I was born into a group text. I inherited it from my parents who inherited it from their parents and it’s been passed down from generation to generation.
The group text started with my great great grandmother when she was still living in southern Italy. One day she couldn’t find her red dish towel so she group texted her husband, two sisters, and three children (still young at the time, but had their own cellphones) asking if anyone had seen the towel.
Everyone responded no. My great great grandmother sent a follow up text asking what everyone wanted for dinner. Her husband and sisters both did not respond, two of her children said, “whatever you want, I’m easy” and the third followed up with “fuck off, mom.“ This was all in Italian, of course. Based on her Instagram posts that day, I believe she ended up making rigatoni bolognese. Yumm-o!
From that point on,my family just kept using that thread when they needed to communicate. My great grandfather moved to America and the text thread moved with him. He met my great grandmother, Elspeth Tobin, and after a courtship added her to the group text, signifying their marriage. Supposedly, my great great grandparents were not thrilled about the union because Elspeth had an Android and was also Presbyterian.
As the family grew and more and more people were added. It was a joyous time, I have gathered from scrolling back in the text’s history, because of the prevalence of "haha yeah” texts. I was born into the thread and soon said my first words.
Of course, there are sad moments that went through the group text, too. When someone would break the news of a divorce or a passing. I found out my uncle died that way.
Ultimately I’m grateful for this group text. I’m proud of it. It’s crazy and disorganized but so is my outrageous Italian family.
We’ve never once successfully made a plan or carried out an intention set forward in the group text, but boy are there days and days worth of tasteless inside jokes, plus the fun of asking everyone to state their name when a new person is added.
When the incessant buzzing of incoming texts makes me want to disconnect from all technology and form a small antisocial cult of luddites, I try to remember my sweet great great grandmother looking for her red hand towel. I don’t know if she ever found it because she never followed up saying that she had, but I do know that in its absence a tradition was born. And although that tradition has wreaked havoc on our phone bills and ability to go a few moments without looking at our phones, I wouldn’t have it any other way.