Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Cousin(s) (05/22/08)
TITLE: Cousin Janis
By Sherry A. Jackman
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Later, as a young teen I remember attending Janisí baptism and going for a weekend visit, I choked on Bubble Up when her dad told a joke and I tried to laugh and swallow at the same time. It was during that visit when she taught me how to dance the twist. I couldnít get the hang of the actual twisting motion your torso had to make to do this popular dance from the sixties, so Janis patiently stood in front of me and actually twisted my torso to show me how it went. The lessons were effective, as I can still do the twist 47 years later.
One tine when in our early teens, after Aunt Linda had married and left home, Janis and I spent the night with Grandma. My toenails were scratching Janis in the big double bed we had to share, so we got out of bed while I trimmed them. Grandma had made some lemon meringue pie, which we decided to snack on before going to sleep. I have a strong memory of its being very lemony sour and tangy, but canít quite recall if we ate all of what we took.
Janis got married and had kids; I married and moved to Alaska, and we didnít have much contact until in the 1980s, when I moved back to Tacoma, Washington. Since she was living in Poulsbo and had her beauticianís license, she would sometimes come to Tacoma to buy beauty supplies, but somehow never found time to call me or come by. She married her second husband, whom I didnít get very well acquainted with and we were mostly out of touch until in the early 90s when Uncle Jim, her dad, got sick and died. I attended Uncle Jimís funeral and was able to give Janis hugs and other comfort. She knew this comfort was genuine as I had been taken away from home at 15 Ĺ and not returned to my parents until I was 19. It was when I was in foster care my senior year that Janis and I attended the same high school and her mom even sewed me two really nice skirts to wear.
Janisí mom died in the early 80s and our Grandmaís middle daughter who was then widowed, married Uncle Jim and tried to be a step-mom to Janis. Washington is a community property state and since Uncle Jim didnít change his will after marrying his sister-in-law this caused some legal wrangling following his death. He owned several pieces of property besides the house and lot his widow lived in. Since Janis decided she hadnít gotten her fair share of Daddyís property, she sued her aunt/step-mom and maybe thatís why Janis and her second husband moved to Colorado after the legal issues were resolved. Another aunt and I who are both fond of Janis would love to hear from her, but the only comfort we have is that maybe she just needed to get away from all her parentsí relatives and find some peace of mind and happiness by not contacting us.
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