I am at a place in life where the focus is on Cousins..none of us in my family have living parents at this point in time and have begun to lose first Cousins. The memories we share are truly unique. Consider the world as it is today in the 21st century..my generation was blessed to live in such a special and unique time. It was by today's standards such an uncomplicated, simple life. People had time for each other. Children actually had summer vacations even though VACATIONS were not a part of our lives. It wasn't always playtime. Work was almost always a part of our Summers but so was free time, carefree time to roam the fields, woodlands and make up games as we walked the railroad tracks and what a sweet treasured memory I have of sitting on the front porch rail of Jack & Laura Mobley's farmhouse with my slightly younger cousin Eulita-[Laura Eulita Mobley] we called her Leedie- as she and I leisurely awaited the sight and sounds of the train and a chance to wave at the Engineers and workmen as they passed by. I have total recall of climbing fences and gates into fields to get to Pear trees and ambling through the woods discovering things like Wild Violets?
We first cousins spent summers & holidays together if we didn't live in the same community. Many of us went to the same school & church. We shared bedrooms, beds..and quilt pallets on the floor. There was no such thing as a room for each person. If two double beds would fit in a room It had two beds. Then the children, as families showed up for special occasions, would be sleeping 3 or four to a bed depending on the size of the children. If they were little ones there might be one sleeping cross ways at the foot of the bed.
There was always room or a way to make room for the company that would show up. No invitation-truly Old Fashioned Southern Hospitality at it's best.
We could never have imagined that one day not so far in the future we would be scattered all over the Southeast, even the Midwest..and not see each other often for many, many years. Still we have what we shared. It's ours..the past, the family-the reunions, the kick the can games at dusk, building tunnels with square bales of hay in the barn loft...raiding the burlap bag of pecans in aunt Laura's pantry at the end of the dog trot[side porch].
My cousin "Leedie" was so much more privileged than I. I was at times jealous I am sure of things like that wonderful painted Doll House she got for Christmas..I'll bet that beauty cost $5.00, came from Sears I am quite sure and I was so easily impressed..they even had AVON products in their house. I remember some of the containers that came to be "keepers" like the little powder jar I now have on an old vanity in a spare bedroom. I forgot to mention Eulita who was Leedie to most of us as a youngster, had another nickname. Uncle Jack called her "monkey." That's all right. It's a southern thing I suppose? Her next in birth order brother Eugene had several nicknames over the years. His Grandma Kitchens called him "Biddie" then as we grew a little older, I'm not exactly sure when "Biddie" turned into "Bennie". It could have been when we advanced from the local Mershon Elementary School to Patterson on our way to High School. Again at some point it became Gene and I think his contemporaries all know him as Gene. Their next older brother James had the "nickname" of "Baker". I was told that someone [was it again Grandma Kitchens?] tagged him with that saying his feet were as big as a Baker..referring to a particular baking pan. I don't recall the other 3 cousins in that family having a nickname. I never had one and since I never was thrilled with the name Jonell..encouraged people with whom I worked to feel free to call me Jo remembering how I loved the "Aunt Josephine" who became Aunt Jo to all of us.
Icannot write about childhood without recalling special times with cousins and Eulita was a special part of those years. I was able to see her about 4 years ago. Communicating was difficult then but with patience it was possible to connect and for that I am so thankful.