Yet Another Old Age Benefit

Nov 30, 2013 | 0 comments

Keith Jones Family

Kuzzin Kris front and center, 1947

My Kuzzin Kris came over last night.  Thankfully, in this case, many of our usual Friday-nighters were busy with the Thanksgiving aftermath, so our numbers were small and we had a good chance to visit.  Not that I’m in anyway denigrating larger groups, but they have a different social ambiance than a gathering of just a few.

I have designated Kris a “Kuzzin” because we aren’t really related, even distantly – not like I’m related to the Cuzzins-with-a-C who are thirds once or twice removed but still show up as ‘blood relations.’  Kris is technically a ‘connection’ rather than a ‘relative.’ Her mom, Ginger, was the sister of Bronk who married my mother’s first cousin, Barbara.  Got that?  Not that it much matters.  What matters is, now that we are in our Golden Years, we are finally getting acquainted.

“You and Kris need to get to know each other,” Ginger often said to me.

“You and Sydney need to get to know each other,” Ginger often said to Kris.

And, finally it is happening.  There are several reasons that the time is now ripe for our friendship to blossom.  One is that we finally live in close enough proximity – Oysterville and Beaverton are just a hop and a skip from each other. But the main reason is that the difference in our ages has evaporated.

Like me, Kris was a ‘summer kid’ in Oysterville.  Also like me, her family moved around when she was growing up so Oysterville was more or less home base.  Her Oysterville centered around the Red House and her first cousins Lex, David, and BeeGee.  My Oysterville, of course, was centered around my grandparents’ place (where I live now) and, although the houses are only a few hundred yards apart, I don’t think my path ever crossed Kris’s.

Sydney Little August 1947

Sydney at Camp Willapa, 1947

Even if we were here during the very same summers, while Kris and her brother and sister were out making sand castles at the beach or playing dress-up with outfits from the costume trunk, I was probably working as a Junior Counselor for Dorothy Elliott at Camp Willapa.  Or maybe I was here with a friend from college before or after our summer jobs in San Francisco.  Kris was one of the little kids at the Red House; I was the much older (and more worldly!) teenager.  Never did the twain meet!

One of the miracles that time brings is the disappearance of those age differences.  I first noticed that happening when I was in my thirties.  People in their forties and fifties seemed to be the same age as I.  But it took a while longer for those in their twenties to ‘catch up.’  And now that I am approaching my eighth decade, everyone from sixty to ninety seems ‘my age.’  We have a lifetime of shared experiences and points of view under our belts and ten or twenty years is but a drop in the bucket.

Who knew?  We all had hints or even warnings about the downside of old age, but I think the best kept secret is the expanding horizons of friendship.  And Kuzzins!  Definitely a perk to be further explored!


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