Saturday, June 27, 2009

Family or Lack Thereof

Just reading Franiam's post on a baby cousin, whether 2nd, 3rd or what she does not know, has me musing on my lack of family.

On my Father's side my Grandfather had a brother and sister.

The brother had children and there was occasional contact when I was young. However the last was a reunion someone arranged in 1997. I was on a trip to the US at the time so did not attend and while I heard about grand plans nothing more has ever eventuated. One of the women exchanged Christmas cards with Mum but both have now died. We have no known addresses.

The sister had two sons, one had no children, the other married my father's only sister narrowing the circle.
They were all very much part of my childhood scene but, of course, have now died. My Aunt (married to her cousin) had one daughter. She married an older man who died leaving her with 3 teenage sons. Shortly after, they went on a holiday to New Zealand and there was an accident killing her and leaving my aunt and uncle with 3 teenage boys to raise while in their 70's.
The boys all married and there was some contact over my grandfather's will which went on forever and they were at the reunion in 1997 but finally contact was reduced to just a Christmas card between the eldest and my mother. We wrote to tell him of our mother's death but received no reply so there has been no contact for 3 years.
Consequently I now have no contact with relatives on my father's side.

On my mother's side, her mother died when Mum was only 7 so any contacts there are lost. My grandfather was born out of wedlock and we are not certain of the relationships there.
They had 3 sons and 2 daughters.
The other daughter never married but was very much a part of my life as a child. A lot older than Mum, she was like a grandmother to me.
One son died as a child, one was killed on the Somme. The other had 6 girls and one son.
Daughter number 1 (now 85) was close to Mum and rang regularly but she now has early dementia and lives in Queensland. I visited her 2 years ago and my sister occasionally rings. She had 2 daughters. The eldest was about my age and had one son, killed a few years ago in a diving accident. She lives in Queensland and I have not seen her since we were teenagers but my sister occasionally contacts regarding the health of her mother.
The other, much younger than me, does live about 100km north of here and occasionally contacts my sister. She has one adopted son whom I met (along with her) at a funeral about 3 years ago. He is Aboriginal and in the army.

Daughter number 2 (now 83) wrote regularly to Mum but also lives in Queensland and there has been no contact except a Christmas card since Mum's death. Her children are about my age but I have had no contact since we were teenagers.

Daughter number 3 (probably 80) lives near me but, let's say, is a little strange and to be avoided if possible. My sister occasionally contacts her by phone. She has one daughter (see below)

Daughters numbers 4,5 & 6 are never heard from. I did meet number 6 for the first time at the funeral mentioned above. It was only a month before my mother's death and I went to represent our side of the family as Mum was very poorly and therefore my sister could not attend. It was about 100km north. No-one knew who I was until I introduced myself after the service. They were asking each other who the strange man was.

Finally the son who, although nearly 20 years younger than his eldest sister, is about my age. I met him several times as a teenager but he moved to the US. He is now divorced and back home, except his children are still in the US with their mother. He has occasionally emailed my sister but I would not know him if I passed him in the street.

So the result of all this boring material is that the only relatives I ever see are my sister and brother-in-law who are childless. The only relative at Mum's funeral was the daughter of Daughter number 3 above who kindly came, although we had never met before or since.


Leonard said... many and yet so few.

My Dad came from England with his ten brothers and sisters...luckily, some of his family members had already immigrated, done well, financed the rest of the crowd (and often provided jobs after they got to the U.S.)...these folks MULTIPLIED like mad and the last organized gathering in Los Angeles filled a Park overlooking the Pacific (I was at College)...such stories, some fascinating, some bleak are part of that side of the family but recently a distant cousin contacted me and I will see her and MANY OTHER relatives I´ve never met in a couple of weeks Stateside. I´m going on a trip to the U.S. soon and ¨Forever Plaid¨ the one night movie event is going to play in major cities...another cousin is a well-known actor who is in that show (David Engel), his sister and our theatre party will go see him that night! The theatre has actually blocked off a seating section for us! Should be fun.

My Mothers family are all Early American background including English decended Virginia Colonists and some well-known noble citizens too...I have copies of last ¨wills and testaments¨ that would give you the creeps however (as they bequeahed human beings) as it does to me...all proper Anglican/Episcopalians though.

Thank God we´re still allowed out.

Doorman-Priest said...

You have a huge cyber family though.

motheramelia said...

DP is right, you do have a large cyber family. I have a lot of brothers and sisters (3 each) and we do stay in contact, mostly through my youngest sister. The annual family gatherings have gone since my aunt, uncle and parents have died. Families don't seem to live in the same neighborhood the way they used to. The next generation is a lot smaller and they don't have the annual gatherings to help them bond.