Mom (CB) writes in several postings about the close bonds the kids in her family had with their cousins in Aunt Lil’s family. There are lots of special bonds among the cousins in the next generation, as well. Some existed when we were very young, and others are still strong even now. I’m thinking of Tim Kinsella and Ricky Lochner, The Dans (Kinsella and Maney), Judy Taylor and Beth Kinsella, Kathy Taylor and Steve Hawkes, and lots more.
Many of the bonds came from being close in age. Nancy Taylor, the first of Grandma and Grandpa Taylor’s grandchildren, was the lone granddaughter for many years, followed by nine grandsons. Then, in February 1951, I was born. Kathy Taylor arrived the day after Christmas at the end of that year and Julie Lochner was born a couple months later in February 1952. Lots more granddaughters followed after that and I loved whichever cousins I was with at the moment, but Julie, Kathy and I were especially close.
In fact, we called ourselves The Three Crazy Cousins. When we got together with Dorothy Maffei, born on Christmas the day before Kathy, the Crazy Cousins expanded to Four. I don’t know that we always DID such crazy things. I think the “crazy” really meant we were crazy about each other.
Dress-up was a big part of our repertoire. I remember dressing up in Grandma Taylor’s clothes with Kathy, marching up and down the front walk on W. Main Street in Waterloo pushing a wicker baby buggy with our dolls inside. Kathy and I used to play House in the little cabin Uncle Harold built for his girls and we swung from Tarzan vines over the gully to the side of their property.
Julie and I slept over at each others’ houses a lot. We tried to always be good allies to each other. For example, when we were teenagers and Aunt Esther threatened to cut Julie’s bangs to get them out of her eyes, I was a good cousin and did what Julie and I agreed was a more “reasonable” cut instead. Julie may not yet have forgiven me for not realizing how much her wet hair would shrink when it dried. Aunt Esther, however, was very pleased.
We scratched each other’s backs at night as we were falling asleep, but Julie quickly learned how to get the upper hand (so to speak). She would convince me that I’d gotten my way more often that day, so she should get her back scratched first. Like Charlie Brown and the football, I always fell for it, and she always pretended to be asleep when it was my turn.
When it was time to go home, we’d hide under the covers or in the closet or wherever we thought our mothers might “forget” us for a while longer. It never worked, despite all our tears.
Over the years, the Crazy Cousins have stayed connected. Kathy was one of the first to send me a get-well card when I broke my ankle last summer, and she sent me more encouraging messages throughout the ordeal. Julie came all the way from Colorado to take care of me. I had visited Dorothy just a few months before at her home and kitchen store in the Catskills. We all have very different lives crammed with way too much to do. But I believe I can speak for each of us when I say we’re still crazy about each other.
Picture One: Sue and Julie, Christmas Elves, 2005
Picture Two: Kathy and Sue, Christmas 2003
Picture Three: Dress-Up Beauties: Dorothy Maffei, Mary Lou Taylor, Julie Lochner, Christine Emhof, Kathy Taylor, Sue Kinsella, 1960
Picture Four: Sue, Dorothy Maffei, Julie.2004
Picture Five: Julie’s Wedding Reception: Kathy, Sue, Julie, 1985