. Since Bradford's intelligence is roughly the same as that of most of his siblings (they're all smarter than Marthalette), it's assumed that he probably wouldn't have been a nuclear physicist even without Rilene's attempt to send him back from where he came.
Aunt Marthalene kept Bradford behind a locked screen door in his bedroom whenever she wasn't holding him after the attempt on his life until he was considered strong enough to fend for himself. (Had it been up to me, I would have kept the diabolical Rilene under lock and key.) When Marthalene gave birth to Moriancumr (the name is from the Book of Mormon, not that that in and of itself is a justification for saddling an innocent baby with such a hideous name), she assumed it was just Bradford with whom Rilene had an issue, so she took no special precautions with Moriancumer with respect to Rilene's fratricidal tendencies. When Moriancumr was less than a month old, two-year-old Rilene was found placing baby Moriancumr in the toilet head-first in apparent attempt to drown the poor child. My mother was at their house at that time, and rescued
Moriancumr from serious brain damage or worse. Moriancumr had to be kept in the same bedroom behind a locked screen door.
At this point other cousins came on the scene, and Rilene discovered that it was light years more fun to torment them than to pick on her own siblings, because her parents would believe her claims of innocence and ridiculous denials of deliberately hurting anyone when it involved her attacks on children other than their own. It was shared knowledge among my dad's other siblings and their spouses that Rilene would have no qualms about causing serious injury or even death to one of her cousins, so they took turns watching the children as they played rather than leaving Rilene to her own devices.
In addition to physically hurting others, Rilene was also prone to theft. (So was and is her father, though whether it's a strange genetic tendency or learned behavior is anyone's guess.) Her theft was largely ignored and rationalized (my mom never put her purse down even for a minute at family functions at which Rilene was present) until her father became an LDS Bishop. (How possibly the biggest petty thief in the state of Utah became an LDS Bishop is testimony to the divine inspiration that goes into all LDS callings.) As bishop, Mahonri was responsible for collecting tithing from members. On Sundays at church, Rilene would often find reasons she wanted to sit on her father's lap. Eventually the amount of tithing people claimed to have paid could not be reconciled with what Mahonri deposited and what the church records reflected. It happened with too many different families for it to be the ward members lying. As much as he liked to gain at the expense of others, Mahonri had never been known to steal money. Miscellaneous household goods and personal items (toilet paper, Vaseline, sugar, Kool-Aid, and toothpaste, for example) were more to his liking. For the record, Rilene apparently tore up the checks in tithing envelopes; she wasn't so sophisticated as to attempt to forge and cash the checks. Strangely enough, though, some people actually put cash in tithing envelopes; those were the envelopes Rilene apparently sought. Tithing envelopes containing money were found in Rilene's possession one Sunday morning by a primary teacher.
Mahonri was released as bishop shortly after tithing money was found on Rilene.
You or I would have considered this a good time, even had we not thought of it earlier when she was attempting to harm babies, to seek counseling for Rilene. Mahonri and Marthalene just tried to laugh it off and to offer by way of excuse that Rilene was "smarter than the average bear." I don't recall Yogi either trying to kill siblings or stealing from church coffers, but perhaps my memory is faulty.
Marthalette and Rilene in tandem were dangerous. Rilene would suggest to Marthalene that cousin Todd should be pushed off the bridge into the creek, but that she really didn't have the time to do it because the adults were always watching her. Marthalene, slow as she might have been, took Rilene's not-so-subtle suggestion and pushed Cousin Todd off the bridge and into the cold and swiftly-moving (but probably not deep enough to be life-threatening to Todd) creek, where he landed on jagged rocks and emerged with all sorts of gashes. Rilene just looked innocent while Marthalette was screamed at by Aunt Angelie.
Rilene and Marthalene both took a special dislike to me. I was not yet two and they were nearly ten and nine when my dad caught them as they were propelling me up the rungs of a ladder of a water tower on rural mountain property where a family reunion was being held. They offered no explanation as to what they planned to do with me once they got me to the top of the ladder. Their intent could not have been anything good.
My mom cornered both Marthalette and Rilene individually that week and made dire threats concerning what would happen to them if either Matthew or I were harmed and there was any possibility either or both of them were responsible. Mom said that it was easy with Marthalette -- that she just said she'd call the police, and Marthalette would go to juvey. She was more specific with Rilene. She told her that she had a lot of acquaintances in the area who presided over juvenile justice, family welfare, and issues involving mental health of minors. She told Rilene she had the connections, based especially on Rilene's history of trying to harm her brothers, pushing a much smaller cousin off a bridge and injuring him, and feeding a bottle of children's Tylenol to her younger brother, and made allusions to a few incidents of which she was aware because school mental health professionals had called her off-the-record when Rilene's school behaviors had been disturbing at times. She told Rilene she already had enough evidence to have her removed from her family and placed either in a group home setting or in a lock-up mental health facility until she was eighteen at the very least, and possibly until she was twenty-five. My mom said she would not hesitate to rely on her connections to make sure Rilene paid if any of the cousins were hurt because of her, but that she would make it happen even faster if Matthew or I were harmed. My mom went on to say that the burden of proof if we were ever hurt at a family function would be on Rilene to prove her innocence just based on her track record. That was bullshit, of course, but Rilene didn't know it.
My grandparents began to hire "counselors" to supervise the children at family functions, and the "counselors" were told that Rilene and Marthalene were dangerous and that the "counselors" were responsible for keeping all children safe.
It was at that point that Rilene decided it was better to resort to psychological cruelty to me. That's when she started to call me first "fetus," then "aborted fetus." My mom told both of the two oldest cousins that psychological cruelty was prosecutable, too (it wasn't, but my mom had no problem with lying to the little psychopaths) but that she didn't want to waste her time. Instead, she would withhold Christmas and birthday presents from every cousin who had called me that who did not apologize. If any future name-calling campaigns against any of the children were started, my mom told Rilene and Marthalene, she would permanently stop giving gifts to the children who were considered responsible. And she would ALWAYS consider Rilene and Marthalene, as the oldest, the ones responsible unless they had iron-clad proof to the contrary.
My parents at that time gave probably the only nice gifts most of those children received from Christmases and birthdays, so the threat of losing gifts was a very real threat to them. We skipped the next two family functions until all of the apologies were received. Then, when we returned to the next reunion, my parents hired my Aunt Cristelle to protect us, which Aunt Cristelle did very diligently.
Marthalette now has eight children, and Rilene has six. (Chances are that neither one is finished popping out crotch parasites.) My mom always looks at their children (especially Rilene's) very closely at any event when she sees them. She also observes interaction between the children and their parents. She thinks both cousins have transferred their narcissism over to their offspring to the extent that they consider the children extensions of themselves and treat them well accordingly. She says if she sees or hears of any signs of abuse of any of their children, she'll be on the 1-800 CPS number immediately and will also call the local police if either sister commits crimes against her children in my mom's presence. The kids will probably be treated well, but Rilene has enough loose screws that almost anything is possible.