In the interests of "buying time" for the "vacationing" Silver Fox (that's Yours Truly) and the occasionally MIA Skip Simpson and Sandy Herbert, here's the fifth installment of WHO'S WHO in PLEASANTVIEW, fellow babies! And this time, as Sly Stone would have said, "it's a family affair!" We're featuring Gretchen's relatives, and Luke's family!
Now, will someone please explain to me how it qualifies as my vacation if I'm writing all of this lengthy
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Kris Von Grüber -- Gretchen Von Grüber's Uncle Kris is a rich and happy man. A lifelong resident of Germany until roughly ten years ago, as a young man Uncle Kris worked in the West German film industry and directed some films. He then decided to make his career in the music field instead. Kris and his wife took little Gretchen in when her parents, Kris' younger brother and sister-in-law, were killed in a tragic accident twenty or so years ago. They raised Gretchen as their own, and made her part of their family's Kris Von Grüber Happy Oompah Band (currently headlining at the relatively new Las Vegas hotel & casino, Oktoberfest). Soon after the dissolution of Gretchen's marriage to an abusive, alcoholic husband, Uncle Kris moved the band (and thus, his entire extended family) to South Dakota in the USA. Although he currently lives in Las Vegas, where the band has a standing gig, Uncle Kris has expressed a desire to retire from the band and buy a home in Pleasantview (presumably to be near the niece he considers more like a daughter) while indulging his dream to become involved with the motion picture business once again.
Dotty Von Grüber -- Little is known about Gretchen's Aunt Dotty so far. She performs in the
Kris Von Grüber Happy Oompah Band along with her husband. She is apparently somewhat younger than Kris, whom she has been with for an unspecified number of years (but obviously more than twenty, having been with him during the entire time he raised Gretchen).
Mr. Tian -- Luke Tian's grandfather (first name not yet given) was, as of eight or nine years ago, still harboring deep resentment toward the Japanese invaders who overran his native China in the 1930s. Physical hurts were all-too-well remembered, and emotional scars ran even more deeply. When the teenage Luke began consorting with various "hoodlums" -- many of whom were of Japanese descent -- Mr. Tian strove to keep young Luke on a straight and narrow path. Luke acknowledged the hurts of the past, saying "I know the Japanese screwed up your left arm when you were about my age, and I know that they killed my grandmother in the waning days of the war," but went on to accuse Mr. Tian of being a racist. Stating in effect that the past was dead, or at least should be, Luke taunted his grandfather by saying "Look, old man, maybe you never bothered to read the papers, but that war ended over fifty years ago! The Japanese lost, by the way." Needless to say, Mr. Tian was not even remotely amused, especially when Luke added, "My buddies don't even call me "Luke!" They call me 'Kato
a Japanese name]
Maybe I should change my stupid name from Tian to that! Maybe I should change it to 'Kato Kato!' Double the insult!" After Mr. Tian wondered aloud what he or Luke's parents had ever done "to create such an ungrateful, disrespectful, spiteful little monster," Mr. Tian and Luke parted. Mr. Tian's current status -- if he is even still alive -- has not been revealed.
Alan Tian (Ka-Meng Tian) -- Luke Tian's father is the head of Tian Global, an immensely successful import/export company based in Boston, Massachusetts. Within hours of young Luke's outrageously disrespectful argument with his aged grandfather (as described above), an incensed Alan disowned Luke for his familial transgressions. There was absolutely no contact between father and son until a few short months ago, when Luke attempted a reconciliation that apparently did not come to pass. Alan and his wife have two other children, a son and a daughter.
Susan Tian (Soo-Har Lee) -- Little is known so far about Luke Tian's mother, Alan Tian's wife. Immediately before Luke was thrown out of the Tian home -- and, in effect, the family as well -- Susan attempted to warn Luke to leave before his father "caught" him, a warning that came too late to prevent the disastrous father-son verbal confrontation. As stated in Alan Tian's entry, she has two other children besides Luke.
Coming Soon: In the next installment of WHO'S WHO IN PLEASANTVIEW -- whenever that ends up being -- we'll feature the remainder of the Simpson/Lynch Studios: Pleasantview gang!
Thanks for your time!