#41: She Ain’t Your Aunt!

41.1  Dear Stolf: I read somewhere on the internet that Aunt Bee isn’t really Andy Taylor’s aunt. How can that be?   …from Geeber, Goldsboro NC

41.2  Dear Geeber: Well, since I’m probably the only one in the universe promoting that daffy notion, you must have read it on one of my other blogs. But weird as it sounds, it’s completely true. Bear in mind that not once in the entire 8-year run of the show…249 episodes…was it ever spelled out exactly what Andy and Bee’s relationship is. Yes, he calls her “Aunt”…as does Opie…as does everybody else in town.

41.3  But never once…I guarantee it, not once…does Bee mention (or even imply) “Andy’s father was my brother,” which is what everyone assumes their relationship to be. Folks, it’s just an assumption. When you get right down to it, we know very little about the Taylor family.

41.4  All we know about Andy is he’s a widow and his parents are no longer living. We do not know their names, or how and when they died. Nor do we know Andy’s wife’s name, nor what happened to her. We can infer…since Opie apparently has no cousins…that Andy was an only child. His wife was likely from out of town, since none of her relatives live in Mayberry…Andy has ZERO in-laws, or at least none that he ever talks about…thus no cousins for Opie on that side either…she must have been an only child too. This is called Fan Logic Game…see how it works?

41.5  Now I don’t mean to brag, but The Andy Griffith Show is one of my “specialities”…and some day I will do a full-blown report from the Mayberry Genealogical Society…there really are, despite Andy’s seemingly “bare” family tree, a lot of interesting connections. But to answer your question…

41.6  Since the Summer of 2007, I have written a column for a monthly newspaper in St. Lawrence County, upper Upstate NY, called “Fourth Coast Entertainment”…the “third coast” is the Gulf of Mexico, the St. Lawrence River is the “fourth.” Last year I wrote 2 articles on Mayberry Trivia…you can check them out here and here.

41.7  In the 2nd column, I explain how Andy and Bee are first cousins once removed, which is to say, she and Andy’s father were 1st cousins, not siblings. Instead of trying to hunt down the original document amidst my impossible fling system, I just screen-captured that part of the article…welcome the digital age, nez pah?

41.8   Well, that’s the gist of it anyway. For disbelievers and debunkers, I could go into much greater detail, citing episodes and what we know from them…the case of Bee’s actual siblings is a whole other story in itself. For now tho, here’s the very first genealogy chart I ever tried doing on the computer, which is why I call it Chart 0…and it is my best reconstruction of what we know of the Taylor clan. Next week, more letters, or maybe something else…or both! See yez…

 P.S.  Actually, as they say in England, I tell a lie…we know a little more about the Taylors…there’s 2nd cousin Todd as I mentioned, and Andy has a couple of 1st cousins…referred to but never seen. Trouble is, we don’t know where to put them…even Martha being Ellen’s daughter is a guess…they simply never say. Then of course Opie eventually gets married and has a family. And Andy and Helen have a son…well, sort of…ha ha…tale for another time…


Copyright © 2011 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved


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