When I was growing up we had some “town” cousins who spent lots of time on the farm with us. Noreen and Bob would stay overnight a lot and we had so much fun together.
Although we’re now old we still try to get together. Sadly, it’s mostly at funerals that now compel us to renew our cousin relationships.
A few months ago the phone rang and it was a cousin “once removed” whom we hadn’t connected with for several years. Katie from Santa Barbara said she’s on her way to New York but could she stop over in Colorado for two days?
Of course we were thrilled, and we made plans for a big barbecue on the Fourth of July with all the families who could come. Katie was pleased that so many could make it.
We met Katie when she came to Colorado to attend the University of Colorado. Because she was about the same age as our five children, she spent a lot of free time with us.
But eventually she left to go back home. We missed her but as often happens we went on with our lives and the communication lessened. Years went by, except for a few Christmas cards.
We had a lot of catching up to do but it seemed like only yesterday that we were together.
She wanted to know more about her grandfather’s side of the family. Her grandfather was my “Uncle Brose”.
I showed her the autobiography my dad had written and she gleaned a ton of information from it. She had some information already passed down – some was correct, some wasn’t.
Yes, our great grandparents came from Detroit to Minnesota. No, the last baby did not weigh 18 pounds Uncle Brose, the last of 18 children born of the union, did weight 14 pounds at birth and Grandmother Beste died at age 43 after birthing all those children.
Katie spent a lot of time reading about this large Beste clan and wanting to know more.
Of course the couple of days we spent together went by too fast and through tears we said goodbye and she vowed to bring her mother next time. Her mother, Mary, is my first cousin, daughter of Uncle Brose and Auntie Celeste. It was just amazing to learn how alike our families are and how precious cousins are. We will never let so many years slip away between visits again. We’ll keep the cousins in our thoughts prayers and actions as we live out the rest of our days.
Stay well, stay involved and stay tuned.
Vi June is past Democratic state representative for House District 35. She is a former mayor of Westminster and a former newspaper publisher. A Westminster resident for more than four decades, she and her husband, Bob, have five grown children and eight grandchildren.