Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Cuzes

I have cousins. I have never written about them. That is because I don't know them. After the manège a trios that was my parents marriage, with my father's brother, I lost touch with my uncle. He married the local school teacher and had three children. His oldest would be twenty years younger than me I suppose. I did take R to visit them once in the eighties. It went ok but there was no contact subsequently. My uncle did come to my father's funeral though. I did try to stalk the cuzes via Facebook once, but there were too many with the same name and I did not know what they looked like.

Then a year or so later, last month actually, I tried my uncle's wife's name in FB. It came straight up. I requested her to add me as a friend, which she accepted and on my page I started posting old photos of the Bolter's, that is my uncle's mother, my grandmother, who ran away to Sydney with one of her youthful music students.

Through the third party, my uncle's wife, I topped up a bit of family history. Several times earlier I had tried to write to my uncle, but it was always left unfinished in my computer folder. Too soppy, too smarmy, too distant, too revealing of what I know, keeping in mind that I don't know what his wife knows. He must be nearly seventy now. I don't know what his health is like.

I had sent about three messages to my uncle's wife and she responded each time, as well as commenting on the old photos. I sent what I think will be a last message, thanking my uncle for being our second dad when I and my ABI brother were young, well up to the age of about twelve for me. My father was mostly serious and very reserved....ha, who does that sound like. My father was very typically an embarrassment to me. My uncle, who was younger was handsome, vain (so my mother reminded me), a snappy dresser and great fun. Dad was slightly remote whereas my uncle entertained us endlessly. By the age of twelve, I also realised he was a very sexy man and had no end of local lasses in pursuit of him. I saw in him what obviously my mother saw in him. In the end, he married the local school teacher who had rich middle class parents and she also taught Tradie Brother and Sister at the local Gippsland primary school.

I don't expect to have proper contact with any of them really. It has been too long.

Post started on 07/09/11


  1. Hello Andrew:
    We would never say never. It is possibly a good thing that some channel of communication has now been opened at least. What the future will bring, who knows, one can be surprised at how things can develop sometimes and often in ways that one least expects. What will be...!!!

  2. Michael8:53 am

    Relatives are like Christmas presents - you might want some of them but not all of them

  3. It's really difficult not being able to have a relationship with certain relatives. I relate to much of what you say here Andrew. It just seems that relatives should care and be there for each other but that is not so with all of my family. You've extended yourself and at least they know where they are and my guess is that as they grow older they will look you up. I hope so. It will be their loss if they don't.

  4. I am estranged from my two cousins, nine and thirteen years younger than myself, through no fault on my part but because of family disturbances involving the generation before mine. I was 'protected' from the details by my parents. It might make a post on my blog one day.

  5. The older we get, the less contact we have - everyone has their own extended families now that are their priority. Whenever we have a family reunion, we vow to start a newsletter to keep in touch, but it doesn't happen.

    I wonder why? Then I realise many people are just not that good at staying in touch - out of sight, out of mind!!

  6. That's a pretty interesting childhood you had, Andrew. I hope you reveal a bit more of it to us - when you want to, of course.

  7. Oy, does a family tree ever get termites and live? Yes!
    It's sometimes awkward but never too late to make contact with people. We change, they change, and with time comes a chance to start again.
    Someone might be waiting for you to start the ball rolling - if contact is what you want. They'll help you fill in the gaps about those who don't want contact.
    [Sorry if this sounds too much like a corny horoscope reading].

  8. JayLa, yes a means of communication has been opened. Who knows indeed.

    Michael, mine aren't to bad. We don't fight at least.

    Mayne the cuzes will Rubye. I am the custodian of their father's side's history.

    But you know the details now Victor?

    Red, we have such busy lives. I don't really have time, well I don't want sacrifice other things, for more family. A reunion is not a bad way to stay vaguely in touch at least.

    Yet Kath, it wasn't a bad childhood. I've certainly written about the Bolter in the past. Even so, no harm in refining what I have written. I writes better now anyways.

    Not corny FruitCake. I find anything to do with family tiring. I don't really want anymore. I would happily meet any of the cuzes on a one to one basis, but they all have partners and some have kids now. Just too hard. I shall remain the enigmatic gay uncle.

  9. Anonymous1:46 am

    One entire side of the family (my mother's) is unknown to me - apparently there are loads of them! I made contact with my grandmother, aunt and a cousin who all live together in NT many years ago. My grandmother and I exchanged letters for a while but they eventually petered out. I also ran into a second cousin who happened to be going out with someone I knew but that didn't go anywhere either. I'd like to know mum's side of the family but they obviously aren't all that interested. I guess you can't force people...V.

  10. Interesting V. Does it boil down to having little in common and no shared history? I think of my siblings, and not one of us is like another and we have little in common apart from being family. We certainly wouldn't be friends, even if we had met through another circumstance.

  11. Anonymous3:22 pm

    I think it has a lot to do with mum being estranged from her entire family; even though my siblings and I weren't involved in whatever it was that happened. I can understand cousins not being all that fussed to seek out family they've never met but I was surprised by my grandmother and aunt. They were happy to meet me when I was in NT but neither of them has tried to maintain contact. In this case, blood isn't thicker than water! V.

  12. Sometimes it is easier to chase the family tree on paper, and to research all the stories in archives, than it is to share dinner with the real, live cousins.

    Our grandparents and great grandparents seemed to have been admirable, brave, hardworking people who put up with pretty grim circumstances. If they were drinkers or womanisers or con artists, we won't know about it. If our live cousins are fall-down drunks, we know all about it :(

  13. V, yes, I can see the issue. The Bolter was estranged from her own family until each of her sons reached 21 and she made contact with them. She didn't ask for forgiveness for leaving them, but clearly she had some guilt. But don't you have people who were friends in the past and for whatever reason, you fell out of touch? You would be very happy to see them, but you can't bring back the past.

    Exactly Hels, and more fun to delve into history via unfiltered facts. Still, you do miss some things. Oh dear about your cousins! I guess the really prominent things are recorded, such as criminal records, but not the minutia.