Helen was a talented athlete mainly because she grew up in the country with four active brothers. Although Helen was considered a "tomboy", when she put on a pretty dress she was very feminine and beautiful. Kenneth was a striking dark-haired man with a perfect movie star face.
Both of them dropped out of high school to get married. They rented a room from a lady in town, and Kenneth supported them by working at a grocery store.
Helen's father objected to the marriage at first, not because he disliked Kenneth, but because the two were distant cousins. At that time people believed that marriage between relatives could result in a baby with mental or health problems.
Nine years later Helen gave birth to their first and only child.
That's when I enter the picture. I did not learn that my parents were cousins until I was a young adult, and an elderly aunt spilled the beans. Sitting with my parents in the living room that day, I will never forget the stunned look on my mother's face when Aunt Cordia mentioned that they were cousins and gave the name of the common ancestor.
It was one of the few times my mother was caught off guard since she was always on top of everything. Then Mother repeated the direct quote which her father stated when Kenneth asked him for his blessing.
"You cannot marry Kenneth because you might have a little idiot."
After hearing that, it was always satisfying to be able to say to my parents when I did something that didn't meet their approval, "Well, what do you expect? BigDaddy must have been right, and you didn't listen to him."