My Cousin Sylvia

Major Quake hits Japan followed by a tsunami that hits just north and east of Tokyo.  My brother Ron is at home in Tokyo at the time.  The building shakes for a long time.  Then it shakes again and again.   He’s still shaking but sends me and other family members an email saying that he is OK.  The next day he writes more emails telling us that Tokyo is recovering rapidly.  The next morning my cousin Sylvia calls me asking how Ron is doing.  Sylvia lives in Southern California.  I live in Western Washington.  She wanted to know because Ron is family.

I grew up with some unusual grandparents.  Both were devout Catholics and both were forced to leave Mexico because of political unrest in the early 1920s.  My maternal grandfather was a famous Mexican Muralist who continued as a muralist, portrait artist, and religious painter in California.  My paternal grandfather was a politician and landowner/businessman who put his skills in business to good use in the Los Angeles area.  He had to.  He had 13 children.

Back Row from Left: Adela, Ralph, Frank, Angie. Middle Row: Joe, Lupe, Grandfather, Grandmother, Teresa, Gabriel. Bottom Row: Mike, Katherine, Laura, Rosemary, and Nick.

There’s Dad on the top right.  Only Laura, Rosemary and Nick are still living.  When my grandfather died in 1965 he had 50 grandchildren.  Growing up we became acquainted with all the cousins.  Many still live in the Los Angeles area.  Rosemary moved with her family to Albuquerque, New Mexico so we didn’t see her children too often.  But there are many happy memories to explore.  My cousin Sylvia is Uncle Ralph’s daughter.  So what brought her to call me about my brother Ron?  I don’t believe the answer is easy, but I think it has something to do with the powerful bond that family has on us.  I remember that Sylvia came to visit my mom when she was very ill and near death.  I remember my brothers were all there when both parents were in their last hours.  I remember Joe’s family bringing water to share with the family at my father’s funeral.  I remember playing baseball with Joe’s kids and Rosemary’s kids.  I remember playing chess with Frank’s kids. I remember growing up with Nick’s children.  I suppose it was these occasions and occasions like them where the family bond grew stronger.   I really appreciate the call from Sylvia.  It was a pleasant reminder that I will always have my family.  It’s a good feeling to have.


One thought on “My Cousin Sylvia

  1. Such a reminder of our mortality, and a call to enjoy every day.
    Thanks, Phil, for your reflections on family. I treasure every moment with my daughter and grandsons–and, of course, with my siblings and cousins.

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