Tuesday, 17 June 2008

My weekend away, Part Two

My weekend away, part two.

My mother had six brothers and one sister. Her younger sister, Kate died as a young woman from tetanus poisoning, known then as “lock-jaw”.

Her brothers were John, Fred, Harold, Reg, Wally and Albert.

Albert was killed in Normandy, August 1944, in World War II.

Wally also served in thy Army, and after de-mobilisation, married Irene Parsons - my Aunt Irene. They divorced 20 years ago, and Wally has since passed from this life.

Irene had but one brother. His name was Clifford, and he served in the Merchant Navy during World War II.

He sailed out of Newfoundland, where he married “Bridie” a Newfoundland Irishwoman.

They had one child, Catherine (Kippy), but soon after her birth, Clifford was lost at sea when his boat was torpedoed

Irene was 16 years old at that time, but she never forgot that she had a “Newfie” niece, “Kippy”.

As Kippy grew up, she was able to develop a loving relationship with her Aunt by birth, Irene.

And that same Aunt, Irene is my Aunt by marriage. For as long as I can remember she has been my favourite Aunt. She has been the only Aunt who has consistently cared for me. I am the (very poor) godfather for her younger \son Christopher. Irene has visited me four times in these United States.

(Her older daughter, Janet, has a time share in Sarasota, so I have been able to connect with her these past two years.)

Through Irene I have gotten to know my cousin by marriage, Kippy, and her husband Marty. We have connected for more than 30 years.

And I was in New Jersey/New York for the 50th wedding anniversary of Kippy and Marty. I just “had” to be there for Marty and Kippy, but also because my Aunt Irene and her daughter, my favourite cousin Janet, would also be there.

It was a wonderful visit.

On Friday night, Marty and Kippy’s son Stephen hosted a party for the out of town guests. (He is a New York Fire fighter in Manhattan - one of the genuine heroes
of “9/11”). [ Mary and Kippy had no idea that we were all in Town]

On Saturday we were at the surprise party for Marty and Kippy. And it was a surprise. They were as they say in England - “gob smacked”.

Kippy was shocked (to say the least) that her four half brothers were there from Newfoundland, as well as her Aunt Irene from England, together with Janet and me.

Their four children, Michael, Stephen, Barbara and Brian gave beautiful and touching speeches. I was privileged to bless Marty and Kippy, and to offer grace before dinner.

It was a wonderful party. Good food, lovely renewal of friendships, and so much deep love for Marty and Kippy.

On Sunday we all returned to Barbara’s home for a very relaxed barbecue.

What a simply fabulous weekend!

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