I got an email yesterday from my librarian cousin in Columbus, OH, to tell me that his younger brother had died suddenly the day before on the farm near Magnolia, back home in Rock County. He was my age, and had some health issues.

I have very fond memories of my cousin, a wild and impulsive guy who loved fireworks as much as I do, and with whom I had wonderful fun as a kid building forts in the grove on his farm, playing baseball, climbing trees, and setting pocket gopher traps. One of my favorite memories is the time he and his younger brother were having a knock down, drag out fight in the middle of the farm yard while their mother was whacking them with a broom and they were laughing at her.

My cousins are like siblings to me. The ones my age are boys, and I had lots of fun doing daring and inventive things with them. I am so glad for my memories with them.

Got any good cousin stories? Who are your favorite relatives or adopted relatives?

37 thoughts on “Cousins”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Renee, I am so sorry to hear that you have lost a cousin you are close to. This seems to be a season heavy with loss, even here on the Trail.

    My cousins on my father’s side are a rather wonderful group of people. Dad was an only child, so like Renee, his cousins were like his siblings. He kept in touch with them until his illness became too disabling, then the children of his cousins came after us (me and my siblings) and arranged an annual reunion. At that reunion I have become familiar with some genetic traits: small feet with high arches, high emotional sensitivity—we can cry over anything, and bad knees. Every year when we decorate graves at the Nevada, Iowa cemetery I run into a cousin or two out there decorating. Not your usual social contact location, but I guess it works.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. In the summer of 69, my cousin, Jack, came from Indiana to learn flooring installation. He stayed with us. To this day, I have never been in the company of a more handsome and conceited person. We had a very large garden with tons of peas and mosquitoes. Most of the time, he escaped gardening as that should be left to the “women-folk”. My mother finally insisted that he weed the peas or go back home. He relented. At the end of the summer, Mom forced him to pick the peas. He did. The spite was flowing freely. Mom cooked a tuna casserole with peas. Jack ate it but sorted out all the peas.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My cousin Kenny is probably my closest from childhood, since he lived in Grandma B’s town and he was always there when we visited her. He’s the one who scared me by telling there was a wolf in the long, dark closet in one of her bedrooms. Then as teens, he would give me dating advice.

    Joel was closest to the cousin who live with us for a while (till his mom got back “on the rails”), They at some point decided they were brothers. But he loved getting together with the whole Hassing clan, which happened fairly often. I do thing his relationship can be really important for only kids.

    My mom was still writing or calling a cousin up until the last couple of years of her life. Virginia lived in N. California not far from my sister, so we visited her and her daughter once, maybe 10 years ago. It was delightful, and sort of amazing that you can meet these strangers and have a ready connection.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Another Jack story.
    He and I went to the Norman county fair in 69. While on the midway, we started playing a pinball race horse game. Jack became obsessed. Win the race a get a little bronze horse. 5 bronze for a silver. 5 silver for a gold. 5 gold for a clock with two horses facing it. That’s a lot of races to win at 10 cents/per try. Especially considering that you have competitors. We went all three days. Jack spent a couple hundred dollars of his own money but quickly all the other players began to give their winnings to him. Did I mention that he was handsome? Jack came up a bit short but the carny gave him the clock in exchange for helping dismantle the carnival tent.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I’m sorry to say that I have no close relationships with any of my cousins. On mom’s side of the family, I have met only three of them, and they all live in England. I know of at least five others that I have never met, but from what I know about them, I doubt that we’d have very much in common. Three of them live in Ireland, and two in the UK. One is a professional poker player and lives at least part of the year in Spain. Cousins on dad’s side I see whenever I visit Denmark, but partly because of age difference, we’ve never really been close. Now that all of the aunts and uncles on that side of the family have died, I’ll probably never see any of them again.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I mentioned it when Fenton first wrote on the blog, and he pretty much ignored it, so I doubt it. Doesn’t really matter since I’ve never met the man, and he’s one of the one’s I doubt that I’d have much in common with.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. This is Clyde, calmer Clyde. I trashed out WP. It kept telling every time someone posted on the two sites I follow while I was on the phone with two insurance companies, the county, the state, and Mankato Clinic. All to no avail. Letting it go for a few days to face down my other three loads.
    I have 32 first cousins on my mother’s side, all on the west coast, all Trumpites I assume. I have only met 7 of them. Two are fb friends but I avoid them in there. One is the woman I have spoken about before who owns a B& B and invites relatives to come visit and then hands them a bill for $200 a night. The west coast relatives call it the family discount.
    My fathers weird and difficult half brother Herman lived in Duluth during winter because he was a chief engineer on an ore boat. Then at age 50 or do he married a woman who was a social worker during WWII when qualifications to be one were ignored. She had no training. She went into a home with 7 children, the youngest of whom was 9 months old and in bad shape. They were not feeding much and often sour milk. There were no provisions in welfare to deal with the situation. She asked if she could have the child. They agreed. She took him to the hospital and paid the bills herself. She raised him. He was 13 when Herman married her. He looked about 10 years old and was in fifth grade. He became my only real cousin even though he was not really my cousin. Herman just sort of tolerated him like he did most people. When Ronnie was 24 Herman adopted him. Which meant he inherited the several thousand dollars Herman had, which was I assumed the point of the adoption.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 4 times after Herman died banks would find my name in our local phone book and ask me if I was related to Herman. Then they would delicately ask me questions which were leading to questions about heirs. They had just found out Herman had died. I gave them Ronnie’s name and phone number.
      In 1986 my mother in law was dying in North Memorial. I was sitting in a lounge when a man in janitor clothes was staring at me. I did not look much the same but Ronnie was easy to identify. It would have been nice to keep in contact but you know how life is.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. My mom talks about her city cousins coming to visit her on the farm. She was scared of them; she thought they were pretty big shots compared to her country ways.

      Mom’s side was always getting together and she said there was always cousins around. Dad’s side didn’t do that much.
      And now Kelly’s side; they try, but it just doesn’t happen often… and we both miss them.

      I grew up with cousins around. Every Sunday night was over to one’s. I have some nieces and nephews and their spouses that we’re really close with. There are reunions in the summer, more on Mom’s than Dad’s… And one side seems more blue collar than the other, and I’ll bet one is more Republican than the other too.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. A patient tested positive this morning in Sandy’s memory unti. They called and told me and said they are asking everyone to stay away. They suggested I get test. My daughter arranged for me to pick one up at Walgreens a mile from my home. I was busy trying to sort out the $23,000 bill Mayo sent me. Have not sent it to BC/BS yet. Scary to read. Plus talking to Medica again. They called. I will wait until tomorrow to use one, if then.
    Sent this email Sandy’s best friend, a sharp woman with a masters in social work: “A patient on Sandy’s floor tested positive for COVID. They are asking everyone to stay away.”
    She responded. “Why? What is going on? Can I go in and see her?”
    Is it the will to read or the ability to read that people are giving up?
    We are such a funny people today.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Oh Clyde. I smack my forehead for you. People just don’t read things anymore (sweeping generalization alert!) College kids, administration… it doesn’t matter; read the first sentence and fire back a response. It’s enough to make a person crazy.
      And I’m the first one to admit I don’t pay enough attention to details, but even I could understand what you’re getting at.

      How hard is it for you to resist the snarky response of “Read the email”? Or will you respond politely?

      Mom sits at a table with a very chatty woman who also has some memory issues. But her memory is only a little shifted and you can’t always be sure where she’s at in her world. It’s kinda funny and kinda challenging. Last week she asked if I remembered some winter storms from the 1950’s. Well, I’m not quite that old. The she asked if I remember the storm of 1895. No, I’m not that old! And then we were back to the 1950’s. She talks more than eats so she’s making up for some of the other residents that don’t talk at all.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. That’s an excellent description of someone with early to mid dementia. Time becomes a fluid thing and logic just come into play anymore. It’s interesting and challenging. Mom’s neurologist told me that no matter what she says, don’t argue or correct. Just let it be. It was hard.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. When my aunt was getting into her nineties, we had a conversation once about Queen Elizabeth. Roberta was saying that Elizabeth had been queen for 25 years. I believe she had seen something on TV about the history of the royal family, and got this confused. It was really the first time I had ever known her to lose a grasp on time like that – Roberta was the same age as the queen, and her son was near to Prince Charles in age, so they were contemporaries, and she knew that Elizabeth had inherited the throne at an early age, so I really couldn’t understand why she couldn’t see that the 25 years didn’t make any sense, and made a futile attempt to argue about it.

          An example of the fluidity of time, I guess.

          Liked by 3 people

        1. Tell me about it, Ben. I reflecting on the fact that at least three of the people who performed in that last show are no longer with us. That and two baboons.

          Liked by 4 people

  8. Sometimes I think I have the smallest family in the world. Other times I think maybe that’s a good thing. My dad had one brother and my mom had one sister. My mom’s sister and her husband traveled the world for his career (engineering) and they never had children, so no cousins. My dad and his brother each had three children so there is a grand total of six of us, all on my dad’s side. We weren’t close to our cousins while growing up and we really lost touch after we became adults and began our own lives. We saw each other occasionally, usually only on special occasions (funerals). I didn’t go to my cousin Mark’s wedding and I don’t know his three children. I have met his wonderful wife. Mark is an oncologist at Park Nicollet who treated one of our Baboons, Crystal Bay. She raved about how kind he was to her and I remember her telling a story of him dancing with her when she was cancer-free. His sister Linda was their middle child. She met her love later in life and is now raising a teenage son. Their youngest sister Sarah lives in the Cities and is single and childless, like me.

    I’m delighted to say that some good came of my Mom’s death a year ago. I had a memorial gathering for Mom last summer and invited my three cousins. They all came! I was really overjoyed to see them and told them so. Yes, I do wear my heart on my sleeve. Linda reached out to me a couple months ago and wants to start work on a family history. I’m interested in hearing what she learns. I offered to help. Then on Thanksgiving they got together and took a selfie of the three of them and Linda sent it to me. It made my day!

    I admire families who remain close and have relationships with their cousins and do things together often.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. About Cousin Jack.
    As with many of the “beautiful people”, Jack did pretty well. My last actual contact with him was decades ago. It was a picture of The Clock on a fireplace mantel. Any other information I gleaned was second or third hand. Three marriages. A custom cabinet maker in Elkhart. Sent a kid to Notre Dame.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. On my father’s side, all my cousins were much older than my sister and me. I never kept in touch with any of them. My father’s brother died before I was born, and I never met any of his three kids.

    On my mother’s side, the only cousin I see regularly is my aunt Roberta’s son, Keith. He had a stroke a few years ago, which he barely survived, but he’s doing well now. We get together on holidays.

    Of the other cousins, the sons and daughters of my mother’s brother and sisters, I see a few of the six Twin Cities residents very occasionally.
    The South Dakota and California cousins I haven’t seen in years.

    Never tried looking them up on Facebook. I don’t think any of them have really embraced social media to any great extent.

    Liked by 4 people

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