Easy as A, B, C . . . by BB
When I was 8 years old, my family took a trip to the Washington, D.C. area. We were living in Hawaii at the time, but the oldest of my father’s brothers was working in D.C., and living in Virginia. When we got to their house, I was told to go out back where my cousin, Beverly (probably about 11 years old) was playing paper dolls with a couple of friends. I was scared and shy: I didn’t remember her, and didn’t know her friends. I remember walking into the back yard feeling like such an interloper. She immediately greeted me, moved over to give me room to sit by her and gave me a paper doll. I have loved her all my life for that kindness. Of my first cousins, she has always been the one to whom I felt closest.
Her older brother, Robert, the oldest of the dozen of us cousins, was a mischievous boy who became a brilliant, sometimes eccentric, man—a mathematician and scientist who taught for many years at B.Y.U. and also worked for the government and the U.S. Air Force. I had a huge crush on him, and cried like a baby when I went to see him off on his mission at the SLC train station. The crush only intensified when he came home from his mission.
Robert died this week. Among other things, he’d contracted Parkinson’s and had a life which has to have been very difficult for the last few years.
This morning, before preparing to go to the funeral, I’ve been thinking about the dozen of us, from my father’s family of four—three boys, and one girl from whom I got my middle name: Virginia. The dozen cousins have managed to multiply, with a good push from Robert and his wife with their 10 children.
And now the oldest—and probably wisest—of us is gone. Though we’ve all scattered and lived apart, how is there is a hole in my heart today? I barely knew him in our adult years. At the same time, that heart of mine leaps to know I will see my beloved Beverly today. And her brother, Keith, who is about my age. Hopefully some others of our dozen.
And I’m realizing one of us “Dozen Cousins”— “our” generation—will likely be the next to move on.
See you day-after-tomorrow for Wednesday’s WIPs!