Your family may not be storybook, but you can cheer up the house by
breaking bread, finding fun, and following a few proven plotlines.
When I was a child, I loved the All-of-a-Kind Family
books. Five sisters sharing a bedroom in a small New York apartment at
the turn of the last century—what could be more fun? To me, growing up
in the suburbs with an older brother with whom I was never very close,
and with parents
who were active in numerous clubs and organizations that often kept
them out of the house, the idea of a large family doing things together
was extremely appealing. I envied even a housecleaning scene in which
the girls' mother hid buttons for them to find as they dusted the living
room. Everything was tackled with team
spirit, and so everything—even the chores—seemed like play. The family
possessed an infectious energy that you couldn't help but absorb through
the books' pages. Simply put, they were happy.