This past Thursday was the funeral service for one of my favorite first cousins. By father had ten brothers and those brothers had thirty-three (legitimate) children. Four of those children were born in 1941. Me, and my twin cousins Bud (Edward) and Sis (Joan) and Louise. We all graduated high school in 1959 (see graduation photo below)
|From left to right me, Joan (Sis), Louise and Bud - 1959|
Janet told me that Sis's funeral service would be at the James Terry Funeral Home in Downingtown, the same funeral home that I held services for my parents and many of our Tipton relatives over the years. I am very familiar with that funeral home, I have been there in person many times. However, this time I could not be there because of my caregiving responsibilities to Bill. Also, it is a long trip (2 1/2 hours) to Downingtown and at this time of my life, I'm just not that good at long road trips. When we first moved to southern Delaware fourteen years ago, Bill and I often drove "home" to Pennsylvania, sometimes as much as once a month. We haven't been back in several years now.
I felt bad because I did want to go to Sis's funeral service because, even though we had lost personal touch over the years (she lived in Lancaster Pennsylvania) we still maintained the once a year Christmas card tradition.
During my youth growing up (late Forties and early Fifties) my brothers and I were often treated to a "trip to the country" to visit Aunt Mabel and Uncle Ed" and their five kids. Their house didn't have running water or electricity and an outhouse but that didn't matter to us "townie kids". We lived in a second floor cockroach infested apartment in the white trash section of Downingtown (Pop was a hillbilly and we were poor). A trip to the county was indeed a treat for us.
|Can you spot me? I'm the third (tallest) boy from the right. Sis is the blonde pigtailed girl. Date about 1947|
|More Tipton cousins, this time with Uncle Rich and his kids. Again, I'm the tall kid with his arms folded. Date about 1949. Sis is the blonde holding her baby sister Linda.|
|More ragtag Tipton brothers having summertime fun in the country with our Tipton cousins and one of their black little girl neighbors. Date about 1951. Of course I'm the tall skinny kid with my hand on my hip.|
In addition to the fresh air of the country, we LOVED our Aunt Mabel's fried chicken and biscuits. And to think she cooked that chicken and biscuits on a wood burning stove and only had a hand water pump to help clean up afterwards. Best fried chicken I've ever had in my life!
I did so want to go to my cousin Sis's funeral and was so disappointed that I couldn't. On Thursday night I got on my computer and went to the funeral home's website to leave a tribute to my beloved cousin and was very pleasantly surprised to find that they had live streamed her services! Oh my gosh!
I watched the whole service with took forty-four minutes. It was so comforting to see that room where I sat during the services for my Mother and father and other Tipton relatives. In a way watching the lives stream was better than actually being there because I could watch the services and also switch the camera to watch the guests, which I did (video not included in this post). I was able to identify most of the guests. What a wonderful thing to do in this time of COVID and our digital age, to enable family members to attend comforting services without actually having to make the trip.
This video clip I have posted is of Sis's niece Chrissy telling a vignette about her impulsive move to California after she finished college from her home in Pennsylvania. California, the Promised Land. Of course Chrissy almost immediately regretted her decision to move to California, she was immensely homesick. So when she received a letter from her Aunt Sis with Sis's secret fried chicken recipe, she got a little bit of home in California.
That was just like Sis to do something like that. Chrissy describes Sis's personality to a T. Sis was one of those forces of nature. When she entered a room, all heads turned. You knew she was there because he made sure you did. She wasn't perfect, and she did have her "chinks in her armor" (nice way of putting THAT Chrissy), but everyone LOVED Sis. She will be greatly missed.
Thank you Jame Terry Funeral Home for recording Sis's services. So grateful. Now I have closure to that wonderful relationship I had early in my life with one of my very favorite cousins.