Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Cousins

Traditional southerners in the US.A. are often good at knowing all their cousins, however distant.  There is often a Matriarch (and sometimes a Patriarch) who at a family reunion can say "Well she's your third cousin twice removed on your fathers side" or something to that effect.





I have no cousins on my father's side.  He was an only child.

My mother was one of eight.  Her older sister Kate died of what was then called "lockjaw" (in the 1920's/30's?)

Her youngest brother Albert was killed in Normandy is August 1944. (We took my mother to see his grave in Bayeux, Normandy in September 1994.  It was a solemn moment.)

Her brother Reg and his wife Dorothy did not have children.

That leaves her brother Harold and his wife Doll.  They had two children, my cousins Sheila and John. I think that I met John many years ago.  I do not know if he is still alive.  Cousin Sheila became a frequent visitor to our home after a divorce, and we loved her and enjoyed her until she died of cancer (in her fifties or sixties?, I do not remember),

Mum's brother Fred and his wife had one daughter, my cousin Rosemary.  She was an utterly beautiful young woman who tragically succumbed to what was then called Hodgkin's Disease when she was in her early twenties.

Rosemary is the only person in my life who was laid out in her coffin in her parents' front parlour from the time of her death until her burial.  Family members kept vigil 24/7.  People used to do that, and I think that it was a healthy way to acknowledge death and grief.

Mum's brother Wally and his wife my dear Aunt Irene had four children, Alan who succumbed to cancer (in his 50's?), Janet, Kate and Chris.  I am in good and regular contact with my cousins Janet and Kate.  We visited together in Bristol last year, and we saw their mother my Aunt Irene in the peaceful memory unit where she now lives.

Which leaves Mum's oldest brother John and his wife Elsie. I think that I only met them once - they moved from Bristol to Southend on Sea, Essex - which in those pre-car days might as well have been to the other side of the moon.

(The one time I met them is when Mum decided to host a family reunion for her brothers and their wives).

I knew that Uncle John and Auntie Elsie had a daughter named Margaret, but I can't for the life of me remember if we ever met.

My oldest sister Maureen remembers her cousin well from the days before she and her parents decamped to Southend.

BUT  lo and behold my good cousin Janet has made contact with our first cousin Margaret via Face Book. I cannot post Margaret's photo' because I do not have permission to do so.

But it is fun to know that I have an older first cousin who is live and well.

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