I've been scanning and uploading old family photos to Facebook to be shared with the scattered remnants of the Lindholm-Gentleman-Navta clans. There aren't many of us. And we're getting fewer and fewer as the years go by.
That twerpy girl in the middle above is me. I'm about 8 years old there and that was my beloved bike. It was a cream and green, Huffy Convertible 20 incher. Oh, how I loved that bike! It took me to the monkey bars at Dawes school and the Tastee Freeze for hot fudge sundaes. It was freedom on two wheels.
Those two other characters are my cousins. The one sitting on the handle bars, Jack, was a year or so older than I. He passed away at the very young age of 27 - a very sad story I won't go into here. The other character (and, oh, do I mean character!) is my cousin, Bill, who is 3 years my senior.
I look at this picture and realize that Bill is really the only remaining peer of our generation who actually remembers me as this twerpy girlchild. I do have a couple 2nd cousins out there, but we were never as close. Bill and I have shared holidays, graduations, funerals, weddings, births, divorces - it's been a long haul of changes and transitions.
Now we do have a few remaining elders in our family - my Uncle Bud, Bill's father and my godfather, will be 94 this month. He is our precious link to that generation whom we greatly miss.
Perhaps it is because I didn't have siblings that this strikes me as so unique and important. Perhaps it's taken for granted if you have siblings? I don't know. But it is so affirming to have someone who can look at me now - white haired and wrinkled - and see the woman I am and know all I have lived through, but also see that twerpy girlchild.
It's a gift.