Yesterday was my cousin C’s birthday. She and I often had parties together as young children as our birthdays are very close, and we’re born the same year, and we lived in the same city. C was the pretty little blond with the ringlets her mother created with rags - I was the freckle-face with the unruly red-brown curls. As teenagers, C was the tall, slim blond, confident and strong - I was just simply short. I used to admire C and all the worldly knowledge and perceived wisdom she had. Every year I think of her on her special day, and then I’m flooded with childhood memories.
Memories of grandparents – grandpa’s pipe, grandma’s chicken noodle soup and strudel.
Memories of aunts, uncles, and cousins gathered for Sunday dinner, weddings, anniversaries.
Memories of the Calgary Stampede with my aunt and C.
Memories of getting in the car with our parents, and heading out destination unknown, until we turned a certain corner and we knew we were headed for our aunt and uncle’s farm, and a different set of cousins.
Memories of space to run, playing football with the neighborhood, sledding and skating right in our own back yard, learning to ride a bike with my best friend next door, walking to school – droves of us, piano lessons and recitals, dreaming of being a ballerina when a neighbor offered a couple of us some lessons, riding horses at a friend’s ranch.
And then other Memories of the BC families, the long drive almost every year to keep connected with those grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. And eventually moving to BC, after which the drive turned and went the other way.
I’m not sure why it’s C’s birthday that always brings this all back, but I revel in what a wonderful childhood I had, and the family – both immediate and extended – that made it so. I haven’t even seen C since our grandfather passed away some 30 years ago, although I’m regularly in touch with her mother. Our lives have gone completely different directions, and really the only thing we have in common now is our childhood. Maybe someday we can get together and reminisce.
Wishing you all happy memories. Peg