Saturday, December 22, 2012
MY COUSIN "ANNE"
My cousin Anne and I were very close as children. I am the oldest, then Monica, and then Anne.
I remember staying at their home for the weekend and her dad, Uncle Lou would take bread and us to the park. Uncle Lou would break up the bread and give it to us so we could feed it to the ducks.
He was a very good carpenter and made Anne beautiful children's kitchen furniture. I loved it when we would play house together.
Uncle Lou also made me a beautiful children's table with two chairs that lasted me forever, I still had one of the chairs when I married, but now, years later I don't know what happened to it, for all I know it could be up in the attic as a treasure to be found.
Anne was a bridesmaid in my wedding. She looked beautiful and represented the Mianzo side. I was the flower girl in her parents wedding and now years later she was one of my bridesmaids.
As the years past, our parents, uncles and aunts grew old, and in time passed away. When my dad passed away the visits with his family were few and far between. When my mom passed away in 1995 , I was reunited with my Aunt Carm, Uncle Lou and my cousin Anne.
They came everyday to the funeral home, afternoon and evening, and coming down to my mom and brothers house. For not seeing them for years, but coming each day to the funeral made me feel so good and they were so comforting. I felt connected in a way I can't explain.
I started to call my Aunt Carm every week, once a week and in calling her I was able to talk to Ann many times. Uncle Lou, Aunt Carm and Anne would meet us for breakfast, we would visit with them, and one time they came to our house where we took them to Glenn's custard, a very popular place and well known. They loved it and even took a quart home with them. Once we met them at my son, Brian's home in Freedom, and we went to a George Jones concert in Ohio, we all loved country music and had such a good time.
We had a close relationship, and I loved being with Aunt Carm and Anne. Aunt Carm would tell all about my dad growing up, She told me how she wrote to her brothers weekly when they were in the service. We would go through photo albums together, and they would tell me all about different people who were relatives, but I did not retain it.
When Aunt Carm passed away, I was devastated, I felt a keen loss, I still kept in touch with Anne, but not as often as I did with Aunt Carm. It was hard to catch Anne at home, because Anne was a social butterfly. She loved going to see antiques, going out for a good dinner, running estate sales, working at the church baking, or frying fish. She was a hard worker, She was also a popular hair stylist for years downtown.
She loved meeting up with her friends, going to house sales, and just spending time with them, and she was a avid reader when she was home. She had a beautiful singing voice and knew all of the Italian recipe's from our family.
How she found the time to do all this is beyond me, but she did, even with all of her ailments, and she had plenty, she pushed herself to go to work, where she loved her clients and they loved her, she was very popular hair stylist.
She suffered with arthritis's, fibromialga, lupus, and many other painful ailments, but it never kept her down, she just keep moving like the energized bunny. I admired her spirit and her spunk.
I don't know when it started, but I was missing "family", not immediate family, but my cousins. After all, on my dad's side, only cousins were left. How would we ever know each other and keep tradition alive if we didn't see each or keep in touch with each other? I thought I would try to start the 1st Mianzo Cousin reunion. Once I started to plan it. I got really involved and excited. I called my cousin Anne, and Carmie.
They both gave me addresses to get in touch with our other cousins who we really had not seen for quite a while, except that Anne kept in touch with Aunt Marge, and Carm kept in touch with Aunt Gerri and Wayne. Our Uncle Tony's son.
I asked Carmie to help me out and she and her family did. They looked for and rented the grove, Anne sent me information and I sent out the invitations, and got in touch with our cousin Frank from Kentucky, who found our long lost cousin Monica.
Frank found her while working on our family history. He has a lot of information on our family, but Anne is the one who knew everything in her head. Aunt Carm would tell her in some of their talks. She was a walking encyclopedia for the Mianzo history. I am so sorry that I never wrote down all she told me.
Our first reunion was wonderful. It was so great to see everyone, Monica along with her one daughter and family came up from North Carolina, Frank came with his wife and daughter from Kentucky. Aunt Marge was there with her family, Carmie and her family, my brother, all of my family and Anne and Te with her daughter Stephanie. It was a great time. I truly felt the love among us. We were thirsty for family and we were able to quench it at our reunion.
After I did the first reunion with Carm, Anna Marie planned the 2nd and 3rd. Anne did not make it to the 3rd one though. So it has been a little over a year since I saw her last, though I talked to her on the phone many times.
Not to long ago Anne called me one day full of excitement about Stephanie, her neice. Stephanie was getting married, and Anne told me the dates to save. The date for the Bridal Shower and the Wedding.
She was so excited for her and told me she went with them while Stephanie picked out her wedding gown. She wouldn't say what the gown looked like, only that Stephanie looked beautiful.
Anne did not have children, so her sister's Te's children were like her own. There was nothing she would not do for them and she loved them with all her heart.
I was not able to go to the Bridal shower, but heard that Anne had a wonderful time and was so proud of her neice. The last time I talked to Anne, she was getting ready to go shopping with her good friend, Barb to get something else for the shower. She said she hoped I could make it and was looking forward to seeing me.
Less than two weeks later she was in intensive care with a infection she was not able to pull out of. But she was a fighter and fought long and hard.
She is the new star I see in the sky tonight, I will think of her when I hear a country western song, when I look at jewlery( that she loved), when I go to read a new book or when I forget and go to call her and then remember I can't.
My heart goes out to her only sister and her family. My prayers and thoughts are with them.
I feel bad for myself, because I have lost a dear cousin who made me laugh, talked with me for what seemed like hours on the phone, taught me to endure pain, and told me about our family, along with many other things.
I will truly miss her, her smile and her laughter.
Her spirit will be at the wedding she was so looking forward to. But she is free of pain now, reunited with her family in God's heaven.
My cousin Anne (Ann), who loved her family with her whole being.