Little Sis and I have recently reconnected (thru Facebook) with several cousins we haven't seen in years and years! Because the family has spread out all over the country, there has never been an awful lot of closeness among the cousins. Every few years there would be a reunion or a wedding, or funeral where we'd all show up and catch up in that way. Mostly though we got to know each other through our moms and dads and their letters to each other.
There's a pretty wide age spread of our more than 30 first cousins; we now fall somewhere between our early 30's to mid 70s (wow). All the aunts and uncles were so close growing up (as large families often are) and they would collectively, I think, be thrilled to know we're reconnecting those family ties.
My mom and my Aunt Annie were the closest of the sisters. Annie had six kids, the oldest daughter, Sue, is 7 years younger than I....that's a pretty big spread when you're children. My aunt's family still lives in the same area where both my mom and dad had spent part of their growing up years. I was already married and gone when Sue and her brother and/or friend would often come to Chicago on the train to go the Chicago Cubs games. My dad, who liked baseball, and Little Sis would generally go with them. This continued for a few years.
When I got my Christmas greeting from Sue last week, she said how much she missed her mom who died about 20 years ago. She also missed my mom, who was her "favorite" aunt. And then she said something that absolutely knocked me flat!
She said, "....And your dad, what can you say about him! What uncle would come all the way out here to take his niece to homecoming because she couldn't get a date?? He was the best!"
"WHAT? My dad??? Uncle Jim??? Really??? It wasn't one of the other uncles?" I asked. "Nope, it was Uncle Jim!" she replied. "We were playing Grant H.S." Well, that was where my Dad went to high school, so technically he was an alum of the rival. Somehow tho, I never knew he did such a lovely thing for Sue. My dad was a pretty good-looking guy. I'm sure that added to his appeal as a partner!! Besides he could certainly "cut a rug" .... (oh, go look it up if you must!) Nevertheless, she's right, what uncle would do such a great thing??
Because I had not known about this when it happened, I don't know how it came about exactly. Did he offer himself? Did my mom "volunteer" him? Did Sue ask him?? It doesn't really matter, he did it. And Sue, obviously, has never forgotten it! No woman ever would!
Its a strange feeling to learn something I never knew about a man I thought I knew well. A good feeling, but still strange. I guess we never really know anyone as well as we think we do. My dad was quite a guy! I'm proud of him!
p.s. Still, it's ironic, isn't it, that I was never asked to go to a homecoming dance, or a prom, or the like, either, until I met Mikey in college. There was no uncle for me. I had quite a few dance nights sitting at home, telling myself it didn't matter! Of course I survived, but maybe, somewhere, my dad is saving the last dance for me....