When families were closer
O.K. Before you even think it, let me say I realize that all people do not live a fairy tale existence. In fact, in our family I am the one that always has to say, “It’s not Beaver Cleaver, and I don’t wear pearls to cook and wash dishes.” I did read a post by Just Between Cousins, and it made me think about families in general.
The Mr., as you probably know by now, is the youngest of nine children – seven boys and two girls. It had a distinct pattern of two boys, then a girl, two more boys, then another girl, two more boys, then him. He screwed up the pattern. Anyway, on top of that both his parents came from big families, so they knew if some one came to visit, in all likelihood they were cousins.
My mother was in the same situation since her mother was one of eleven children and her father was also one of eleven children. It meant that if family came to visit it probably was a cousin – too many cousins to count. Then a strange thing happened. My mother was an only child and my father had one sister. That meant, for me, I had only one aunt and one uncle make the probability of me having numerous cousins slight. My aunt and uncle tried for several years to have children and adopted their first child when I was fourteen years old. That made it near impossible for me to have that lovely experience of a family full of aunts, uncles, and cousins.
When I was small, I used to try to get other kids to let me borrow their cousins since I didn’t have any of my own. Although I missed out on that family adventure, I was blessed to have three great-grandmothers, one great-grandfather, two grandmothers, and three grandfathers (one step) when I was born.
Just as many people asked if they could have my grandmothers. I would tell them, “NO, GET YOUR OWN GRANDMOTHER.”
As we relived these memories of cousins and no cousins, the conversation drifted to how close people were to their sisters and brothers back then. In talking about the reason for this, we discovered, there was no one else or nothing else but your siblings. No video games or television or movies or ipads or ipods. After school activities were chores and homework and those you did with your siblings. You probably slept in the same room with all or some of them which meant that every day, every hour, they were with you. Even if you really didn’t like them, they were all the kid companionship available. Then, what a treat when the cousins came to stay.
Maybe we should get away from the idea of everyone having their own bedroom and bath. It doesn’t lend itself to learning how to get along.