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The Cousins - Now and Then

Updated on December 10, 2012

At the recent funeral for my beloved sister, Ruth, there were several heart-warming and long-awaited reunitings, which I'm quite pleased to share with you now!

I'm the last one of her generation living now, with nieces, nephews and great-nieces in attendance at the funeral, children and grandchildren of both Ruth and of my late brother, Harold, and some spouses, one of whom I just met that day. Some of my nieces, I hadn't seen in awhile; one, who is Ruth's lovely youngest granddaughter, Lyric Ruth, I'd never seen, though Ruth had sent me pictures of her. She and her mother were kind enough to offer to pick me up and drive me to the funeral and her other two sisters and their mother brought me back to Dallas afterward.

Some of the cousins actually hadn't gotten together for quite awhile, either, and one was unable to come, because one of her own was graduating. All mine are way off in Indiana and unable to join in. And our eldest sister, Harriet, allong with her whole family perished in a tragic accident in 1953. Nevertheless, it was a most happy reunion, of which I'm sure Ruth herself, as well as our parents and those others of our family no longer living, would be abundantly pleased!

Sometimes one can almost hear joyous music when there is a lovely spiritual connection and reunion happening! That was such a time.

Time flies so quickly. . . .

One's reminded how precious and vital it is to tell those we love that we love them.

There were pictures taken after the formalities, when the cousins, other relatives and friends simply mingled and enjoyed our long-delayed reunion. There were also moments as we Dallasites started home, when we stopped and meandered in an amazing sunflower field!

When I got home, I began to look in my keepsakes for pictures of my neices and nephews when they were younger and the thought came of how fun it would be to compare them!

So the results are here ~ what this hub is all about!

First, there are pictures of Ruth herself on a tribute to her, which you can see on:

Here are her own progeny, their cousins from our brother and their uncle Harold's progeny, and their aunt, (her sister), Nellieanna. The cousins from Indiana (my progeny) were unavailable for this reunion, though they sent their condolences. (Some of them are pictured 'then' in a family picture on Ruth's tribute hub.) Harold's elderly widow, Frances, was present, but was not able to join in the visiting.

Ruth's daughter, Carroll, mother of Ruth's grandchildren

Ruth's son, Roger

Carroll's daughter, Vanessa

Vanessa and Georgia were at a 4th of July celebration at our house in 1986
Vanessa and Georgia were at a 4th of July celebration at our house in 1986

Carroll's daughter, Georgia

Ruth's youngest granddaughter, Lyric Ruth

Our brother Harold's son, Hal, Jr.

Harold's youngest daughter, Harriet Ann

Harold's daughter, Linda - (then)

She didn't get to attend the funeral.  One of her own was graduating. A 'now' picture isn't available.
She didn't get to attend the funeral. One of her own was graduating. A 'now' picture isn't available.

Roger's wife, Cheryl

Hal's wife, Pam (now)

We'd only just met that dayl, so no 'then' picture is available. She was visiting with the guests & I had no chance to get a close-up 'now' picture. I believe she's chatting with Cheryl's folks who came from Missouri for the occasion.
We'd only just met that dayl, so no 'then' picture is available. She was visiting with the guests & I had no chance to get a close-up 'now' picture. I believe she's chatting with Cheryl's folks who came from Missouri for the occasion.

Nellieanna - Now and Then

'Aunt Nell' to the cousins. . .
'Aunt Nell' to the cousins. . .

Here are candid photos, - but as you can see, I was involved in visiting and wasn't really running around taking pictures all that much, so not all that many photos! Someone snapped some with me included. A windy day, so everyone's hair was aloft! I was glad I brought the hat!

In the Pavillion

I came to Blooming Grove, where the funeral and burial were performed, with my niece, Carroll and her youngest, Lyric Ruth. I returned to Dallas with Carroll and her other two daughters, Vanessa and Georgia.

As mentioned, on our return trip, we passed a breathtaking sight: fields of sunflowers for as far as the eye could see! It was latish in the day by then and the blooms were all turned toward the lowering sun. But when we got out and ventured in among them, Georgia turned some around to face the camera with us!

Here are a few of those photos:

Our Sunflower Caper

Aren't they just beautiful?

Unforgettable . . .

My deepest gratitude to my lovely nieces and nephews and their spouses for including me in a most special day to remember. I've no doubt whasoever that our beloved sister, mother and grandmother Ruth is beaming with joy that it was just as it was.

I loved reuniting with them all, especially those I haven't seen for many years. Carroll was my little 'punkin' seed' when she was a little thing and we shared many special moments as she grew up, married and had her beautiful daughters. Getting to know her youngest, Lyric Ruth, for the first time ever truly blew me away. I won't soon forget her graciousness for inviting me to ride to Blooming Grove with her and her mother, nor will I forget her response when I asked her advice about what was customary to wear to funerals, since I'm 'funeral illiterate'. She said that it should be guided by the person whose passing was being honored. She said she'd considered wearing something somber, but knew that her Gram was not a somber person, so she decided to wear a red tie-dyed dress with a little black vest over it! Yet, I felt her personal grief and sense of loss all during the day; she was already missing her beloved Gram.

At the funeral when some of us spoke up front to the other mourners about Ruth, - all of us relating her unique traits and personality, - while others were nodding in agreement and shedding tears, I think perhaps that Lyric shed the most. She was very close to Ruth, who was so pleased that she bore her own name as a middle name.

It was also a special delight to see and to hug Harriet Ann again, who was always dear to me. (She has joined us here on Hubpages, too, by the way, as has Hal!)

Ruth - Then


There are some

Who, passing

Cast longer shadows

Who, having passed,

Leave larger spaces,

Their indelible traces

Upon the lives

They touched.

______© Nellieanna H. Hay


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    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Your charm overshadows it all! Hugs. . .

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Your beauty radiates down through the generations.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      b. Malin - thank you for coming and commenting. Yes, it truly was especially wonderful to visit with the relatives, particularly since we hadn't all seen each other for quite awhile. I agree that Ruth must be smiling down and dancing for joy!

      It's great to be in better contact with all of them now, too, as you can imagine.

      I'm so pleased you enjoyed seeing them all and sharing my memories.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      6 years ago

      To be able to visit once again, with those Relatives that sometimes we only see at Sad Wonderful. Looks like you all shared this Experience at your Sister's Funeral. She must be Smiling Happily from up above. Nellie, you have a Lovely Family...Thanks for sharing these Fond Memories, along with the pictures.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Ah, yes. Will Rogers had some dooseys! Love that one.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 

      6 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      Whoo hoo indeed :)

      Another quote by Will Rogers 'Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment'

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you, Rosemary. However,it was MUCH more than the usual grandparents' spoiling. I won't go into it, but it was bizarre, to say the least. Of course, I diid cope with it as best I could; I wouldn't be here now if I hadn't. But it was the first of a nightmare for most of the 18 year marriage. But here I am, wide awake and thriving! Whoo hoo! It's also given me genuine empathy with others, along with first-hand knowledge that whatever it is, one can survive it triumphantly and full of optimism - the realistic kind.

      Yes, change is the major characteristic of life. It works both directions. If it didn't we'd get stuck in problems with no way out. I read this recently: "The first rule of holes: When you're in one, stop digging!" __Molly Ivins. :-)

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 

      6 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      True each problem creates other problems and it snowballs. But we are women, we are strong and we 'get on' and cope with it the best we can.

      Grandparents have a natural way spoiling grandchildren then handing them back :) Your poor little one with the allergies, of course as the years go by there are more friendly products produced, but back then we although we were 'up and coming' we were still so primitive. I guess in a 100 years time our descendants will laugh and think the same thing of us. Life (or the way we live it) changes so quickly.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Oh, dear, Rosemary your poor husband - and all you had thrust upon you! -That's all so familiar sounding. It's never just the 'problem' which causes the 'PROBLEM' but all its radial effects on other facets of life. My vein problem was actually part of another problem in progress, and then it created further complications in the immediate and future situations, not the least was that I had a 23-month old badly spoiled by my in-laws whom I'd had to carry around while pregnant and a new baby I was nursing, who had a serious allergy we learned was from lanolin, which was in all the baby-care products, of course. The poor little thing was in misery and had to be rubbed with sulfur all over several times a day. But she was so good natured. Then my husband made the decision soon after to get out of the Air Force and return to his stomping grounds, so there were many tangles involved in that. It's all a lot easier looking back on it than it was living it!

      But who would I be, otherwise? It's all part of the stew!

      I love your expression that the good for the family and me which came from and around my sister's death was her last gift to me. YES! And she would have enjoyed thinking of it in that way, too. Lovely!

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 

      6 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      I know how painful your legs must have been after surgery, My ex-husband had his veins stripped in 1978. He was bed ridden for 6 weeks, I had a new born baby and my son had just started school, so I seemed to spend my days with bed bathing, feeding and diapers and school runs as well as holding down 3 daily part time jobs where I could take my baby along to be able to pay the mortgage and bills. Oh boy. But yes his legs are still sensitive too.

      But I like your analogy of the raw nerves being like broken relationships. The longer we leave them broken, the longer they have to fester and the more it judders those raw nerves. Until something happens to draw us together and acts as a soothing balm to help heal. I am pleased that the reunion has acted as a laser treatment for you and your family.

      Although it is very sad and painful to lose your sister something good came from it too, her last gift to you.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Nellieanna 4 minutes ago from TEXAS Hub Author

      Rosemary, dear perceptive friend - thank you. Yes, the reweaving in my family feels so good, as it has done in other instances of familial and other distances which have repaired and drawn close again.

      Shattered people connections seem to leave raw nerves, no matter how long it's been. That made me think of another kind of visceral first-hand example. When I was carrying my second child, I developed serious vein problems; - so serious they had to be 'stripped' as soon as I'd delivered my baby. Back then, they didn't have laser surgery for such things. What they did was insert some kind of surgical probe into these veins at the top of my legs, reaching down to my ankles where they grabbed a place inside the veins and pulled them out wrong-side-out like spaghetti, as my husband then described it. It ripped the veins from all the connected nerves, left the ends dangling and ever sensitive. I was 25 then and they're still slightly sensitive at 80. For many years, I couldn't so much as bear for my legs to be touched, as when someone's leg happened to touch mine in bed.

      Severed relationships are somewhat similar in raw sensitivity, aren't they?

      But unlike laser surgery which can't help after the fact, we can choose to heal wounds of relationships when there is mutual willingness to heal them; and we can learn to live with them, if not an option.

      This wonderful reunion experience has been like finding out that laser could still help! :-)

      I couldn't be more thankful!!

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 

      6 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      A beautiful tribute not only to Ruth but to a family, reuniting and weaving those precious broken threads to make it whole again. The joy of meeting Lyric for the first time and seeing those you hadn't seen in a long while would help anesthetize the pain of the moment. I am sure you have many more special memories to create along your journey with your family.

      Take care

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Dear Alan - thank you! Your response truly pleases me. It was such a warm reunion and celebration of our Ruth, it just seemed to unfold into that tapestry to which you compare it! I appreciate that!

    • arb profile image


      6 years ago from oregon

      A worthy addition to your tribute to Ruth. The pictures paint both history and living familyinto a wonderful story. You have managed to skillfully weave your thread into a finished tapestry of love and memory. What a lovely way to record a legacy.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Svetlana, I know it sounds odd, but it actually was a happy funeral. The actual service at her church in Blooming Grove where she'd lived for many years, before being in assisted living, and with her own minister presiding, who knew Ruth well, (and she was a person no one who knew her could know only slightly ) - - was upbeat. Her son, one of her granddaughters and I each had a chance to say something to the audience about our personal memories of her, as did the minister, in addition to his giving the eulogy. She was such a vivid character, there was no shortage of things we recalled! Everyone present was so much in concert with what was being said about Ruth, it was like a tribute in unison. There were smiles, tears and a general feeling that she was among us and could add a few words herself. Though I hadn't seen her very recently, I felt that she should be walking up and joining in the celebration of her life. At my mother's funeral was the only other time I've felt the person as being such an intense presence right there at such a moment, though I've felt others' closeness afterward in the quiet of my own surroundings shared together.

      Blooming Grove, where it was, is an unbelievably small town, a farming community, about 50 or 60 miles south of Dallas, as the crow flies. We'd no sooner left its sparse 'downtown' afterward, than there were sunflower fields stretching out in every direction, growing as crops.

      Dressing up is not a high priority there. Mainly I wanted to honor Ruth with a look that would have pleased her. She would have gotten a kick out of the fact that it's reminiscent of Jean Paul Gaultier's signature look with the sailor influence and navy stripes on white, - although mine came from Sam's, not a couturier house, and at less cost than one of JPG's scarves! She'd have liked that, too! And it's pleasantly cool, though nearly long-sleeved & protective against the Texas bright sun, which I don't tolerate well. But I definitely understand your thought, "What is Nellieanna wearing?" Happily, it was acceptable and I felt good in it. If there was someone who disapproved, I doubt she'd have approved of anything I wore.

      I LOVE your metaphor for it, too! ". . .a sailor on the eternal sea voyage of exploration of life, the universe and everything . . ." Just perfect for how it felt!. Ruth would love that, too! It's definitely about one's feelings for the person being honored. You're exactly right, that she's smiling - and would have probably thought of the maritime connection simultaneously with you!

      I feel so much closer to all my family now. It's a pleasure to share this with you, Svetlana! Thank you!

    • kallini2010 profile image


      6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      What a lovely tribute, Nellieanna, it sounds more like "What a happy funeral!" But you are so peaceful about it - I am glad to see smiling faces on the pictures.

      As I was reading I thought to myself "What is Nellieanna wearing?" I am happy to learn that you were allowed to wear what expressed your state of mind rather than.... and what it reminded me of... you are a sailor on the eternal sea voyage of exploration of life, the universe and everything...

      and it is not what you wear to the funeral, it is what you feel and how you remember the person, isn't it?

      Now, I will never be able to forget that the MARITIME theme is very relevant and appropriate. I am sure Ruth is smiling even though.... Even though I have never met your family, now I feel that I have.

      Once again, condolences on your loss and the best thoughts for you and your family.

      It is precious.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Dear Augustine. I fully empathize with that. I'm pleased if reading about our experience has encouraged you to revisit the memories. Even if they stir some tears, they include tears of the joy that was 'then'.

      You know, as I've been searching for pictures for these two hubs in my MANY file boxes, drawers, and odd corners where they're stashed, I've run into much more than just pictures; and I've stopped, shed some tears, and once or twice, just had to lay aside something that was either too much to get into right then or too full of nostalgia or pathos. Our eldest sister, Harriet, and her entire family - husband, 3 beautiful little boys, and even their maid, were all instantly killed when their station wagon was hit by a train in 1953. She was only 35 then, so she'd be 94 now and her husband was quite a bit older. But it was especially traumatic for me, because I'd have been with them instead of the maid to help with the boys, had I not defied her and chosen my own path when she had one planned for me, only 6 months earlier. Pictures they'd just had made, the newspapers from all over about the accident - letters - even a whole scrapbook, with much written physical tribute about her life I'd compiled were all in one of those file boxes. I published a preliminary hub about her "Harriet's Odyssey - the Early Years" - with the intention of going on with her life in a sequel, but haven't been up to doing it yet.

      Then in 1990, our brother - who would now be 90 - died in a car accident, - and again- when I wasn't on the best of terms with him.

      Ruth's funeral was, at last - a time when almost all the family were totally reunited and felt nothing but the love. That is why my writing of this and the previous tribute to Ruth have been so refreshing and cleansing, Augustine.

      So I do understand your feelings. You'll find a way to look at the pictures and feel OK about it.

      Hugs, Nellieanna

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Beautiful, simply beautiful...

      I remember attending my grandmothers funeral, and my cousin had given a treasure trove of pictures she had of me and my brothers and sisters when we were little. I took one look, and couldn't bear to look at them again. After reading this hub, I think I can look at them now. Thank you for sharing.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you, Christopher! I believe you're right; there is an unmistakable family resemblance, though Ruth was the very definite brunette in the family, like Mother, and her children followed suit, while the rest of us were fairer - more like Daddy.

      Isn't that a sassy hat though! George used to threaten to send along a bodyguard if I were going to the store wearing it. I really hadn't intended to actually wear it that day, except that I always need a hat in the bright sunlight, it would go in my handbag, and thought it might come in handy. As it turned out, it was so windy, my hair would be standing straight up otherwise. Even so - in the closeup pic of me in it, you can see the wisps of hair floating all around, peeking out from under it! My hair has always had a mnd of its own! I envy those folks whose hair is always perfectly in place! Mine never is! Hairspray just guarantees it will become set in some wispy condition.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      The family resemblance is very obvious in all those lovely photos and you look very cute in that hat Nellieanna. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      DRBJ - haha - yeah! A title beyond contest! :-) We really should form a Matriarch Club, though there probably would be limited membership! haha Thank you so much!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Mhatter - that's so good that you've reflected on your family, too! You should write about them! Thank you so much for coming by and reading!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Jackie Lynnley - how good of you to come visit my hub. I agree, people are interesting! My late husband and I used to 'make up' bios for people in a restaurant where we happened to be. Even more fun is reading the 'real thing!' Actually I have several hubs about members of my family, including the one preceding this one about Ruth. Also one about my dad, who was born in 1890,- - and my eldest sister, Harriet, who was born in 1918- -. There are other accounts of my family on my personal website, under the Section called My Attic. But I intend to write more hubs about them. I have been reading some of my mother's writings. She was both a character and a good story-teller, born in 1892. Now I'm the only of their brood still living. I appreciate your interest. I just checked your hubsite and am eager to read some of your hubs. They sound really interesting! Thank you for coming by!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Dear Linda, thank you! I truly have enjoyed rounding up and assembling the 'now and then' pictures. In fact, the process has led me to looking at so many fascinating family and personal treasures - even some 'tintype' photos! I do think Ruth would enjoy all this. (I just added a couple of things to the hub). :-)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      A lovely family, nellieanna, and now you are the matriarch! Welcome to the club!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      What a remarkable article. thank you. I reflected on my family. i am so proud of my children

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      People think i am crazy because I will read bios of people I don't even know; but people interest me and their lives, too. I would love to hear more of your family, this was just enough to peak my interest.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      Thanks for sharing your family with us Nellieanna. You look beautiful in the pictures. I really liked seeing the now and then shots as it's so special to see. Your beautiful poem was a lovely way to end your tribute to Ruth.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Dear Seeker7 from Scotland! I mention that because of much Scottish heritage in these family connections and beyond! My beloved late husband, George Hay's, heritage was Scottish and my mother's family traced to Barclay clan. I feel sue that my sister Ruth's late husband, Jay Sewell's family had Scottish connections, as well.

      I appreciate your kind approval and compliments. It's a pleasure to welcome you to my hub sharing my family!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Martie- my precious cyber-daughter, yes they can be quite sad, especially the closer to the deceased person one is. I'd always marveled at societies which routinely make a funeral into an occasion for rejoicing - really, even as positive-minded as I am. When I'm sad, I'm S-A-D. This was a real experience for me. For one, Ruth had lived a long and full life, with its full share of ups and downs. Among them were phases of our relationship, I have to confess. But there was never doubt about the love - and the long history of really lovely memories we've shared. It was so wonderful to see that her own family was truly happy to see me there helping to celebrate her LIFE with them and to share in their sense of loss. I suppose one of the reasons for grief when someone passes, along with the loss of the good they represent is our own regret of anything we did or failed to do to make their life less happy, though our pleasure in remembering the things we did or resisted doing that helped make it better. Of course, there is no real value in regret except to remind us to do better with those whom we still have with us. But the pleasant memories can help us to focus more on those for the folks we still have with whom to share them.

      This experience was exceptional in its fostering the best memories and connections we all realize we still have which we can treasure and give loving attention!

      Thanks you, love. And you've reminded me that I should add my own ''Now and Then" pix to the collection. After all, I'm the eldest of these kinfolks sharing direct blood-relationsip with all the younger ones who were present now! It's sort of an honor!

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 

      6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      This was a beautiful hub about a beautiful family. The lovely poem at the end just finishes off everything to perfection. Voted up + awesome!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Christopher - You're delightful. Thank you for the lovely compliments! You have me glowing!

      Would that everyone who comes to life's natural 'nex step' leaves a larger space and lives well touched by their having been here!

      I appreciate you for being my very first visitor here! Peace to you also, my friend!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Funerals are so heart-breaking sad, yet seeing one's living relatives again, kills the pain of departure sufficiently for the time being. Thereafter bonds are renewed and strengthen and we can go on living, knowing we are there for each other and especially during less fortunate times.

      You have a beautiful family, Nellieanna. For me YOU are the most beautiful of them all. You looked stunning and filled with enthusiasm to ride the mad horse called Life until he drops dead in his shoes.

    • Christopher Price profile image

      Christopher Price 

      6 years ago from Vermont, USA

      What a lovely family...and you the fairest flower in the field.

      Your poem is the perfect punctuation and says so well the impressions and influences those we love leave us when they pass.




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