Sunday, August 28, 2016

Auld Acquaintance




It's a bit unsettling, to grieve for something I never had.   
(Grieve?  That's an exaggeration, but I'm too lazy to consult the Thesaurus.)

Nevertheless, that's sort of how I felt last weekend after meeting my cousin.  Re-meeting, I should say.  To the best of our recollection, the last time we saw each another was 1959-60?  Six years younger, Gretchen would have been about 4 ... too unimportant to have made a lasting impression.  :)

Prior to our lunch date, I'd tried exuding a laissez faire attitude.  Whatever!
Privately - in spite of myself - my insides were doing somersaults.
An only child, I coveted the camaraderie DH enjoys with his extended family. 

So we met, we hugged (she, self-assured ... fit as an Olympian) and tried recreating our family's jig-saw puzzle ..... albeit, one missing more than a dozen pieces.   
Not for the first time, I sorely regretted not having paid more attention when my father spoke of his childhood.  


I was taken aback to learn, it was at my own father's urging, Uncle Edric "straightened up his act" and joined him at mortuary school.   (While they both graduated, only Edric made that his career.  I've absolutely no idea why my father took a pass!)

Recalling my growing-up years, I suspect my father was a bit lonely for his siblings - in particular his younger brother, fellow Navy mate and practical joker.  Whenever we'd check into a motel room, one of the first things Daddy would do is consult the telephone directory to see if there were any Willer's listed.

G and I smiled, recalling our fathers' favorite ritual -- consuming raw hamburger meat, specially prepared by the old German butcher her dad knew and trusted, followed by thick, stinky cigars.

Later, as Gretchen and I prepared to take our leave, I remarked what (our getting together) would have meant to our dads.
She concurred, "Except, they would have been disappointed we didn't have kanapras."
True that.  

My family always used 'kanapra' to describe an 'adult beverage' but now I felt compelled to ask,
"G, whatever language was that?"
"Ha! I think he and Uncle Ad made it up."

Despite our obvious differences, I expressed a desire we'd see each other again sometime.
"Well", she winked, "I plan to live to 100.  Everyone can come enjoy my grand meal, have a b.m. and go home.  You'll be there, right?"

Like our fathers before us, more than 1200 miles separate G and I.
Except that G and her hubby - both executives in the travel industry - skip around the country (around the world, actually), about as often as Tom and I drive into Scottsdale.

More so, there's a chasm I can't define.  Like mother's bracelet I slipped on at the last minute, it just wasn't a comfortable fit.

So yesterday, I revisited my mother's hope chest ... specifically daddy's memorabilia.  I may not have listened so good while he was alive, but I hope my father knows how I treasure what remains.  Can I show y'all a few?

My dad's baby book
ca. September 1912
The illustrations are amazing!
My grandmother, Adele, and daddy at Quincy, Massachusetts
Quincy shore w/ siblings.  (Gretchen's dad is the little guy in the center.)



Thanks for listening, m'friends

... what a comfort you are!



Hugs from Phoenix!
Myra















28 comments:

  1. ha ha on the made up word.. I enjoyed your memories and your photos. I like old photos even when I don't know the people. I was raised as a sister to my first cousin, we lived next door to each other for most of our lives. when I moved here 34 years ago, I have seen her only 4 times, 3 were funerals. she is 400 miles away but neither of us travel...

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    1. Wouldn't it be a lark if the term, 'kanapra' were to catch on?

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  2. How beautiful that you have those keepsakes and were moved by re-discovering your cousin to look through them again. Old photos are treasures.

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    1. I didn't use to think so, but yes, I treasure those boxes of old photos. Thank you, Terri!

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  3. Sounds like good family to me. I enjoyed learning more about you in relation to your relatives. Interesting photos too. I hope you and G have many more fun times in the future!

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    1. Thanks, Mary! They'll probably be back for Adele's rescheduled concert in November, but I doubt we'll get together. You never know!

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  4. What precious keepsakes of your dad's you have. Why is it that we don't listen more to stories of our parents? I was lucky in growing up for a time we didn't have a car so had to walk every place. During that time my mom shared lots of stories. I don't remember them all and there are others I wish I knew. I wonder how much I shared will be remembered and shared by my children.

    It does sound like an interesting lunch with your cousin. I admire you for going to it. I might not, wondering what I would have had in common other than family ties, which I guess could be strong no matter how far apart the visits. I have a great nunber of cousins, a lot not seen in close to 40 years, let alone 2nd and maybe even 3rd cousins now I will never meet.

    Betty

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    1. Ha! Yes, I had cold feet for sure ... but came armed with enough family lore and questions to keep the conversation going.

      That's a neat image you painted, walking with your mother while she shared the stories of her life.

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  5. A treasure chest of memories. I'm glad you goT together. The fit doesn't have to be perfect to make a connection to the future or the past.

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    1. You raise a great point. It's not like I'm moving to Minneapolis anytime soon and would want to 'hang out'! Thanks for that perspective.

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  6. I enjoyed the entire post. It is always sorta tough to meet a cousin after so many years. I did it last year 65 yrs apart. I know the feeling you expressed well. But that aside the picture of you four is great, you girls sure stayed in shape. The men, hey just men! Tom is looking good.
    I'm like Sandra, I enjoy old pictures and I do not know why, but I am drawn to them.
    YOur dad's oldstuff, neat. I wish I had a treasure chest like that.
    Love from here and hugs to Tom!

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    1. ... But that's just the TIP of the iceberg, Jack. I just hope my son and granddaughters will be interested in my parents memorabilia.

      Thanks for your comments on our photo. I enjoyed sharing them w/ Tom. :)

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  7. I have a boatload of cousins, and no matter how many years pass without us seeing each other, when we do get together, it's almost as though we'd never been apart. But that's because we were also friends. If you were never all the close to someone, getting together to reunite after that many years would have to be a little awkward.

    The old photos and mementos are a real treasure.

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    1. Thanks, Susan. A 'boatload' sounds like a party just waiting to happen. Lucky duck!

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  8. I'm lucky that I spent a great deal of time with most of my cousins growing up. We sort of lost touch once we all started getting married and having kids but now we all keep tabs on each other easily thru facebook. Honestly, FB is one of the best things that happened for us. We had a family reunion last year and it was like we never parted - great fun!

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    1. Lucky, indeed. Were it not for FB, what remaining family members I have would be little more than names on paper!

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  9. I have one cousin that I am really close to. Our relationship has it's up and downs but we usually come back together. He is like a childhood friend. But if the fit isn't good then it isn't good. Loved the memories you shared of your dad. Precious memories. I don't have many things that belonged to my dad. And almost none of his family. SAD!!

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    1. You're right about the 'fit.' Can't force a square peg ... lol! Then again, like I told Taryterre, I'm not likely to take a wrong turn on I10 and wind up in the Twin Cities anytime soon.

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  10. How wonderful that you had a chance to reconnect. I have over 30 cousins. Large families on both my parents sides. But I haven't seen any of them in years. Family and friends are the best !

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    1. In a way, our meeting was obligatory ... but you're right. Family is family, and I'm lucky to have a handful still living and friends on FB.

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  11. Very lovely having lunch with your cousin♥Hugs

    summerdaisy.cottage.blogspot.com

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  12. I'm glad you were able to reconnect with your long lost cousin. So many things in our lives are lost over the distance of time - - reestablishing the remnants of our roots is important.

    I can certainly identify with being an only child - - there is a acute sense of loneliness and isolation that others with siblings and big families don't understand.

    I enjoyed seeing the keepsakes from your mother's hope chest. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I knew you'd understand the 'isolation' part, Jon. Growing up, I was always fascinated by and drawn to kids with several siblings.

      I appreciate you taking the time to look at my ancestry "show and tell"!

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  13. It would have been a wonderful time with your cousin. Sweet memories photos :)

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  14. Well this is nuts! I have been commenting here and they are disappearing. It is the kind of luck I have! HeeHee! Well, I will come back and check these comments tomorrow.
    It is always nice to reacquaint ourselves with relatives from our youth. I am hopeful my cousin Kay who lives in IL. will be able to reach me tomorrow before she heads home again. She has helped me tremendously with some of our phamily history. Her mom and my dad were sister and brother. I willbe back to visit tomorrow. You have a great evening.

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Thanks so much for dropping by! Your words are like hugs from afar.... and who doesn't love a hug!