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[personal profile] particleguy
As [livejournal.com profile] athenais mentioned, a couple of weeks ago we were shocked to hear that my cousin Dan had passed away. He was 55, two years younger than me. I still don't know the exact cause of death, except that he was swimming and apparently had some sort of seizure or heart attack.

Although I had only seen Dan occasionally as an adult, we spent a lot of time together when we were kids. We were relatively close in age and his only sibling was 9 years older than him. So after his brother went off to college in California, I sometimes vacationed with his family when they went to the family's lake cottage in central Wisconsin. Mornings were often spent doing chores around the place (raking leaves, clearing dead wood, etc.) and afternoons we we would usually go swimming. There was also a lot of miniature golf. In the evening we would sometimes play board games. I recall playing "Password" with Dan and his mother. Dan had a penchant for giving clues that were based on brand names (e.g., 'Dial' -- 'deodorant'). Some times the clues were based on brands that were local to Indiana that I had never heard of.

In 1974, after my brother got married in Florida, I accompanied Dan and his father on a road trip up the east coast to Washington, DC, and then back to Wisconsin. Dan kept using some phrase which his father was getting very tired of. I think it was "Kentucky Chucky", a nickname he had for Kentucky Fried Chicken. At one point my uncle promised Dan $20 if he would stop saying the phrase; every time he said it, he lost a dollar. This was tough for Dan, since he tended to use these phrases obsessively -- until he forgot about one and moved on to something else. At some point I got in on the action: occasionally my uncle didn't notice when Dan used the phrase. I cut a deal a deal with one of them, either to keep quiet about it, or to point it out to my uncle to get the dollar myself. I don't actually remember who I made the deal with.

Once I went off to college, I didn't see Dan that often. He got a job in Racine and got married. He also became the primary caretaker of the lake cottage. My brothers in Wisconsin saw him regularly, and we saw him when we visited Wisconsin. He will be missed.

Date: 2013-03-03 02:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] particleguy.livejournal.com
I had nine first cousins (five paternal, four maternal). Six of them are older than me (5-10 years older). My cousin Jim was closest to my age, born less than a year after me. The weird thing is, he also died in a swimming pool, some 30+ years ago, when he was only 24 years old.

Date: 2013-03-03 02:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cakmpls.livejournal.com
I am sorry for your loss.

I feel that one of the great fortunes of my life is my cousins. In first cousins alone, there were 54 of us! Some are gone now; at 65, I am the matriarch on the Kennedy side, but my mother was the youngest of nine, so some of my cousins on that side are, or were, much older than I. But I know a few of my first cousins once removed and second cousins, too. Among this big group are some of my favorite people.

Date: 2013-03-03 06:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bibliofile.livejournal.com
I agree: most of my favorite relations have been cousins, though I haven't as many first cousins as you.

I'm also very fortunate to still have all of the cousins around. My condolences on your loss, J.

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