Mum had one brother, E, who was 13 years older than her. He married young and she married later in life and the result is that Uncle E’s 5 children, our cousins, (including a pair of identical twin boys, who’re now men), are practically a generation older than me and my siblings. Thus it is that G @ 71 – who also married young – has been with his wife for 50 years. I’d not seen G in over a decade (11 years to be exact) and since Uncle E died 10 years ago, and his house was sold, only one of us Brown-Petersides had been back since.
To make up for our lengthy absence and to re-connect with the Irish side of the family, I decided – somewhat last minute – to go to the anniversary event to represent Mum. My brother Ian, now living in London, joined me. So it was that we turned up at the Burrendale Hotel (www.burrendale.com) in Newcastle on Friday night to celebrate with G and his wife D. It was a huge family reunion! Their kids and 8 grandchildren were there; his 4 siblings were there; the 2 spouses came too; her sister and husband was there; at least 5 nieces/nephews were present; as well several very close friends. Though G had insisted it was only going to be a dinner, it turned into a party, as well it should have. There was a fabulous cake – a huge surprise which G and D ceremoniously cut together after giving us all a kiss, golden balloons decorating the tables, a printed menu offering a choice of 6 starters and main courses, a humorous speech by G – where he reminded us of the importance of saying “I’m sorry” in marriages that last, at least one video camera making the rounds, and countless photos taken in all sorts of family combinations.
I was acknowledged for coming to the party from the furthest distance away. My cousin V was the history maker. She produced photos of us when Ian was 4 months old and I was 7 1/2. She also had a photo of when Granny visited us – before Ian was even born. Amazing! Ian got the award for having stayed away the longest. As much traveling as he’s done especially across Asia and the Middle East, he was last in Newcastle – gulp – 30 years ago. All that to say, many of our cousins didn’t even remember him and none of their grandchildren (our 3rd cousins) had ever even met him. But that didn’t matter, by the end of the evening or should I say by the wee hours of the following morning, we’d both been enfolded back into the Irish side of the family once again.
A golden wedding anniversary party to savor and remember!