TERRY DULLUM: The Dullum File — 19 Kids

With all the attention being heaped on the now infamous Duggar clan and their “19 Kids and Counting” television series these days, it’s interesting to recall that large families were not always as uncommon as they are now.

Above is a picture of my father’s family that hangs on our wall at home. I’ll save you the trouble of counting. My grandfather, Petter (or Peder) Dullum, and his wife, Bertina, had 18 kids! Actually, they had 19, but one child died as an infant. It must have been something of a miracle in those days that nearly all of the kids reached adulthood.

The family never had a reality show, and they never had an abuse scandal. I’m pretty sure they never had much money, either. But it would be hard to prove looking at the way they are all dressed in the photograph.

I never knew my grandparents. I was born too late. But I did know my aunts and uncles pretty well. Most of them, at least. All of them are gone now.

I once had a conversation with the Forum writer Dorothy Abrams. She told me, “I knew the Dullums. They had wonderful baseball games on their farm Sunday afternoons. They had enough kids for BOTH teams.”

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