The highlight growing up was always to visit our Aunts, Uncles and cousins. Most of the time we saw them during holidays and the summer; living in Gig Harbor it was always good to visit our cousins in the big city also known as Seattle. Also, we had cousins living in Bellingham, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
In those early days it took much longer get to Bellingham and Vancouver because it was before the interstate. Going to Seattle is about an hour drive from Gig Harbor; however, it was at least twice amount time to get there in those days. Bellingham and Vancouver took almost all day get to either place. If you are not familiar with Bellingham it is north of Seattle, and very near the Canadian border. So whenever we went to Vancouver we went through both Seattle and Bellingham as well.
The real early years I do not remember at all. Those are the years before I started going to school. I was burned just before my fourth birthday on my chest and under my right arm. How I was burned was that I decided to cook eggs on the stove. You see I was allergic to eggs at the time but I loved eating them. Since I was not given eggs to eat I had to take the matter into my own hands which of course was a big mistake. My pajamas caught on fire and my mother ended up smoldering me with a blanket to put the fire out. My sister Barb was in the same room as I so she yelled for my mother to come. If she had not been in the same room it would have been much worse. It is possible I may not have seen another day. I spent six weeks in the hospital before being released. I had more fourth birthday while in the hospital. My aunts, uncles, and cousins all came to visit. As I said I do not remember at all this is what I have been told by my parents. Barb though remembers it as though it was like yesterday. What an experience for a twelve year old girl.
Our cousins always like coming to Gig Harbor as well. We always enjoyed seeing them whether on holiday or summer vacation. My cousin Christy who actually stopped by for a couple hours last Monday always talks about the time she spent the summer with us in Gig Harbor. She and her husband were on the way back from their home in Arizona to their home in British Columbia. They now live east of Vancouver. That summer she was fifteen and I was ten. She spent the summer with us because our mother was taking college classes in Portland, Oregon. Our mother taught high school French and German in Tacoma so she had to go for more accreditation.
All my cousins are older than me except Jennifer who is three weeks younger. My younger brother Jack was the youngest in the clan. I am speaking about my first cousins; we actually had some second cousins that were younger than me.
Everyone loved playing in the yard, going out sailing, and swimming some in the harbor during the summer. The water was very cold in Gig Harbor so I did not swim very long at all. Usually I went in to cool off and that was about it; however, Jack and Cousin Judy loved swimming in the harbor. I guess they would stay in for several minutes. It did not seem like the cold water really effected them, or it was they just had too much fun. Judy I say was about three or four years older than me and Jack was two and half years younger than me. One summer before Judy was going to graduate from high school she spent the summer with us as well. She was not here to take care of us like Christy but to learn math so she could graduate. She had flunked math and need to pass to graduate. My brother Dick was really good at math. I would say not many knew math more than Dick. So he taught Judy math and when she went back to high school she passed with an A. It really showed how good he was at teaching math as well as knowing it.
I have other stories growing up in this crazy family and in Gig Harbor with visits to and from cousins. I will leave them for other times. The only thing I wish was that I could see them more often now. Aunts and Uncles are all gone now. My mother is the only one left of her generation. I miss them along with the good times. Always good to think about it though; there is nothing like family even though there is some faults in us all.