Thursday, October 25, 2007

Meeting up with the cousins and Luce

I've got a busy week or so ahead of me socially.

Mrs C and I are meeting up with her cousins (and her
brother & sister) plus partners this weekend. This has
been an annual event for the past 10 years or so, after
we all decided that it wasn't much fun just seeing each
other at family funerals and the rare family get-together.

From when I first met Mrs C, I've been impressed how her
dad Ken kept in close touch with his younger brother and
sister and their families (though is was Mrs C's mum,
Jean who was the main organiser and the more sociable of
the two of them -- a kind of social secretary for the family.

My parents on the other hand were less sociable and rarely
had any contact with their family members, preferring the
company of a few literary friends. The only person my dad
went to visit and wrote letters to was his sister, Joan
(who as it turns out was in the same secondary school
class as Jean ... they were never friends, by the way).

My dad had three brothers who he never saw except at his
mum and dad's funerals. His brothers didn't share his
interests in literature or music, so a kind of mutual
loathing of each other developed over the years. They
thought my dad was an intellectual snob, and they were
right. So I never got to know any cousins apart from a
few of Joan's boys, the oldest of whom is Ted.

I've only met one cousin on my mum's side, and that was
within the last year or so. My mum's parents were generally
anti-social and untrusting of other people including family
members, so there are a large number of cousins out there
somewhere, of whom I've no knowledge, whatsoever.

Over the years, I've had a few good friends including one
person Mike, who unfortunately died fairly young of cancer
(at the age of 61). Other friendships have dropped off ...
I've felt disappointed by some not wanting to carry on
seeing me (including a few girlfriends by the way)), but
then I too have ditched some friends, relationships I could
have nurtured more. I realise that to some people I can
come across as patronising, for instance suggesting solutions
to problems they've had (which they haven't wanted ... I
think they just wanted some sympathy/support ... to have been
heard, to have felt some warmth back from me ... perhaps just
a hug, if they've had some bad news, or a few "Oh dears" to
comfort them.

Well they say you get wiser as you get older, so I've changed
my conversational style to some extent. Hopefully I'll be
able to give more TLC than merely suggesting solutions to
people's problems.... undoing years of medical training and
practice ... "OK, Mrs So-And-So, take these pills one three
times a day for the next 3 days, and come back and see me
if you're not feeling any better."

In the middle of next week, I'm off up to Yorshire (together
with one of my sisters) to meet up with a group of cousins
on my dad's side of the family .. an event being organised by Ted,
one of our main family historians. This is the first ever social
event we've had, apart from meeting up at funerals (and seeing
Joan's family once or twice as I was growing up).

And the following weekend, Mrs C and I are driving down to South
Wimbledon in London, to stay a few days with our second daughter
Lucy and her family, which we're really looking forward to.

In the next 10 days or so, I won't be doing any blogging apart
from posting the occasional photo (as I promised you some autumnal
scenes in my last post to you).
Talk to you soon.


Blogger angel said...

sheesh- you have got a lot to do, it sounds like fun too!
my family is very close, cousins and all- we spend a lot of time together!

6:46 PM  
Blogger justin said...

Well, I feel somewhat envious of you, Angel. But I guess you've spent a lot of time nurturing these friendships to maintain the closeness ... time well spent, I think.

11:45 PM  

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