My family moved to Florida in 1960 when I was five years old from the Buffalo area.  I don’t remember living up north but I have wonderful memories of visits that were made at various times in my life.

My mom came from a very large family and because of that, we have a ton of relatives, most I have never met.  The relatives I have gotten to know over the years are ones that came to Florida for vacations.  My cousin Karen and her family spent several Easter holidays with us and I looked forward to those visits. Karen was my age and we had a lot in common.  We spent a lot of time sun bathing, giggling and talking about boys.  What else do teenage girls do?!  (I am on the left, Karen on the right, the good old skinny days!)

When we were younger, we used to write letters to keep in touch although Karen reminds me that I always answered too fast.  Letter writing was never her strong point which is funny since she writes great letters.  When Karen and Fred married in September of ’76, I could not imagine not being there for their wedding.  It didn’t matter that there was no time for long chats because of the wedding, I was there and it was a beautiful wedding.  Karen and Fred have been married 34 years.  Amazing isn’t it?   

Our paths crossed during the years for visits here and there.  When we get together, we both talk non-stop sharing our lives and catching up.   The Internet has made it much easier to keep up with each other’s lives, especially e-mail and Facebook.  I know when Karen sends me a Heart she is telling me she loves me and vice versa.  She did write a beautiful letter for my birthday this year, it made me cry in a very good way.  I have a binder that I keep letters and cards that are very dear to me, you can be sure this letter will be placed in the book. 

Isn’t it funny how you can know everything about each other and yet know nothing?  I know Karen loves dogs, especially Cocker Spaniels and Boxers. Karen loves to garden and from the pictures I’ve seen she does it well.  Her family is the most important thing to her and it shows.  They are a close knit group.  Karen never forgets my birthday and I never remember hers.  I know it is July 23rd but that is thanks to Facebook. 

It is a shame we didn’t live near each other because I am sure we would have spent a lot of time with each other.  I am blessed to have her in my life, even though we don’t see each other often, I know she is there and I am grateful.  Karen is more than a cousin, she is my friend.  I love you bunches Karen.


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