Posts Tagged ‘cousins’
We all have within our DNA, a mix of nationalities, and with that, I think most of us have a little Irish in the mix. I know that in my own roots, you would find Irish ancestors from both sides, and I’m pretty sure Bob’s family is the same. A short time after my grandfather passed away, my grandfather and her sisters and brothers had the opportunity to travel back to Ireland to see the old country and meet some of the family from Ireland. It would be a trip she would remember for the rest of her life. She got to see the castles, kiss the Blarney Stone, and see the green, green hillsides. She got to see where all tradition started. I wish I could have gone along with her. What a trip that would have been.
While I have never been to Ireland, I do have something in my own life that in name only gets its roots from Ireland…Irish Twins. What, you might ask are Irish Twins? Irish Twins are siblings born either in the same year or within 12 months of each other. My daughters, Corrie and Amy were born 11 months apart. My guess is that you know some of these yourself. I know that I have cousins who are also Irish Twins. In fact, my cousins. Susie and George are Irish Twins. While Irish Twins may not have any real ties to Ireland, it is something that I think is very cool.
So, today we celebrate that bit o’ the old country that most likely resides in each of us. Whether you party at the pub, drinking green beer, or make sure that you are wearing something green, so as not to be pinched, most of us will celebrate the day in one way or another. It’s not that it is what we would consider a big holiday, but rather a fun holiday…one for goofiness, partying, and as my younger Irish Twin would say, a day to “Kiss me…I’m Irish.” It began however as a Christian holiday. It is also an Irish holiday. So how are the two related? Well, St Patrick’s Day was the day that Christianity came to Ireland…so maybe it should be a bigger holiday that we have made it. So, however you choose to celebrate it, I just want to tell everyone Happy St Patrick’s Day!!
As we travel to Newport, Washington to attend my Uncle Jim’s funeral, we had the opportunity to get together with my cousins, George and Greg. We all had such a great time. We laughed about old times, especially times with our grandparents. Greg told us about the time he told Grandma that he had outgrown her ability to swat him, Elmer, and Forest with the broom. Of course, Grandma proved just how wrong he was, by promptly chasing him down and swatting him again. Grandma was 5 feet tall…in her tall days…so in all of Greg’s 6 feet plus, I’m sure he was quite shocked at her ability to handle him in his all grown up and tough teen aged years. We all had the opportunity to find out just how feisty our grandmother was, because like any kid, we all got into a certain amount of mischief and back talked with the best of them. I have never forgotten my own run ins with Grandma, and often look back and smile about them. Of course, it’s easy to smile about those days now that I’m not getting that spanking.
George told us about the time that Grandpa took him deer hunting, and his disappointment that it was not the all day trip he had hoped. George was surprised that Grandpa knew exactly where to find the deer, and unfortunately, that place was not in the mountains, which is where George loves to be, and Grandpa simply didn’t. In the end, they went to the plains and had their deer before noon. I’m sure George had pictured an all day adventure, hiking through the trees on a quest for the perfect buck. When it ended up being a simple matter of point and shoot, and the drive took longer than the actual hunting part of the trip, his boyhood dreams of adventure and the thrill of the hunt, were dashed. I could picture this little boy, with a picture in his head of being almost on safari, and then the disappointment of the whole thing being very boring and simple, and I felt sad for that little boy who was now my grown up cousin, because I could tell that the adventure had been very important to him at that time in his life, and Grandpa just didn’t realize it, and for his part, I believe George found himself in awe of the fact that Grandpa knew exactly what he was doing…even though in George’s mind, he was old and couldn’t possibly know what was going on in these modern days.
Our visit ended far too soon for all of us and I found myself wishing that we lived closer together so we could re-live those old memories more often. I love my cousins, and I don’t like the way we have all drifted apart. Time changes so many things, and in many ways it makes me sad that so much time has past. Once again, I find myself thankful for Facebook and the ability we now have to stay in touch over the miles. It has brought several branches of my family closer together.
With her marriage to Prince William, almost 2 years ago, Kate Middleton added another facet to my family’s connection to the British Monarchy. I had always known that I was related to Diana Spencer, who became the Princess Diana that we all know of and loved, and later I found out that my husbands family also has ties to Princess Diana. Now, I find that my son-in-law has ties to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, or Kate as we all know her, even if the Queen hates it. Kevin’s grandmother’s maiden name was Hettie Middleton, and Kevin asked me if he might be related to Kate, when she and Prince William became engaged.
Now, we all quickly found out that Kate and William were actually distant cousins, as I have now also found out Bob and I are, and that tied her to my family and to Bob’s, but not to Kevin’s. I began researching Hettie Middleton’s background, and after a couple of hours, I had my answer. Indeed, Kevin is related to Kate Middleton, on his grandmother’s side, thereby adding another facet to the connection.
I know there are many people in the United States, who are related to the British Monarchy, and may be even more closely related than my family is, but having known about my British connections to the Monarchy and to Winston Spencer Churchill, has made me very aware of them throughout my life. I have always loved being related to them, but never more than with Princess Diana, who was so very special, and with William, Kate, and Harry, all of whom I consider wonderful people. William and Harry, and now Kate have managed to be so much more in touch with the people of England. The British Monarchy, like many monarchies, have always been known for a great degree of stuffiness. I have to credit that to their mother, Princess Diana who did her very best to teach them about the real world and those that they would someday be ruling over. I think she got that across quite well, in that they and Kate are much more comfortable talking to and being around the people of England, than any of the others.
Today Kate celebrates her 31st birthday, and this summer, she will give birth to the future King or Queen of England, and that will add yet another person to the connection that my family has to the British Monarchy. I am very excited for them, and I add my birthday wishes to Kate, as I’m sure many others around the world, do as well. Happy birthday Kate!! Have a wonderful day!!
My mom and her siblings have always had a close relationship, and even if their lives have become busy enough at times, so that it became almost impossible to see each other very often, they maintained a lasting love for their siblings and their spouses. Of course, as with most families, the older siblings and their spouses had more in common with each other than with the younger siblings. Because of that, my family spent more time with my Aunt Evelyn and Uncle George’s family, since my cousins, my older sister and I were close to the same ages. That said, I remember going out to Aunt Evelyn and Uncle George’s house to play, and always having a great time. Maybe it was that I was so young, or maybe it was because everything always seemed more fun at someone else’s house, but we always had the greatest time.
My Uncle George was always a soft spoken man…at least when I was around. I’m sure that having 5 kids of their own, all feisty, could make a man raise his voice once in a while, but I don’t recall that happening while I was there. I always liked their house, because it seemed so unusual. They had built it themselves, and it had cool and unusual, at least at that time, doorways, which were arched, and a fireplace, which our house didn’t have. There were lots of other things about their house, their own design that I liked too, but I don’t recall what all they were now. It’s been a long time since I have been through their house. All I know is that we always had great adventures out there.
My Uncle George is a handsome man…the kind you think of when you say, tall, dark and handsome, so I can see why my aunt was attracted to him, but there was so much more to him than that. I always loved his quiet laugh, and his gentle ways. He was always so nice. Today, my uncle is 88 years old. He has been a member of my mom’s family longer than any other spouse, and like my Aunt Sandy always says, he is more like a brother than a brother-in-law to her and I’m sure most of the kids. He is the oldest living member of the family now, sort of the man of the family, since grandpa passed away, back in 1980. His childhood was without a family of his own, because he was raised in the State Children’s Home, but for the last 65 years, he has belonged to us…and we are very, very happy about that. Happy birthday Uncle George!! Have a wonderful day!! We all love you very much!!
For many years I have been trying to find out if Susan Frances Spencer, who is Bob’s 3rd great grandmother, has a connection to my own Spencer family ancestry. It has been a struggle to say the least. I originally found out about Susan while Bob and I were visiting his great grandmother in September of 1976 in Yakima, Washington. Susan had stayed on my mind off and on through the years, and when I began researching our family history, I found that no information was available beyond Susan on Ancestry.com. Recently, as I was going through some old papers…looking for pictures, of course…I came across an old piece of paper where I had written the known information at the time of our visit to Yakima, in 1976. I was pleasantly surprised to find the names of Susan’s parents.
Within Ancestry.com, one tiny bit of information can open a whole new world of information. I began to trace her family back, and the further back I got, the more familiar the names began to sound. I started getting excited. I had tried to trace children of my great uncles down to try to connect to Susan that way, but hadn’t had much success. Now that information coming out started to mean something to me. As I continued the connections of Bob’s side of the family, I began to think that I was very close. Finally a name surfaced that I knew I had in my family tree…Gerard Spencer. As it turns out, Gerard, who is my 9th great grandfather, is also Bob’s 11th great grandfather. My family descends from Gerard’s son Michael, and Bob’s family descends from Gerard’s son, Thomas. So what does this information mean to me? Well, it means that Bob and I are actually cousins. Bob is my 10th cousin twice removed to be exact. Strange isn’t it? I suppose that might be something that could have bothered me 38 years ago, but since we have been married over 37 years now, I’m not going to let it upset me much.
One thing that Bob’s family might find interesting, however, is that since I can trace my line back to Princess Diana, and they are in that same lineage, theirs can also be traced back to Princess Diana. Princess Diana is my 18th cousin. Since Bob and I share a grandfather, Gerard, and Gerard is my 9th great grandfather, and Bob’s 11th great grandfather, that should make Princess Diana’s 20th cousin. Now that…is amazing!!
Last Sunday was my mom’s family’s annual picnic. We have been having these picnics, as well as the annual Christmas party, every year for decades now. We do this as a way to re-connect with family that we don’t get to see very often. It was my grandparents’ wish that we not drift apart when they were gone, and we have worked to do this for them, as well as for all of us. These days it is so easy to lose touch with family, and more and more I find that I don’t want that to be our family’s future. So many people know their aunts, uncles, and cousins, but when it comes to their cousins children and their children, well they hardly know them. I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know those young people in our family through Facebook friendships, and I want all of you to know that is has been a wonderful experience to get to know each of you. We have a wonderful family, with so many varied ideas and talents, and to miss out on all that…well, it would be a great loss.
I think this year’s attendance was a little better than last year’s, and I think that is due to Facebook. It was a great way to announce the plan to all the family, and get everyone talking about it excitedly. It was fun to see how much the little ones had grown and to see everyone just enjoying the day, which ended up being a little cooler than the heat wave we had been having.
My cousin, Michael had said that we needed to get together for something besides a funeral, since we had 2 within the last year. I agree, and I wish he had been able to be there. Sadly a couple of the regular attendees, Uncle Larry and Uncle Jack left us this year, and their presence was very much missed at this year’s picnic, but I was glad to see Aunt Jeanette and Aunt Bonnie there, and doing ok. As more and more of my aunts and uncles leave us, we will look back on these gatherings with the fondest of memories.
The annual picnic was a wonderful success, as it always is, and I always find myself sorry when it is over. This year, however, I think it will be better, because I am in closer touch with so many of my cousins and their families. I look forward to getting to know each of you better, and hearing about all your little family stories. And who knows, you might find yourself in one of my stories, because…when it comes to my stories, no one is exempt where a story exists.
Some girls are tomboys, some girls are drama queens, and some are simply princesses. Raelynn definitely falls into the princess category. Raelynn is a petite little girl, who loves to dress up in the prettiest outfit she can find. And it doesn’t matter to her if she is going for a ride on a four wheeler, a picnic on the mountain, or to church…her choice of clothing might very well be the same, because the prettier and more girly the outfit, the more this little princess likes it.
As for cousins her age…Raelynn is pretty much surrounded by boys, except for her little sister, who has been a bit of a tomboy, but who seems to be changing that a little. Being surrounded by boys puts a girly girl in an odd position. She can’t quite figure out some of the humor that boys possess, in fact, a lot of it can make her quite annoyed. And for Raelynn, this is especially tough, because the three boy cousins that are near her age, and her own brother, are…well, all boy, and they don’t care if their play offends her in any way. They are simply having a good time, and she will just have to deal with that. Nevertheless, those same boys think a lot of their girly girl cousin and sister.
Like most little girls, Raelynn is a Daddy’s girl. Most of the pictures where she and her dad are both in the shot, you will find that she is right beside her daddy. Being a Daddy’s Girl is not such an unusual thing. I find that there are many of us. I was a Daddy’s Girl myself, and so I can relate to just how Raelynn feels about her daddy. Dads just seem to understand those girly girls. Maybe it is because dads are simply taken with their little princesses. From the moment they see that sweet little face, they know that the rest of their lives will be spent wrapped around her little finger. She is their girl, and they think that is just fine. Today is Raelynn’s birthday!! Happy birthday Raelynn!! We love you!!
When I was a kid, one of the fun things to do was the stare down. Two people stare at each other until one blinks. The one who stares the longest without blinking is the winner. There was never any real purpose for this little game except to outlast your opponent, and that seemed to be the thing to do. And the funny thing was that it wasn’t just little kids that did it. Teenagers did it too. Maybe it was a silly kids game, and maybe it was a way to test ourselves…to see how long we might be able to endure. I don’t know for sure, but it was the contest of choice when we were goofing around…especially when we had cousins in town.
Of course, some of us were better at it than others. I would love to say that I was one of the best, but I think I probably fell somewhere in the middle. As I recall, Alena and Allyn were pretty good at it, and my cousin Terry was good too. Whenever he was in town, you could bet that there would be a few competitions that included the stare down that would end up in the mix of events.
It’s funny how quite often it is that you and your cousins are the most competitive. Sometimes it goes to the point of not getting along at all, but that was never the case with our family. The stare down and other competitions were always done in good clean fun, and were very much enjoyed by all of us. We left the fighting to other things…things that were more important, like who was a tattletale, or who hit who. Thankfully none of that happened so very much.
We always enjoyed the times when our cousins would come to visit, which became less and less as we all got older, and started working or got married. Those were some of the greatest times, and I miss them very much. Sometimes I wish things didn’t have to change so much…because in the stare down of life, time is always the winner.
As is the case in most families, we have a number of heroes, both living and deceased, in our family. Memorial Day was originally set aside as a day to remember our military heroes. It has evolved into a day to remember those loved ones who have left us too…even if they weren’t in the military. I know there are those who have served that I am unaware of, and I first want to thank every member of the military past or present for their brave service to our country. Freedom isn’t free, and it was your dedication, bravery, and sacrifice that have made it possible for us to enjoy our freedom.
My grandfather and my great Uncle Ted both served during World War I. My dad , Uncle Jim Wolfe, and Uncle George served during World War II. My Aunt Laura and Aunt Ruth also helped during the World War II by working in the shipyards welding ships…a man sized job that was being handled very well, but a group of outstanding women. Others in the military were my Uncle Larry, Bob’s Uncle Eddie and Uncle Butch, my cousins Larry, Greg and Michael, Bob’s cousins Sheila and Pat, Bob’s brother Ron, Bob’s brother-in-law Lynn, and my nephews Rob and Allen.
Whether our military men and women served in wartime or peacetime, doesn’t matter. It takes great bravery to even sign up for the military, because you never know when war can break out and you will be given the call to action. Our military men and women sign up not only to fight if necessary, but to give their very lives as a sacrifice for others. Their everyday life, the places they live, the job they have, and the hours they work are all things that they give up control over. Many have missed the births of children, wedding anniversaries, and family birthdays, because they were far away from home serving their country. The things we take for granted that we will be able to attend, they know with certainty that they will not be able to attend.
Such sacrifice…such selflessness…such dedication!! These are all a part of the very makeup of these individuals, and something many of us never give any thought to. These people turned a part of their lives over to their leaders, in order to make our homeland, and the countries of other people a safer place to be. They fought for people they didn’t even know, while leaving their own loved ones behind to answer the call of duty. Today is Memorial Day, and I want to thank these, and all our military men and women for your courage…your selflessness…your strength…and your dedication!! God bless each and every one of you!!