6/11/2010

Extended Family Flashback


I was going to do Fridays' Five Favorite today, but then I saw the prompt for Flashback Friday.  This is a continuation from last week, and, well, I'm OCD I hate to leave things half-finished!
This week's Flashback Friday is all about extended family.  Since my parents are from Texas, we didn't have any extended family living near us.  There was no going to Grandma's for Sunday dinner, running around with cousins, etc.  We went down to Tx. every other year, with the other year a group from my mother's side coming up.  You wouldn't believe how I looked forward to those couple of weeks every year!  It got a little sad when my uncle (who headed up the road trip) and cousins got older and couldn't make the trip.  That uncle was my favorite.  He was a priest, and he had such a way with kids.  I absolutely adored him.  When we were in Tx., he would take the older kids on a canoe trip in the Rio Grande.  When they came to Tn., I always wanted to ride with him because he made everything so fun.  He sang; he made us laugh, he could sound just like Tarzan.  When I was very little, I told him that he was big and fat (although I'm sure he wasn't!).  My mom turned to him and asked what I said.  He told her, and she scolded me and told me not to say that again.  Next thing you know, I got him to bend down and told him that I wanted to tell him something.  He fell for it, asked what, and I said "you're big and fat"!  Pretty sure a spanking happened after that!  Even though he passed away in January of 2009, I can still hear him telling me that story.  And, to this day, every time I smell a cigar, I think of him.  He was my mom's big brother; of the siblings, they were the closest in age.

When we went to Tx., we always stayed with my mom's  sister, C.  This woman was a saint.  I loved her with all my heart.  She took Grandma into her house and cared for her when Grandma could no longer live by herself.  (Grandma made her kids promise that they would never put her in a nursing home.)  My grandmother was bedridden for many, many years.  Aunt C. fed her, changed her, and kept her company.  When her son died at the age of 19, my grandma said that it should've been her; she was ready to go.  About 3 years later, my grandma passed away.  Then, if that wasn't enough, a few years later Aunt C.'s husband  was diagnosed with cancer.  She nursed him until his death.  In my eyes, Aunt C. is a saint.

I had to chuckle at the prompt about whether the paternal and maternal sides know each other:  There are a few instances when someone from my mother's side married someone from my father's  side.  In fact, my dad said that it even happened before both sides immigrated to the U.S.!  I think I may have mentioned this before, but the closest would be one of  my mom's 1st cousin marrying one of my dad's sisters.   Family reunions are extremely confusing, believe me!
We didn't see a lot of my dad's side of the family.  We would spend a few days with some of his sisters (his brothers  lived in different states), but it was  pretty low-key, especially compared to my mom's side.  I am getting to know a couple of his sisters through e-mails.  One of his sisters is my godmother, and we share a birthday.  The other sister that I'm in touch with has a daughter that is exactly one year older than I.  Both of them are quite the characters!  I never know what I'm going to get when I open up an e-mail from them!

To participate in either Flashback Friday or Fridays' Fave Five, click on the links and link up!

13 comments:

  1. What wonderful memories! My grandmother lived with us when I was growing up as did my uncle. And initially we had only two bedrooms--don't know how we managed that but we did! I'm always telling stories about one memory or another--I think it's a precious gift to have such good memories!

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  2. We had to move my grandmother down from Ohio when she could no longer take care of herself as well. Eventually (after about five years) we had to go to a nursing home when Grandma care got to be too much for us to handle, she had some medical issue and mobility issues that we could just not physically handle in a home setting. Then she fell and it went down hill from there. Thankfully the nursing home was very close so we could all take turns visiting her and monitoring her care!

    What an example of loving care and sacrifice you have in your Aunt!

    Blessings
    R

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  3. Loved reading about your family!

    I had NO family close by (they were in different countries!), so I never did family reunions or anything. I did travel to Canada and France when I was a teenager. I have a huge family on my mom's side, so the trip was a lot of fun!

    However, I think that it's because of not growing up with family near by that I get very overwhelmed when I get together with larger groups of people (especially the family, as it's grown). Ugh.

    BTW, my sister and I are married to brothers. How's that for confusing? We share the same in-laws! My brother-in-law and I joke that we're in-law's, squared.

    heehee

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  4. Such fun memories! Your post made me think of all the things I didn't put in mine! LOL

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  5. This is a wonderful memory you have of your favorite uncle and of your grandmother. (Thank you too for peeking in on my favorite uncle writing.)

    I enjoyed every word here. Wasn't it something that we tolerated cigar smoke back then? Your mom had eyes in the back of her head and ears on your shoulders or else your fave ratted on you.

    Wasn't it also something that we could canoe the Rio Grande! I know people along there miss it now. When we lived in El Paso the street at the end of our block was a subdivision street which bordered the Rio Grande. I would ride my motorscooter on river side of the grassy area between the street and the river which was no wider than the average golf course fairway.

    Too bad we can't figure out a way to have open borders like Europe has but still able some other way to filter out terrorists and drugs. I liked it the way it used to be. Canoes and fording the Rio Grande.

    Soon we will all be the older generation. I am already (three uncles are my age) and Mrs. Jim has only the wife of an uncle living.
    ..

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  6. I may be a transplant myself, but I gotta say that the sweetest, nicest people come from Texas! sweet post!

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  7. What part of Texas? My grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins lived in Wichita Falls. We visited there yearly. (They only came once to see us. :-( My dad's parents were in New Jersey, and we did the every other year thing with them. I always loved those visits - long car ride and all....

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  8. When I was dipping into genealogy a bit, I found that two sides of my grandmother's family seemed to marry each other a lot. My husband said that explains a lot about my family! LOL I agree that your Aunt C sounds like a saint. There aren't so many people left who would take care of so many like that - she's a treasure!

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  9. I just came over from Crooked Lines. I felt like I was at a mini-family reunion, getting caught up on your family like that. And summer is the perfect time to be thinking family.

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  10. Good grief, who wrote this -you or me?!

    I mean, seriously, this all sounds so familiar. The big fat favorite uncle, who always took us riding (down Thrill Hill - it was like a roller coaster) and walking in the creek ("Y'all watch out for cottonmouths, now!" he'd yell when we were too far away from civilization to retreat.)

    The saint in our family was my grandmother, and yes, she took in her aunt and fed her, bathed her, changed her diapers, EVERYTHING.

    And the kissin' cousins? Oh, yeah, we got em. I once tried to do my husband's family tree - IMPOSSIBLE! I had so many crisscrossed lines, I had to just give up. Among others - my sister in law, who married her first cousin, later kicked him out and moved in with his brother; Hubby's maternal aunt, who married Hubby's paternal uncle, had an affair with his grown son and became pregnant soon afterwards. The paternity was never questioned - just assumed the daughter was the husband's child - but was called into question 16 years later when said daughter married the aforementioned son - who may or may not have been her own father!

    Thanks for the memeories!

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  11. That is a blog post full of memories. :)
    Funny how your families have intertwined in marriage over the years.

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  12. Seven of my nine siblings live nearby, and the extended family lives here, too. I guess I should never take that for granted. Your aunt and uncle...clearly you are richer for having known them :)

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  13. I'm a sentimental girl... Love this. Priceless pictures... Really!!

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