I wish I had a better picture, or that I could have fixed this one, but it'll have to do. Ketzia, Jared, Jennie, Me, Hannah, Jon.
Most of my growing-up years, three of us lived in my town, and the other three were scattered over the world. But even for those not here, letters and the summer-long furloughs provided opportunities to bond and form special memories.
Ketzia and I used to play train in the backward double seat of our station wagon, using the door latch for petals, and our voices for other necessities. “Whoo! Whoo! Chuga-chuga. Whoo! Whoo!” I’m sure the rest of the car-full was thankful we were in the far back.
Jennie and I loved to have sleepovers, or any day time play date, and would cry bitterly when it came time to go. When we were playing doctor, we used to use my aunt and uncle’s toothbrushes for medicine (run them under the faucet and then suck the water out of the bristles--don’t ask, I have no idea how that started). Of course, that got stopped pretty quickly one day when we couldn’t get the faucet turned on and Jennie decided to use toilet water. (For the record, the only part I had in that idea was tattling, hence the quick stop to the game!)
I remember how inseparable Hannah and I were when she was visiting on furlough. We would get our moms to put our hair in matching ponytails, then spend the day playing puppies. Or we’d throw a sheet over our shoulders and play squirrels (I don’t recall why sheets = squirrels…maybe they were flying squirrels?? Super-Squirrels with a cape??)
I regret that I don’t have more memories of Jon, but I do recall him hollering dramatically as he jumped of the “cliff” in my backyard, his quiet smile, and brilliant blue eyes.
It seems like yesterday that Jared and I went searching for the best patch of blackberries, and indeed, found a tiny patch with particularly succulent berries. They looked different than all the other surrounding berries and we joked, “What if they’re poisonous?” “Oh well, then we’ll just get to go to heaven. Quick, eat more!”
When whole groups of cousins got together, we played a tag-like game, unique to my grandma’s front yard. Two runners would arrange a secret signal (the whispered arranging of this sometimes took longer than the game itself). One runner would stand on the front porch, and the other on a raised planter around a nearby tree. The rest of the group had to stand a certain distance away, waiting them to start running. After much winking and twitching and otherwise false signals, one of the runners would finally give the real signal and they would both race desperately for the other’s post, trying not to get tagged by another cousin on the way.
Next summer I’d like to plan a six-cousin’s retreat. I can’t wait to make more memories!!