When I was in my early- to mid-teens a maternal aunt and her 7 children moved in with our family of 7 into a 4 bedroom/2 bathroom house. They were from the east coast and none of the kids from each family knew the other.
The five boys were in one bedroom and the seven girls in another. Thank goodness for bunk beds with 3 mattresses! Personal space was rare and precious, and privacy was a wonderful concept with virtually no chance of reality.
Despite major efforts by everyone, I’m sure that noise levels greatly exceeded volume standards for jet engines. That must have been very tough on the nerves of the adults.
Certain aspects of life needed to be fairly tightly regimented. For example, with 15 people and only 2 bathrooms you can imagine how crazy that got! The lines could get as bad as those at a ball game at half-time. And there was often more dancing and squirming while standing in those lines than what might be seen at a high school dance.
The ambiance at meal time was akin to a military mess hall with a platoon of hungry recruits devouring everything in sight. In our house it was be fast or go hungry.
It took multiple shopping carts piled as high as possible just to keep food on the table. I can’t even imagine how much it cost to feed all of us!
And the piles of laundry were mountainous and never-ending. Our clothes washer and dryer worked around the clock.
The older kids helped around the house—-though I’m sure that we didn’t help nearly as much as we thought we did, or as the adults would have liked! I was the oldest of the 12 kids and I was still fairly young.
Schedules needed to be strictly adhered to. One person running late could wreak havoc on everyone, and getting everyone out of the house on time resembled a cross between a fire drill and a scene from the Keystone Cops—-but with a LOT more noise.
While all this might seem to be a recipe for disaster or misery, I don’t remember it that way. We kids had a whole bunch of cousins we hadn’t known before to get to know and to play with.
We all just kept finding ways to make it work.
It must have been tough for my mom and her sister to live under one roof with each other and so many children, but I can’t even imagine how it must have been for my poor (and I mean that both figuratively and literally) Dad.