Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cousins

Enjoying a beautiful fall day in Sylvania with cousin Linda and her husband Kermit Evans. We visited new baby Chase and dad Mike at Michelle's, went for walks, sat and chatted on our front porch, had dinner at my place with Elissa, Julia, Philip and Josh. The cousin connection!

After a visit from my cousin Linda and her husband Kermit, I realize that next to siblings, cousins are the closest ties we have to our parents. My mom and dad’s sister and brothers' children
connect our family across generations, across time.

My mom’s sister, my Aunt Loretta, is 94 and although she is going strong for her age, she is getting up there too. I remember my mom talking about growing up with her sister in Rochester. My aunt's two children, my first cousins Skip and Maria, died young, tragically, after years of struggle with MS. Maria’s children, Roz, Kris and Dan (I think that makes them first cousins once-removed), live in and around Charlotte, NC and remain connecting ties. Aunt Loretta and Roz visited in August, a fantastic Luchetti reunion. I felt closer than ever to my mom, who died on March 31, 2003.

My mom’s first cousins are mostly gone, but one of her favorites, Bill Form, a retired Ohio State University professor of Sociology, is also 94 and lives with his sociologist wife Joan. A day trip to see cousin Bill in Columbus was a top priority during Aunt Loretta's visit a few months ago (photo right, very special to all of us).

The children of my mom’s first cousin Nan King and her husband Allen--Ron, Maribeth and Fern--are thriving in New England. We gathered in New Hampshire for a memorial service for Fern’s husband Dr. Bob Meyers in August, a sorrowful gathering but also a chance, all too rare, to catch up. First cousins once-removed and second cousins are important family connectors, too.

On my Dad’s side, the Curro family, I am closest to his brother Sam’s children: Leo, a biologist and retired professor, married to Kathy, retired school principal and community activist, living in Canton, New York; and Leo’s sister Linda, married to Kermit, who still lives in Rochester, where we all grew up and remember many family gatherings. They remain our "original hometown" anchors. My brother Loren, who always called Rochester home, loved visiting them (and my dad's gravesite), as he loved going up to New England to see the Form/King cousins.

Linda and Kermit just visited me in Sylvania. We hadn’t seen each other since I left for Ukraine. We had a wonderful time reminiscing and just being together, catching up in person, talking about our children and grandchildren.

How important cousins are in our lives! That’s why I love it when the children of my children get together. Now that I’m here, it happens more often, as they gather around me, their Nana. The cousin connections will stay with them for a long time, after my generation, like my parents’ generation, has moved on to its final journey.

My grandkids are trying to figure all this out, by the way! Who's Linda now? Who's Aunt Loretta and Roz? Who are you visiting in New Hampshire? It's a chance to talk some family history with them, to let them know they are part of a great chain of being, a great extended family stemming from their grandmother's mom and dad, and their parents, their great-grandparents and great-greats, to let them know they are the legacy and the ongoing line of our family traditions into the future. And all this is just on their grandmother's side of their present family, which in some ways is even more complex, and very fascinating. Some day they will have lots of stories to tell their children.
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