Listening closely to the Brothers Bogart you may often note sustained dialogue on matters trivial or not of issue at all. Be it dominating discussion the night before our Mom’s 80th (twenty minutes studying coffee options) or wasting call after call planning preemptive strikes against Helen, our debates are endless but never aimless.

Others call it nonsense. We term it “The Art Of Conversation”.

Musing, years ago, that our aunt preferred him, Hal summed it up aptly: “Everybody Loves Raymond,” he noted. I didn’t know about the “everybody” thing, but fact was, when he coined it in ’09, that no matter what I did, no matter what he didn’t, our father’s sister liked him more. (EDITOR’S NOTE: By October, 2012 H had updated the theory in his weekly post-game analysis of a shopping trip. “Let’s face it,” he remarked, “She just doesn’t like you.”).

All of this, with the backdrop of recent elections, has created yet another project.

“When,” I inquired last week, “Did it all change? When did you become the ‘fair haired’ boy?”

Margie and Carrie said little and Harold demurred.

“Was it when Dad died?” I continued. “I think everyone liked me better ‘til then.”

Silence (still) from the other end.

“Except Grandpa Irv,” I pushed on. “He liked you”
“Who’s Grandpa Irv?” asked Carrie.
“Not in front of my brother, “ I whispered.

(EDITOR’S NOTE TWO: Irv Porter was Grandma Celia’s second husband, a wonderful man and grandfather to us. His discord with my father, though, was Olympic in nature, and to his dying day whenever my dad was upset with anyone, he would call them “Irving”. Upon our parents’ separation in ’63 our grandfather outspokenly said things kids just shouldn’t hear. I called him on it and he shot back, making me cry. He died shortly thereafter, ever calling his beloved Hal “Butchie Boy” and me, “Al Bogart’s kid”).

My brother never answered. We agreed, though, that over the course of our lifetimes the worm had turned. Somewhere along the way his hair turned golden.

Hence the project…

We have decided to scientifically approach the half-century paradigm shift of our clan. Not just regarding Helen, mind you, but as to the whole fam damily.Indeed, the Bogart Boys are about to redefine what it means to have “too much time on their hands”.

First, we are listing, household by household, rosters of kinfolk for every four years commencing with 1960. This will include aunts and uncles and great uncles, cousins, and even rumored relatives (like Leah Lader) with lineage unknown. (Does not EVERY family have a few of those? You know: people you’ve been told were related, but no one can tell you exactly just how).

Then, we will ascertain whether in that particular election year they preferred Raymond (Hal) or Robert (me).

Finally, we will tally both the popular vote, and also the electoral college. In so doing, allotting one electoral vote for each dwelling, we can balance the big family households of, (say…the Hoffmans), with the smaller states (like Grandma Bogart’s home).

This—all of this—we will seriously do. It is the least we can contribute to our posterities.

Interviewed Sunday, Wheelchair Sheila noted that “Bruce was always active. You had to love him.” Not everyone agreed. When asked why she preferred Harold, our aunt opined “Why wouldn’t I?”

History, perhaps, doesn’t crave the answers. Two brothers do though. It will provide them not only additional food for fodder, but paint, easel and canvas for more of The Art Of Conversation.


  1. Granpa Maisay says:

    Oh Gladys, those two idiots are just like rest of your family. If they call me for my opinion tell them I am studying and can’t be bothered with this nahrshkeit.

  2. Grandma Bogart says:

    Helunia, I am not sure why Bruce is promoting this nonsense. He is not a good influence on Raymond (the grandson formerly known as Harold). And why is Pa being so difficult? There is nothing unusual about the Diamond side of the family. The Communist married into the family. He was not blood. And it was Pa’s idea (not mine) to have me referred to as “Grandma Bogart”. Whoever heard of such a thing? Just because Bruce referred to me as “Happy Bottom” is no reason to change what the boys called me. That is a fine Navajo Indian name. (Cerainly no worse than “Bogacki” — which I suffered with for many years.). Please Helunia, honor me by telling me how you feel – about the boys’ survey and about Pa’s comment.

  3. Aunt Helen says:

    Ma and Pa, enough with this bickering. Have you ever considered that YOUR narshkeit is why I moved to California and Albert volunteered to serve in the Swiss Army? And this particular nonsense from the boys is nothing compared to what I have to deal with all of the time. Can you believe that Bruce once purchased buttermilk for me instead of my 1%? And that Raymond got so angry with me that he actually threw his car keys into the snow just because he could not control his temper. It was pure Albert.

  4. Prince Albert says:

    As my almost-son Maynard says, my boys are sitting on a gold mine. They really need to sit down and finally write that book about those battling Bogacki’s — Ma, Pa, and Helunia.

Leave a Reply