My dad was the youngest of eight kids; most of his siblings grew up in NJ and stayed in the area but his sister Cass ended up in Chicago with my uncle and cousins. We only saw our Chicago cousins on rare occasions–a family reunion or a stopover in their city coming or going from one AF base to another–so we never knew them very well. In the last few years, we’ve managed to see my cousin Mary and her husband John a couple of times and have enjoyed them a lot so we asked if we could come spend the night with them as we made our way to the East coast. They were nice enough to say yes. 🙂
We had a long day’s drive from Warrensburg to Lake Forest, IL (just outside Chicago) in time for dinner at Mary and John’s. My cousin Cate also came, and one of their nieces, Lisa, whom I’d never met. I thought she was about 25 but she said she’s in her late 40s and I almost fell off my chair. I guess I am getting old when everyone looks so much younger to me (though she really does look young!) It was fun getting to know Lisa a bit and catching up with Mary and Cate. We’ve had great weather all along on this trip and it was no exception last night when we sat out on the patio for dinner, drinks, and conversation.
They’re all big Cubs fans so we watched a ballgame on TV while continuing our conversations. Mary, Cate and Lisa are all pretty liberal like us so we had a good time talking about issues and making a bit of fun of John, the lone conservative in the group. 🙂
Mary and John both had to work this morning so we got up early, too, and headed out for Wheeling, WV. I dearly love spending time with family and getting to know more about them. Because my dad was in the Air Force, we didn’t live near any of our cousins and I always felt I’d missed out on having those close relationships as a kid. We were constantly the “visitors” rather than the cousins the other cousins hung out with. Now that we are older adults, I feel like we are running out of time and there’s so much I don’t know! I have 31 first cousins and I wish I could be more involved in their lives. We did talk about having a big reunion in NJ next summer to celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of Mary and Cate’s mom, my Aunt Cass, and her twin, my Aunt Jane. I hope we can pull it off!