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Time to not so pleasant issues – family first (job later). It looks like a bad written made-for-TV movie plot, it's all about money, hurt pride, old secrets, scheming and very, very nasty phone calls. That's exactly what's happening right now. Let's go back to 1930, 1935, when it all started: my great-grandfather bought (or built, I'm not sure) a house to live with his wife and 7 kids (5 girls and 2 boys, including my grandfather). The boys and the elder girl grew up and married, leaving behind their parents and youger sisters, but everything was ok. Then my greatgrandfather died, and few years later my greatgrandmother was dead too. The younger sisters were really young then, all of them under 18, and elder brothers and sisters helped them to survive while they continued studying. Eventually they grew up, found jobs, finished their studies and two of them also married. Later one of the single sisters moved, while the other one remained there her entire life, until dying last year. Nobody's living there now - well, there's a friend of family living there but she'll move soon, so it can be sold and the money will go to all heirs, right?
It's not that simple, in fact during the last 60 years there's been a scheme to literally *give* the house to the elder sister and her heirs. When people die here in Brazil their families have to provide a legal document named "inventário" (inventory, I think). It's a kind of list in which there are all properties one had when s/he was alive. Families declare it, eventually pay taxes and with this document they can do whatever they want with properties left by deceased one. If one didn't have any property there's no need of this document, but if s/he had an apartment, for example, it must be provided. Back to my great-grandfather's death: his inventory should have been done, but it wasn't. It seems my elder aunt husband asked an attorney, his friend, to take care of it but in fact they tried to find a way to keep the house to them. My other aunts didn't have kids, so her sister's ones are their heirs (well, they have other nephews and nieces that are also their heirs, but let's forget about it for some minutes). Problem is, my grandfather and his brother had kids who obviously would want their part of it. So that damn inventory wasn't completed during all this time - and heirs who had died along the years (my grandfather, his brother, his brother's daughter, etc.) couldn't have their inventories done properly because the first one which isn't completed yet.
That elder aunt has 1 son and 3 daughters. This son had his garage behind the house, and used to park cars all around, preventing everybody else to use it too. Few years ago our car was stolen in front of our building and my mother complained a lot about how unfair the situation was, because if we could park our car there it wouldn't have been stolen (it was found by cops very soon, though). During years everybody kind of waited for my aunt's death, it was clear that a war would start right after it. And now it happened: one of my aunts decided she wanted to sell the house (she finally noticed she's been renting apartments during her life and wanted to own one), cousins from other cities were informed, and the cousins from hell became very furious when realized they wouldn't inherit the house all alone. So what? The evil cousins are trying really hard to difficult the process of selling it, not showing documents, not going to reunions... finally my mother decided to fight this war, and I've to say every time she decides to solve a problem, she does that, even if she has to make enemies all around. She phoned a lot to my aunts asking them to make evil cousins deliver documents and to stop acting like bitches because hey, everybody needs that damn money. The phone calls somehow became nastier, soon she noticed that aunts didn't want to press those cousins and some old family stories came back to haunt people. Things kept like that for about a week, when finally my mother became furious, said awful truths to aunts and now we have our own attorney to take care of this affair. He represents my mother, her brother and my grandmother (my grandfather's heirs), so they won't have to meet family again. Never. Yeah, in this family when we fight, it's over forever. I know it sounds awful, but we never forget what people do to us, even our own relatives. Of course if somebody's sick or needing special care the bad feelings are left aside, but there's no love anymore, just the kind behaviour one would have concerned to any human being. Weird thing is, my mother and her brother hadn't talked for the last 10 or 15 years (another fight), just good morning and good afternoon, but now they're together again, phoning themselves frequently while remembering childhood events that just now make sense - they realized this house scheme started then and just now they understand some acts that seemed weird, just an "adult's thing", got it? Anyway I know their peace won’t last too long, I’m sure there’ll be another nasty fight as soon as my grandmother dies, because she has two apartments and in one of them my uncle ex-wife and their daughter are living. My uncle has already married again, her new wife hates the ex and really thinks she shouldn’t be living there until today. My uncle seems to be afraid of the ex reaction, so he never really asked her to leave the apartment. My mother had already made it very clear she’ll want her part of apartments, if he wants to keep them he’ll have to buy her part. My grandmother obviously knows all of it but says nothing – personally I think she should solve this problem as soon as possible because things will be pretty awful very quickly after her death.
My grandmother doesn't talk too much about the past, though. She probably knows a lot about said "adult's things" but doesn't seem inclined to share her knowledge. During one of last nasty phone calls my aunt said my mother was being false as my grandmother once was. Dudes, my mother was very, very furious that evening. My uncle too, when she told it to him, but they decided not to tell my grandmother about it. My father says many ugly things happened when everybody was younger, but only they know exactly what happened and unless it's absolutely necessary they (my grandma and aunts) won't say a word about that time.
How are things now? My mother doesn't phone to my aunts anymore. They don't phone to my home too. I know my mother misses their daily phone calls, they used to call themselves just to say hi or even to tell each other to turn the TV on, there was something the other one should watch, do you know what I mean? But my mother is stubborn, not afraid of voicing her opinions and she’d already said she’ll be here, waiting for aunts come and ask her forgiveness... (I wonder if I’ll ever see this day, because I’m pretty sure they’ll rather die than admit they’ve been wrong all this time). Evil cousins are still pissed off, trying hard to difficult the selling process. Curiously they literally disappeared from my aunts’ homes, one of my other cousins phoned my mother and told her they finally understood my aunts want to sell the house, and it’s curious because it seems that now the old women don’t want to fulfill their wishes they had nothing to do with them, so they just don’t phone or visit them as they used to do on almost a daily basis. That cousin is pretty pleased with the situation, since she always hated the evil ones and she also wanted to see the house being sold. The aunts, however, seemed to be disappointed and sad, as if just now they’re starting to think how their favourite ones have been treating them during last 50 years – and it also includes how their mother, my aunts’ elder sister, always treated them. It seems they’re finally noticing they’ve been used for a long time, and now they’ve been discarded.
Cousins from other cities want the house to be sold, but at least one of them was contacted by my aunts and she's not phoning to my mother - God know what they had told her. This entire saga is so unbelievable that sometimes I think it's happening to another family. Mother showed a photo of aunts to doormen of our building, telling them they're not welcomed anymore. I'm sure they were very surprised by that, because they've been witnessing their visits for years. Few days ago we saw the husband of one of evil cousins and his son inside a car near ours. My mother refused to wave hello to them, just like my father and me. My cousin's husband seemed surprised but didn't make any attempt to greet us. As I said it's the end of the world as I know, very sadly. Sometimes I wish time could turn back, my grandfather and his brother taking care of the inventory by themselves, maybe it wouldn't be so messed now. But it's just a "what-if" scenario, nobody can tell for sure what would have happened.


Jul. 30th, 2005 04:28 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear about your family problems. This kind of things can get really ugly. Good luck to you and your family, Adriana.:)
Jul. 31st, 2005 05:59 am (UTC)
Thanks, Ana - and the funniest (or ugliest, I'm not sure) is that many people have been telling me that something very similar had just happened in their families too. At least I have company in misery, *sigh*