Anyone who reads this blog knows one thing - I'm from New Jersey.
Yes, I lived in Manhattan, where I met H, who was transferred to Chicago in 2008. But, I was born and raised in Jersey.
Still, I always knew I had cousins in Chicago. Not cousins in spirit but actual, blood-related cousins.
How did that happen? Well, here's the story -
My great grandfather came to the U.S. from Italy with his two brothers. They settled in Newark, New Jersey.
Legend has it that, one night, one of his brother's beat someone up. Yup, Real Housewives of New Jersey style. Only worse. Really bad, actually. So bad, in fact, he thought he killed him.
He had to get the hell out of dodge/Newark. He got on a train. He had to go far away. Far, far away back then was ... Chicago.
The other brother went with him but my great grandfather was already married with children and so he stayed in Newark.
Over the years, my grandmother and Aunt Jo Ann kept in touch with "the cousins from Chicago." They wrote letters and visited each other, for weddings and birthday parties and just to visit.
Yesterday, my grandmother's first cousin, always affectionally referred to in our family as "Cousin Ang" (short for Angela, of course), turned 100.
It amazes me.
Anyone who reads this blog knows another thing - I'm a news junkie. I couldn't help but think "Wow, 1913. Cousin Ang has seen a lot of news stories." Here are a top 10.
1/ World War I (she was only 5 when it ended but that's still old enough to observe and ask questions.)
2/ The Great Depression
3/ World War II
4/ Assassination of John F. Kennedy
5/ Moon landing
7/ Challenger Space Shuttle
8/ What's this "web" everyone is talking about?
9/ The Millennium
10/ September 11th
And, in the spirit of Roses, here's to families, near and far, always keeping in touch and here's to Cousin Ang for sharing her big day with all of us.