Prove Those Naysayers Wrong!

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I don’t have many cousins, so the ones I have are on cloud nine with the creative attempts I make to ensure that we stay in touch. 

My maternal side of the family has three cousins and we always had a lot of fun together during our winter and summer visits, despite their living on the Canadian border and I in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

One summer, my grandpa had dropped off our cousins at their other grandparents house.   Alas, the end of our visit would inevitably occur.  Grandpa would always take us to Hamburger Hollow on the way back and buy us an ice cream cone.  After one visit, my brother and I were so sad about losing our playmates, that we turned the ice cream down.  Grandpa was dazed. 

I'll Have Some Ice Cream Now, Grandpa!

Another sweet memory was when Steve, the middle cousin, was visiting my grandparents alone.  My brother collected beer cans and my grandpa had a huge collection of full cans in the basement.  In an effort to grow my brother’s collection, Steve graciously offered to “empty” the cans for my brother.  My brother was thrilled. Come to think of it, so was Steve!

Steve joined the Army and I was on a big letter-writing kick back then. I wrote all of my family. I even made my dad write me at summer camp . I took written communication very seriously, even back then.

So I secured Steve’s military address and wrote him a letter.  EVERYONE told me that he wouldn’t write me back. I even wrote that in my letter — “Nobody thinks you will write me back, but I KNOW you will.”   

A couple of weeks passed and in the mail, I saw my future mantra written on the back of the envelope. Steve wrote, “Prove those naysayers wrong!”

Years passed and, sadly, he left the country and we lost touch. Who are we kidding, we lost touch BEFORE he left the country. The art of letter writing was dying and I got distracted with other things.

By the way, my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Mumbrue, used to call me “Harriet The Spy”.  We read the book that year and I totally got into the whole spy thing. In fact, would it be dorky for me to read that book now? I digress.

I have been searching for Steve for years.  His 50th birthday was coming up and I made it my mission to wish him a happy birthday. That is when I really put my “spy skills” to work, much like I do for my various reunions when I need to find people.  This challenge was no different. I had five days to meet my goal. 

Enter Facebook. I knew that being on Facebook was not a Steve kind of thing, so I tapped into the hope that his immediate family would be.  I found his wife on there and squealing with joy wrote her a note.  A couple of days pass and  I don’t hear anything.  Getting antsy with my deadline, I go after his sure-to-be technologically aware daughter.  I send her my email address and implore her to tell her dad that I am looking for him.

On Steve’s birthday, circa 2pm CST, my cell phone’s green light blinked.  Halloo, an email from the daughter!  Would that be my second cousin?  I was jumping up and down like I had won the lottery.  We friended each other and I promptly thanked her and asked her to wish her dad a happy birthday (mission accomplished)!

Later that day, I look at her page and see a baby.  A freshly produced baby, as in 48 hours old! Although Steve’s daughter had just given birth, she had taken the time to write me, which made me even more thrilled.  That day I watched as the family reconnected on Facebook. It was delightful.  It was remarkable.  

But, I was still a bit let down because I hadn’t officially communicated directly with Steve. 

The next day, I bounce out of bed and am greeted with the green light on my phone blinking.  I assume it is my blog mentor’s latest post  that comes to my phone around that time. But it isn’t. 

The subject line read: Hi Cousin Lauren….It’s Steve.

Time and people are constantly taken for granted. At times, it’s beyond frustrating.  However,  this was one of those feel-good moments that I’ll keep with me whenever I need a pick-me-up. 

Posted on January 7, 2012, in Rave and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Great story with a wonderful ending. I was afraid something had happened to him!

  2. That’s beautiful! What a great story! Some of my cousins contacted me recently. I accepted their FB friend requests very excitedly. 1 cousin is doing well and it’s nice to hear about her life occasionally, as she’s not on FB that often. I love the new way we can all communicate! I’m so happy for your experience! Let’s hope you stay connected…

    However, there is the flip side for some of us…sometimes we don’t want to be found or found by particular people.

    Unfortunately, a few other cousins I realized it was a mistake to be FB friends and deleted the connection. Some fond memories from childhood doesn’t necessarily mean as adults we connect. I wanted to keep the memories of them as good kids vs. knowing the lowly paths they had chosen as adults.

    There’s always that balance of the good part vs. the bad part of technology. Now my memories are marred with “that’s too bad how their life turned out” but I don’t want them in my life and I certainly don’t want to introduce them to my husband/kids.

    But mostly HOORAY for technology, as we can reconnect with those we were are quite fond of and reestablish a relationship!


    • Thanks for your spin, Sandi. You are right, I have written more than a post or two about my on and off again love affair with Facebook, texting, etc 😉 I am happy that I can now say that I have ways to reach out to all 7 of my cousins and most of them reach back to me . 🙂

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