Family Friendly

What lovely responses to my last post. Thank-you to all who left comments and those who emailed me. I don’t want to give the impression I don’t get on with any of my family, that would be quite wrong. Early 2019 is pencilled in as Cousins Time; not my Irish cousins who get mentioned a fair bit as I usually stay with Cousin several times each year. This time it’s my English cousins. One is my cousin Russell who I’ve mentioned several times on this blog. He is the only first cousin younger than me on my father’s side of the family. Much to Mother’s annoyance, I used to spend my pocket money on Matchbox cars for him. His parents were much better off than mine, and I think it irritated Mother that her hard earned cash was being syphoned of to a family who had a much healthier bank account.
It didn’t stop me though.
When my cousin and Russell’s half-sister Jeannette died suddenly in 2017 we realised we couldn’t take our cousins for granted, so Russell and I, already regularly in touch, became closer. When he contacted me to say he is the current artist in residence at the Watts Gallery I nearly burst with cousinly pride and excitement.
Russell is my first cousin.
The other cousins I hope to be meeting up with are also first cousins, but one removed; ie they are my father’s cousins, younger than him by some years, now old in their own right. Jeannette (another Jeannette) lives not far away from me, but we seldom manage to coincide. Her parents, my Great Uncle Percy and Great Aunt Helen decamped to Wales and Jeannette has inherited their property which has become a favourite bolt hole. I’m not sure how much she goes there now, but if she’s anything like Percy, she’ll think nothing of the drive. He drove down to London for his 90th birthday party and stood chatting to everyone throughout. Helen, his wife, was Swiss. They were both musicians and Helen was not brought up with domestic skills. At that birthday party she told me how she had not known how to prepare a meal, but good smells issued from her neighbour’s house, so she went round and asked her to show her how to cook.
Jeannette and I had a chat a few weeks ago and we plan to meet to exchange family stories and look at photos next month. It’ll be great to see her. As both sides of my family tend to be talkative the conversation should be lively .
I sent a card to another of my father’s cousins, Hazel. Dad always called her Young Hazel. His younger sister, Russell’s mother, was Young Madeleine until Dad died.I remember saying that to her when she was in her 80s and she went very quiet.
Hazel has not had the easiest time in the last few years. Her husband Ted developed dementia and her son had mental health issues. In her 80s, Hazel was driving long distances every day caring for the pair of them. After Ted died she moved into sheltered housing and my last contact with her was about how I could visit her.
So it was a surprise to get an email from her daughter Sally in reply to my ecard. Oddly I don’t think I have met Sally, maybe at a family party about thirty years ago, maybe not. Hazel is not too well but would love to see me. This is always flattering to hear. Sally said she could collect me from the station, and sent me some photos of herself, her children, her husband and her mother. My goodness. Hazel has morphed into a cross between Madeleine and Great Aunt Tup, my grandmother’s youngest sister, real name Margaret, but called his Tuppenny piece by my Great Grandfather. Her middle name was Etheldreda, not a name, perhaps fortunately, adopted by later generations.
So once I have seen sorted out some photos, seen Jeannette and am armed with a new batch of family (long) tales, I hope to see Hazel and meet Sally who is around my age. A new cousin! How very exciting. I expect my family to grow via babies but not sideways with cousins who were babies at the sane time as I was.
Amazing.

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4 thoughts on “Family Friendly

    • Well, my mother was one of seven, and my father one of four. They were both close to their cousins, and so the next generation kept in touch too. I am happily settled in at home for Christmas Eve with my boy.
      Have a great Christmas.

      • Well given that number of ancestors I reckon you need to to buy a roll of wallpaper to map out the family lineage!, have a restful and peaceful time this Xmas Isobel and give that Ginger Ninja a treat from me! X

        • We’ve done a bit, but the Irish troubles a century ago and the French Revolution both destroyed pertinent records. Then there was the Blitz…
          The Ninja has a tin of food all the way from NZ tomorrow, a new heated thingy for us to unwrap in the morning, and lots and lots of attention!

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