I grew up as an only child, not knowing that I actually had cousins, a lot of them, and half siblings, and grandparents, and it wasn’t a terrible childhood, in fact it was the best one I could imagine.
I was born in 1960, a time when unwed pregnancies were not talked about and single mothers were rare; adoption was the trend in those days.
I was the child of an unwed mother, and was adopted by my grandparents. That loving, selfless act of generosity and love opened up many doors for me in terms of opportunities, being raised well, but being raised without a big family; my parents’ parents were long dead, they had survived their siblings so there were no aunts, uncles, cousins for the most part; one aunt who I adored (married to my dad’s brother who passed when I was 10) and one cousin who was a decade older.
I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything, not even for more family at the time I was growing up.
My parents died when I was young, the hazard of being adopted by your mom when she is 51 and your dad when he is 50. You are not going to get them much past 25 and that’s what happened to me.
But this blog is not about him, (his time will come lol)
The other is the daughter of my father’s brother.
We are very close in age, in fact, three weeks apart…she is OLDER….lol.
We went to the same schools growing up, and I think we were in the same class once or twice.
Funny thing is, we never connected as friends.
I don’t mean we disliked each other, we just didn’t stop when our paths crossed.
Fair enough, we did not know we were related.
I wish we had stopped in each other’s path because I believe, today, we would have a lot of memories to talk about.
I really feel we missed out.
|Me at grad (cannot find a full length one, just as well!)|
I have not seen her in person for probably 45 years.
I have her image in school photos, and if anyone had mentioned her name to me while I was growing up I would have recognized it, recognized her as my friends’ cousin…..my friends’ who were my half sisters, at the time unknown to any of us.
It is odd to me that we lived in the same community, went to the same schools to a point, I think she moved on to a different school half way through elementary school, we were back passing each other in the halls at junior high, and then embarked on separate roads after that, but we shared things we did not realize.
A family tree for one thing!
Probably hair color, skin tone (we are both dark like our fathers), who knows,maybe the same freckles, laugh, or lazy eye….(I have yet to find out about that!)
Most cousins meet at their grandparents house.
We met, really met, over facebook.
It sounds so shallow, so “social media-esque”, but I have to tell you, in my cousin Verna, I found my second self.
Are we alike? Probably a little. Maybe she is like her dad and I am like mine. I don’t know because I never met my uncle and I only have vague, little girl memories of my father pushing me around in a wheelbarrow, taking is on rides when I was at his house playing with his girls/my half sisters.
I remember he had dark curly hair and really nice teeth.
So do I.
Are we kindred spirits?
I think so.
I envision she would have been the Hardy to my Laurel, the Robin to my Batman, the Ethel to my Lucy, or maybe the other way around. ( I am aging myself, I know!)
The Midge to my Barbie…the Mindy to my Mork….you get the point!!
Sometimes you just click with a person you are comfortable with and you don’t have to pretend to be normal.
So never underestimate the power of a cousin. In this case, the power of two men who fathered two daughters who met, really for the first time, after half a century.
I hope one day I can be there for her as she has been for me.
Verna Coulson-Tallosi. Happy Birthday!!! I swear we shall meet in person before you qualify for your senior’s discount!!
Until next time, I am right behind you cuz!