November 6, 2013 —
In the late 1800s, my great-grandfather and his sister left Ireland and landed in England—he being Thomas Fox and his sister Ann Fox. Soon, Thomas came over to America, and Ann stayed in England. Thomas married and started a family here; he is my grandmother Maryanne’s father. In England, Ann had a daughter Ann, who became good, long-distance friends with my grandmother.
In 1971, after my grandmother passed away, Ann became close with my mother, and in 1974 she came to America to meet my mother and all of her other cousins. Well, Ann and I hit it off, and by the end of the trip, she was Aunt Ann to me. She was in her 70s and I was a teenager, but we just clicked. In 1978, when I graduated from high school, my parents gave me a ticket to England to see Aunt Ann and to meet her family. I fell in love with all of them and have been to England eight times.
Last year, when my mother was dying, my niece Mollie—she’s from the American side of the family—was moving to India, and she asked me to meet her there; I said “no way.” Then she asked me if I would meet her in England, and the answer to that was a big “YES.”
So today I am in Manchester, England in my cousin Win’s study typing my weekly column, with a cup of tea at my side. I have so many cousins and have been out to dinner with a new couple every night. My sister is with me, but my niece never made it because she is home in America with a very bad case of colitis from India. So this column is going to be short and sweet; I have many cousins to see and lots of hugs to give. God bless family. Cheers.