Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
It was really special for me to be able to help get my Dad (Bill Keough) and his brother Joe together in St. Charles, Missouri after almost ten years. These guys were from the “Great Generation” – WWII Veterans and just all around great family men and patriots.
What a wonderful and very special visit we had with my Dad’s brother’s family in Missouri. The St. Louis area is crawling with Keough’s. My Uncle Jo and Aunt Belle had eight children and now have over 29 Grandchildren and something like 10 great grand children.
It was so good to listen to my Dad and his brother Joe reminisce about growing up in New York City.
My Uncle told the story about the last time he saw Mimi before she died. She was sitting in her room with rosary beads in one hand a beer in the other. That was so like my Grandmother Mimi. We made it a point to visit my Grandparents grave while we were there.
He also shared stories of growing up on Bleaker Street and then Brooklyn with my Dad and their other brother Bud who is now deceased.
I can only imagine what it must have been like growing up during the depression years. Most people today cannot fathom what that must have been like. My Grandfather who we called Pop was a truck driver and not exactly the most amiable person around. He had a terrible temper and a grumpy disposition. My Grandmother Mimi (Anna) basically put up with the big, brash lug all her married life. I only remember him when he was older and apparently a little more mellowed and personable.
I love the story of when he would get up on the weekends and get dressed up in his white straw hat and white suit looking like a big country gentleman and just stand by the front of his Brooklyn home watching people walk by and after a awhile he’d cross the street and lean next to another stoop before finally heading out to the local corner bar. What a character he must have been and what a difficult childhood my father and his brother’s must have had putting up with his wrath when he came home drunk.
I don’t know why I waited so many years to visit with my cousins. For me it has been 34 years since I last saw them. I rode my motorcycle through St. Charles when I got out of college on my way to California.
We spent Joe’s entire Birthday visiting, telling stories, sharing memories and just getting to know one another again after all these years. I can see so many similarities in our families, personalities and traits.
Happy 89th Birthday Uncle Joe!
I am not going to let too much time go by without making an effort to see my cousins again or get them to North Carolina for a visit. What was really great was seeing my Dad and his brother together laughing and enjoying each others company surrounded by their loving family.
This visit made me realize just how precious family is and how important it is to keep family ties, stay connected and develop real relationships with our family members. It’s been 35 years since I had been to Missouri to see Uncle and his big family. It’s cliche to say how the time has flown by and as I get older it becomes more and more evident to me just how important it is to stay connected and support our extended families.