REALLY? Am I now the oldest?

Aug 28, 2023 | 0 comments

Sydney with cousins Wallace and Charles, Ft. Canby, WA, 1939

It came as a bit of a shock to me the other day to realize that I am now the oldest living descendent of the H.A. Espy Family — maybe even of the R.H. Espy Family,  YIKES!  My grandfather, Harry Albert Espy was Robert Hamilton Espy’s second son.  Of all the R.H. children, Harry had the greatest number of children, but not the greatest number of grandchildren or great-grandchildren.

There were nine of us H. A. Espy first cousins. Three were older than I.  They (all men) died at ages younger than I am now and two others — one man, one woman — are also gone.  That leaves only four of us — all women with me the oldest by at least five years.

I don’t think we ever all spent time together.  That’s odd when you come to think of it — especially considering that there were eighteen first cousins in my mother’s generation and, despite the transportation difficulties of 100 years ago, they did have family gatherings right here in Oysterville.  And, fairly frequently, too.

Jefferson Espy, Six Weeks Old, 1953

But in our third (from R.H.) generation, there were other complications.  My mother’s sister Sue, mother of our two oldest boy cousins, died before any of the rest of us were born and her sons, Wallace and Charles, were raised in Minnesota by their father’s people.  As long as my grandparents lived, Wallace and Charles came to Oysterville every summer, and I knew them both throughout their lives.  But we never seemed to have a reunion with all nine of us together.

Then, there were divorces in the second generation, which meant that Willard’s oldest son was raised in Scotland by his mother and step-father,  I never did meet him.  And so it goes.

Joey, Mona, Freddy, Cassy, 1954

It’s scary being the oldest one, now.  I feel some sort of responsibility toward getting the rest of us together, but I don’t think I have “the where-with-all to do all the above things” as my mother would have said.  Not “where-with-all” as in money (though that always factors in!) — but more in stamina and arranging and getting agreement.  Probably a lot like herding cats.

I think I’ll leave the possibilities to the younger ones and rest on those old-age laurels.  “Wouldn’t it be loverly…”

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