Afric Dennison Wilson, our great-grandmother who came from Ireland

My cousins and I are now officially the reigning generation.   I can’t quite bring myself to call us the “senior” generation.  We are not that old.  I’m willing to admit that, with most of us being in our fifties, we are grown-ups.  Alas, with the passing last week of Aunt Suzanne, we are now the ones in charge. 

(I must acknowledge that Mom is certainly still alive and kicking and looked really, really cute with her little wheely carry-on bag at the airport which Theresa mercifully bought her as Mom hadn’t flown commercially in twenty-five years and I would have been stuck lugging her carry-on.  And Mom was quite the spiffy traveler, even though she managed to waltz right onto the Southwest plane during the A seating when her boarding pass was B51.  So, even though her mantra since Dad’s passing has been a fist-in-the-air declaration, “I’m the boss now!”–guess who was really in charge.)

Ok, we’ve been in charge of things for quite awhile.  Many of our children are grown, college tuition has bled us financially, and there are a smattering of children-in-law and several great-grandchildren.  But until now, there has always been a layer of Wilson grown-up-ness over us.  It is a little weird and it has happened rather  quickly.  Ria left us in 2008 and a mere three years later, all four Wilson siblings are gone.

Remaining are twenty-one cousins.  Their spouses.  And a bazillion second cousins. 

It is high time for a reunion.

Several cousins met in Mishawaka, Indiana to bid farewell to Suzanne.  Our conversations echoed conversations from other recent funerals: we have to get together.  This conversation added a new twist: we have to get together to recreate the picture.  (And this time Mary Beth can be in it.)

If you are a Wilson cousin, you know right away what the picture is.  It is the photo of all the cousins (minus Mary Beth, who had not yet been born) taken at our grandparents’ house circa 1966.  I don’t recall the event, but we were all dressed up for the photo.  The photo brings back many happy memories together with our grandparents:

  • ice skating on The Pond (where Matt broke his tooth)
  • Noona enticing the Canadian geese to come into the house
  • Beulah fixing meals and dealing with Duffy shenanigans
  • sleepovers with Noona dressing as a ghost to scare the beejeebies out of us
  •  20 0f us eating at the kid table out on the screen porch
  • beach days in Margate

Paul, Patty, Kathy, Tommy, and Dan

As we recalled fun times last weekend, Patty did so with mid-western stoicism. Tommy added a slight Nashville twang to his mid-west accent.  Paul and Dan came in like Abbott and Costello with airline misadventures providing family ammunition for years to come.  Kathy added the waterworks, wishing Denise had been there to outcry her.   Even as we’ve grown up and raised our families, the kids we were are still in there.  What a hoot.

So we did some brainstorming:

  • Paul knows a “good” caterer (him).
  • Kathy knows a venue that is good for large crowds (Maywood).
  • Patty’s son knows how to create a green screen and says he can re-create the background of the original picture (in black and white).

We’ll see what happens as we all pool our creative resources.  Should  be grand.

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