Had a fun surprise visit from my cousin Rosemarie and her husband Kermit. It's their first time to Cali, and I haven't seen them since 2001. From left to right, Kermit, Rosemarie, and Me.
I was an "only" growing up, and we always moved around a lot, but I always appreciated having a lot of cousins. They were great substitute siblings for me. Close enough for fun, but without all the "mom, make her STOP looking at me" "MOM, make him/her stop touching me" crap.
Rosemarie was one of my few girl cousins. I have only two girl cousins on my mom's side, (the youngest girl, Katie, being 28 years younger than me!) Rosemarie was only 4 years older than me. Close enough to be a friend when I visited (and we also lived close by when I was 13 too.) We've always been able to easily pick up where we left off. I have 13 male cousins on that side. So it was "us two" against the bulk of them for the longest time!
Below is a picture of most of us "older" cousins on my grandmother's back porch. I was 4 and some, and Rosemarie was about 8. I'm at the far left in my saddle shoes and Rosemarie is right next to me. My youngest uncle, Joe, is the oldest here, holding the hand of Paul, Rosemarie's youngest brother. "The gang" [save my uncle John Shelak's kids, and Rosemarie's brother, Andy] was all there. Once, when I was not much older than I was here, we kids were all playing a game where we'd lay out a "treasure hunt" outside. You'd make a clue which would describe, somewhat cryptically, where the next clue was. And the person who found the last clue got to make up the next trail of clues. I "won" [figuring out the last clue was in a scarecrow) and because I couldn't write yet, Rosemarie helped me with the next set of clues. She was such a good cousin---not like her evil brother, Andy, who showed me how to play "Swab the deck."
(Hey, Rosemarie, you can click this bottom picture for a larger one you can save - I think my mom took this picture.)