Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • April-May 2024 • Circulation 5000

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Extended Family Gatherings

Five of the original 12 cousins, with two died previously. In the back are Kim and Spink, Joanne, and Kathy Robbins. Sue Spink

As we get older, our extended families grow ever larger. When I was a child, our parents celebrated the holidays together, at our grandparents’ house. There were 25 of us at two tables for holiday dinners. We cousins all have similar childhood memories of those dinners, and of the electric train that only the men could touch. Now, almost two generations later, we are scattered over several countries and rarely see each other. The holidays – or weddings or funerals – are often a time when extended family reconnect.

Recently, one cousin died and many of us gathered in early November to celebrate his life and grieve his passing. There were hundreds of people at the memorial service. Some, like me, had come thousands of miles to be there. Some of us hardly recognized each other, and it took time to catch up. People came up to me and said, “Are you a cousin? Oh, you’re Joanne! Lovely to see you again.”

We had a cousin’s dinner after the service, and everyone took photos. It was truly wonderful to reconnect with many of these cousins and their progeny, and get a bit caught up with their lives. As I looked at my photos, I was struck by how much we looked similar to each other. Of course, we all had the same grandparents, who had four children. Each of the siblings had three children, who make up the cousin’s group of 12 to which I belong. We grew up in the same major city and shared holidays together, but as we went to college or married, we moved away. I am convinced it is important to keep these family connections for the next generations, and the internet can be a great help. Enjoy the holidays as you gather your extended family together again.

Joanne lives in McCauley.

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