May 25, 2004

First of all:

Enough with the "J"s, okay? There are other letters in the alphabet. Of all the things in the article, the incessant J's struck me as the weirdest. That and the matching Family Von Trappe outfits.

But hey. Different strokes for different folks. I think this family is definitely nutty. They would look at my life and think I was an absolute FREAK. So it all works out in the end.

And now I'm going to ask a stupid question:

-- This couple now has 15 children, from the age of 16 to a newborn. So obviously they are ALL home.

-- The children are home-schooled.

-- The mother doesn't work.

Here's the stupid question: How on EARTH do they support all those kids? He is a "real estate businessman and a former state representative" ... not a hell of a lot of money in that, I would imagine. At least not in Arkansas.

But then again - what do I know?

Posted by sheila

What about the line that she "started having her babies at 21" - like that was perhaps a career move...

I can't imagine giving birth that many times. Two is plenty for me.

I think the only thing I disagree with you on is that the letter "J" is a perfectly LOVELY letter to start names with... :)

Posted by: Jayne at May 25, 2004 02:49 PM

Did you ever hear that George Carlin routine where he goes off on parents who give all of their children names with the same initial? I totally thought about that when I read the article.

Posted by: Emily at May 25, 2004 02:50 PM

Hahaha....I can just hear Carlin!!

I didn't even know there were that many names starting wtih "J".

Oh and Jayne and Julia - of course. Nothing against the letter itself!

Posted by: red at May 25, 2004 02:51 PM

With so many kids, you hope they move away when they get older. Otherwise, in a few years, their descendants will have to start to inter-marry, since they will dominate the neighborhood.

Of course, I guess that isn't so unusual in Arkansas, is it? :-)

Posted by: The Aceman at May 25, 2004 03:02 PM

They didn't include the part of the interview where the happy parents admitted they really don't quite know where them young'uns keep a'comin' from.

Besides, in Arkansas you know Bill Clinton when he was the governor and you make all kinds of money beyond your job in real estate and cattle futures....

Posted by: Outlaw3 at May 25, 2004 03:14 PM

You don't get the connection between "former state representative" and "real estate businessman" in Arkansas, home of the 1000% commodities profit? Like all those laws he probably sponsored that made his particular type of real estate deal unfairly lucrative?

Posted by: michael at May 25, 2004 03:27 PM

Catholics, they have to be Catholics.

The cost of living is fairly low there, I would imagine, but if they're on any form of public assistance, I'll howl with impotent rage.

I bet the kids will be putting themselves through college.

Posted by: Bill McCabe at May 25, 2004 03:30 PM


No. I did not get the connection. I told you it was a stupid question!!

Posted by: red at May 25, 2004 03:31 PM

Two tangents:

When I was in college, my best friend was the oldest kid in a Mormon family. His parents had 14 of their own, had adopted two more, and had a foreign exchange student when he went to school. That, in a fairly small house which also included, kidjanot, a five year supply of food for the whole crew. He repaired photocopiers, she was a part-time nurse. They got by. It's all in the budgeting, I guess.

When i was a kid, there was a family across the street with nine kids. All started with "J". They were, of course, the white-trashiest family I'd ever met - they cut holes in their floors to dump trash down, their kids would crap in the streets when the toilet would pack up...but boy, all those "J" names were cute!

Posted by: mitch at May 25, 2004 03:52 PM

At least they didn't pull a George Foreman and name ALL their kids the SAME name!

Posted by: Robert the Llama Butcher at May 25, 2004 03:56 PM

Well, I suppose since all the little ones are dressed in what amounts to a school uniform - that cuts down on the price of clothes!!

Posted by: red at May 25, 2004 03:57 PM

Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate.

Posted by: Mark at May 25, 2004 04:02 PM

hahaha!!! Makes me want to get up and march around. I love it when the children sing the chorus - it is SO bizarre.

Posted by: red at May 25, 2004 04:05 PM

What children? I have an image of the "J" children singing that. Where is that from????

Posted by: Beth at May 25, 2004 05:03 PM

It's a Monty Python song, Beth ... it's on their "album" - it is SO FUNNY

Posted by: red at May 25, 2004 05:07 PM

Somewhere in all of my multiple moves over the last 10 years, I lost that album. Must get it again. So funny.

What's that other song ... "Never anger an Arab"?

Posted by: red at May 25, 2004 05:12 PM

hahahaha You rock. Coming back with that so instantly.

Posted by: red at May 25, 2004 05:24 PM

I am the sixth of thirteen children.

All the people who think this family is freaky need to get off their high horse and quit being so narrow minded and intolerant. It's odd that people have no problem with people having no children, creating children in a freaking laboratory, and divorcing and carting their kids back and forth, yet they have a problem with a couple having a large family. Get over your prejudices people! Don't be the obnoxious idiots who would always say to us, "boy your parents were busy!" Or "Don't you guys have a television?" Or my all time favorite dumb ass remark, "Don't you know what causes that?" My mom's response? "Mind your own damn business! And yes, I know what 'causes' it. I love my husband and he loves me." The audacity some people have! How dare anyone make such remarks! Total strangers would say these things!

(Some nosey bitch approached my four year old niece in the doctor’s office last year when her mom was there for a pregnancy check up. She was pregnant with her fifth child. The dumb bitch leaned over to my FOUR YEAR OLD niece and said, “Honey, tell your mommy you don’t want any more brothers and sisters.” My niece, genius that she is, turned and said, “What?! No way! I want a little sister!”)

What would people think if my mom went around asking married people with no children why they didn't want to have children? What if she asked, "hey, you do know how to get pregnant, right?"

Mark": sperm isn’t "sacred." It's what is created by the union of sperm and egg that is sacred.

Bill McCabe:
"The cost of living is fairly low there, I would imagine, but if they're on any form of public assistance, I'll howl with impotent rage."

Howl all you want. My family was on public assistance during the mid seventies when there were only eight of us and my father was laid off from his job. We worked through it and made our way out of a bad neighborhood. My parents started a company that now does about 20 million in sales per year. Now I have 24 nieces and nephews. Most of my sisters-in-laws stay at home with their children and my brothers all own their own homes. Some of us who wanted to went to college and paid for it ourselves or earned scholarships.

My parents made huge sacrifices for our private elementary school education while paying taxes to support the education of the families with one or two kids who thought that being good to their children meant hauling their asses to Disneyland once a year.

There was a time when frugality, a woman being a talented homemaker and making clothes (which my mom did) and stretching a budget as far as she could were considered accomplishments and praiseworthy. We had one pair of uniform pants two uniform shirts each, tattered play clothes and one dress shirt for Sunday and special occasions. Its all about priorities. I wouldn't trade my childhood for the lives of my friends growing up. Where did the perfect two child families end up? Prison, drugs, divorce, etc.

I'm obviously angered by the reaction to this story. I cannot handle the arrogance.

Fuck, people. Listen to yourselves!

Posted by: Patrick at May 25, 2004 11:34 PM

Patrick -

I am truly sorry if my post insulted you. I really was just curious about how the family supported itself.

And the "sperm is sacred" line is a Monty Python joke.

But again - sorry.

Posted by: red at May 26, 2004 09:59 AM

Whaddya mean the mother doesn't work? With 15 kids, she sure as hell does work.

BTW, I'm the eldest of seven kids. I have four kids. My wife used to get rude questions in public when pregnant with #4 and out with the other three - "Are ALL these yours?" or "Are you Catholic?" My favorite response to that was "No, we just like to fuck."

Posted by: butch at May 26, 2004 11:22 AM


Point taken - and believe me, I have nothing but the highest regard for people who can raise large families (as the first family in my comment did, and as your parents apparently did), and have the same reaction to lousy families of whatever size.

But while you're talking about peoples' arrogance and attitude - you seem to have one about divorced parents yourself.

Do some people bring exactly the same self-centered triviality to divorce that they do to having kids? Absolutely. Is it universal? Er, no.

I had a marriage (and divorce) straight out of Jerry Springer. Would my kids be better off if I'd toughed it out until they were 18? We'll never know - my ex left (yes, I AM a country western song). But hypothetically - no.

Posted by: mitch at May 26, 2004 11:26 AM

Sheila, not offended by the post. Some of the comments just remind me of the crap we dealt with growing up. Disdain. Condescension. Snickering. I mean, my parents have been married for nearly 44 years. They have thirteen children. No miscarriages. They do not believe in the use of birth control. People should do the math.

It's really nobody's business how many children someone has and one of the comments about public assistance just infuriated me because I take it very personally (obviously). I figure that the contributions my family has made to society (law abiding productive citizens, for instance) has more than paid back the measly food stamps and the occasional block of government cheese we received in the 1970s.

Posted by: Patrick at May 26, 2004 11:32 AM


That's so funny!

Posted by: red at May 26, 2004 11:34 AM

"But while you're talking about peoples' arrogance and attitude - you seem to have one about divorced parents yourself."

I agree that some people have this attituide. I do not. I was very pleased when my aunt divorced the idiot to whom she was married after nineteen years of trying to make it work. She's much better off now. However, I think it is undeniable that an intact family is best for the rearing of children. My point was that some of my friends who had only one or two siblings were not necessarily any better off emotionally or psychologically than my brothers and sisters and their parents' marriages were not any more successful.

RE: Jerry Springer. Sometimes when we look at pictures of the older siblings as children, the younger spolied ones say, "Oh my gosh! Were we white trash?" No. We just used everything, including clothes and toys, until they fell apart.

Posted by: Patrick at May 26, 2004 11:46 AM

By the way, Sheila, your question at the end of the post is not stupid.

Posted by: Patrick at May 26, 2004 11:48 AM

Oh, and Butch: of COURSE child-rearing is work!! Come on now. I'm talking about work that brings in cold hard cash to feed all those mouths.

Posted by: red at May 26, 2004 11:54 AM

Oh and Patrick, in re: your comment about playing with stuff til they fell apart:

My favorite toy as a child was my mother's collander. When placed on my head, it made a lovely helmet. There is a picture of me hanging out, with the collander helmet on. I'm 3 or something like that.

They'd buy me a toy, or whatever, and I would prefer the collander. Imagination is good!!

Posted by: red at May 26, 2004 11:56 AM

My mom's mixing bowl was my favorite, too. I'd put it on my head and march around when "Hogan's Heroes" came on.

My dad would yell "Chrissake, Mitch - you're 27..."

Posted by: mitch at May 26, 2004 01:10 PM

Okay, Mitch. That comment should have come with a warning: "You will openly guffaw at your desk."

Posted by: red at May 26, 2004 01:12 PM