Cousins Then and Now

Cousins are those childhood playmates who grow up to be forever friends.

Cousins are a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.

Our picture may fade, but our memories won’t. – Anonymous

                                          COUSINS KID PHOTO - 1                                                                                                            1942

The four of us were childhood pals who lived on Church Street in Lovell, Maine. Our modest small town houses with huge barns were adjacent to one another.  Our fathers were brothers, our mothers were friends, and close neighbors were called aunt and uncle. We were perfectly matched, two sisters and two brothers, stepwise in age. Gus born first, Marlene second, Christine third and Freddy, the youngest, born three days after Christine. In a loving way, we’ll never let him live down being the little one, or the scaredy cat when we ran, giggling, and left him in the woods – but we went back for him. That’s only one of many kidhood stories we laugh about at cousins’ reunion time.

Five years ago we went back home to childhood roots in Lovell and Center Lovell near Kezar Lake, where we learned to swim, aquaplane and grow-up together every summer at our grandmother’s Sunset Inn Resort and Cabins (now part of Quisisanna Resort).  Stories of the beginning ten years together, cousins, close as brothers and sisters could ever be will be included in Happily Ever After, a book in progress. A unique time in history recounted, the downside World War II, food rationing and blackouts, and the upside winter snow fun and blizzards that closed school for weeks at a time.

This recent reunion in July was a glorious three days at Brown’s Wharf Motel & Marina, Boothbay Harbor, Maine. After a day in town, a river boat tour, and a walk in the Botanical Gardens, it was time to catch up with our current lives and tell more kidhood stories in comfort before dinner.  We gathered for drinks and light snacks on patios overlooking the harbor with views of luxurious boats, seagulls and stunning sunsets.

Now that we have all hit and gone beyond the rite of passage age 75, we thought it fitting to take a like picture, lined up as we were back in 1942. This time we were picky about the place, shade to soften the face, and how our clothes looked. In the 1942 picture it looked as if we were lined up in the sunlight, told to look at the camera, don’t squint and smile.  That was it!  The dog in the corner was one of three German Shepherds that were our constant companions and protectors in our freedom to roam and explore the surrounding wild away from our safe and in sight yards.

So, here’s the comparable line up photo taken at the spectacular Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Harbor. We were thankful that the patient and loving photographers, Fred’s wife, Rachel, and Gus’s wife Mantana, under tremendous pressure, much laughter and countless redo shots, got the angle, shade, softened faces and clothes just right!

Our picture too may fade, but our memories won’t.



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About C. E. Robinson

A big turning point in my life was retirement a year ago, a monumental mind change to give up a busy, stimulating professional career as a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and nurse manager. I worked in inpatient and outpatient psychiatry for thirteen of fifty plus years in nursing. The focus from the beginning was anything to do with learning and experiencing more about that profession; graduate degrees and job changes and advancements to match. After all those years it was time to live the fantasy want to, wish I could, write everyday. Now it hits home, I'm at the computer every day with a newly developed WordPress blog site to manage, and three books to write, one mine and two coauthoring. Talk about monumental change, a physical shift to a slow lane in life, but a mind shift to the fast lane. Not sure how it's going to work out over time. There are busy, stimulating, productive writing days, and then days when my brain needs that fearless self-talk to go on with bravery, hope and optimism, like I did with everything else I took on. The first chapters of my Happily Ever After book are written. Maybe, or maybe not, I'm a tad too brave, optimistic or hopeful from the start that a fairy tale life does end with a magical castle, a spectacular sundown, and everyone lives happily ever after.
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