Over the holidays I've watched my two little granddaughters, Ashley Marie and Leah, playing together. They're just two months and two days apart in age.
Their mothers, my daughters Ashley and Jessica, are 15 months apart.
This sister closeness has been a wonderful thing to watch over the years. And for the most part, it was always a good thing (except for Ashley's messiness).
Watching this and knowing that January is here, I've been remembering a cousin of mine. Carol Garner. She was born about 9 days before me. She was the only cousin I had that I actually got to spend some time with and who was closer to my own age. She was the youngest of five children. Other cousins of mine lived further away in Kentucky or Ohio. I didn't get to see them as much to spend time with them.
That's me (left) and Carol...1952
Growing up I fancied myself wanting to be like her. She lived on a farm in south Georgia and everything about her life seemed perfect from my perspective. I know now that the way I saw things was just that way because I was a visitor at their home and some allowances were made because of my visit.
What I remember:
Feeding the calves, pigs, horses, and the turkey
And being chased by that darn turkey!
Riding the tractor (which she got to drive)
Swimming in the little pond
Sleeping out in the bunk house that smelled like oranges 'cause that's where they stored them
Watermelon picnics on the lake at the children's home across the highway
Sunday School at the children's home church and then church services back across the highway at the 'real' church.
Her telling me that she wore Cover Girl makeup because it had her initials on it: CG
The little bridge that went over the road that she called the BeeGeeCeeGee ...oh, goodness. That was in Rome, Georgia on the Berry Campus.
Swinging, swinging, swinging on the huge swingset at the end of the house and singing Sunday School songs.
Writing letters and decorating the envelopes with colored pencil drawings
Carol in 1968 - about a year before her death
Carol would be 59 this year, this month, if she was still with us. She died in 1969 of lupus, just a month after high school graduation. I can remember that day as if it were yesterday. I wasn't home when my folks got the call and they had to hunt me down at my boyfriend's home.
I've often wondered if we would still be close.
She really was a beautiful person. I think of her often.
I hope that Ashley Marie and Leah have a close and fun cousin relationship and that Shelby will be able to be a part of it, even if she is a bit older.