Monday, May 16, 2016

The Lost Cousin Reunion

Back in September 2014, I wrote on this blog about getting in touch after 50 years with my long-lost cousin Tim. (Finding Tim). After corresponding back and forth all this time, we finally arranged for a cousin reunion. Attending would be (cousins in bold):

Tim Crabtree (my mother's youngest brother David's son), his wife Laine and son Jack; all came by air from Minnesota.

Cheryl Blakely (my mother's younger sister Faith's daughter). Arrived on the train from California.

Jean Harris (my sister from down the road here in New Mexico).

And me, Clair Harris Zarges, my husband Bill and son Ben (all living in New Mexico).

Any time people get together after fifty or so years there is that moment of searching each other's eyes, looking for the child we knew so long ago. We all got past that point, and spent our days chatting; picnicking; sharing old photos, papers, and letters; and doing even more eating and drinking together.

Though cousins, we felt like siblings who had long been separated. There were so many years to fill in. There were moments when tears came to our eyes, and moments when a touch on a shoulder or a hug said what words couldn't.

Of course, the time was much too short.

Here are just a few of the photos we shared. They had all been lodged somewhere in our communal memory; we just had to figure out which of us had the photos we remembered from so long ago.

Tim's father, David Jewett Crabtree, Jr. (1928-1974)
Taken in the early 1950s?

Another of Sailor David; if only he had met his grandson, Jack, who looks so much like him!

Tim, Santa, and my little sister, Jean Lee

Ah, the terrible things we made little Timmy do; this was the famous Avon Lady outfit. That's a [now vintage] nylon stocking tied so creatively around his head. Heaven only knows what we had stuffed in the bosom part!

Cheryl, age 2; daughter of 
Faith Crabtree Blakely (1926-2001)

Cheryl, age 17

My mother, Elva Crabtree Harris Rodriguez, (1914-1998). 
This photo was from a document recording her U.S. citizenship in 1954.

My mother and me, looking like we've just learned a rather unsavory secret. 
This photo makes me laugh. 
Probably taken around 1948. 
My dress was red plaid. 
We'd love to know what happened to the green jade brooch my 
mother is wearing. It's another family mystery.

Always a shiny girl, my little sister Jean Lee. 
I believe that was a red taffeta dress.
Photo taken around 1953, I'd guess.

The Harris girls, Jean Lee and Clair Marie (Duffy)
I remember my dress, it was pink and gray. 
This must have been around 1954.
A lot of my busy mother's time went into maintaining those hairdos!

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