Saturday, June 10, 2017

In Memory of…A Cuz and an Aunt

Just wanted to take a moment from our travel blog and talk about two people who passed away in just the past few days.  One was a “Cuz”, not a blood cousin, but close family member that we always called him Cousin.  The other was an Aunt, one who has been pictured in the blog before.  Both of these are so recent, there have been no obituaries posted yet…so what I say is just from memory and the heart.

Byron Roberts Graduation PictureByron was of the generation of my oldest brother…both went to the same high school, but Byron was just a little older than Jim.  I’ll try to explain “how” he is somewhat related to us.  His mother, Cora was an orphan at a young age.  My dad’s mother’s step-father (her biologic father died falling off a hay wagon when she was around 12) and mother became the legal guardians of Cora.  Cora was younger than my grandmother, older than he brother.  Seems every time I am told this I quickly forget, so it is good to finally get it in writing.  Needless to say, he was family.  He was church family, he was blood family, he was a “Cuz”.  I just remember Byron as such a nice, friendly guy.  When dad sent out the text, I responded that “I sure liked that guy..”, and moments later my brother Roger said, “…He was a great guy!”.  Yep, that is how we remember him…wouldn’t it be nice if all the people we “remember” were truly likeable, great people?  A few quick memories….  I remember when he helped to take the youth group Christmas Caroling.  We would go from home to home of some of the older people and sing…then gather for Pizza fixed by my Uncle Red (dad’s brother).  We stopped at a stop light and he had us all jump out of the van, go around in a circle, and jump back in.  Why???  Because for young kids in the 50’s and 60’s that was “fun”.  This was long before American Graffiti came out where they did it in the movie (except they also put shaving cream all over the window of a guys car in the movie.)   I remember him taking a small group of us to a couple of Sacramento State football games.  He was a graduate of the college, attending there at the time.  Sac State Byron Robertsdid not have a fabulous team, they did not have any stars…but it was nice just to go to a College Football game.  By that time he was married to Sue, a very sweet, quiet lady.  They had a few children, I did not get to know them although I vaguely remember seeing them a few times…probably a few times at the restaurant since occasionally Uncle Mac (grandma’s brother) brought a group of church people in on Sunday every now and then.)   Well, what does all this have to do with Byron?  It is just to show how he was family…and the family lost another one…a truly good one.  He will be missed.  (Pictures taken from his Facebook page)

Aunt Rosie, daughter Emily and son Chris
Aunt Rosie (Rosemarie) passed away earlier this week…she had lung cancer, and never smoked a single cigarette in her life. She had been fighting it for at least six years, getting special treatments at Stanford University which kept her alive long enough to see grandchildren born to her daughter Emily and her son Chris.  To the left is a picture of Rosie, Emily and Chris taken some years ago.  Rosie was the fourth wife of my Uncle Kenny, who was the seventh of eleven kids while mom was ninth of eleven…so they were close brother and sister (as she was with most all, though some were older and got married and moved away before she got to know them very well.)   Kenny had three children from his first marriage to Mary Lee, these are cousins I grew up with…Pam, Cindy and Bobby, with Cindy being the closest in age to me.  His second wife,  Nancy, died of complications from a hysterectomy…she had several young children that Kenny was going to help raise…but unfortunately, he did not get custody.  They had only been married a little over a year…I cried at her funeral, not for the loss of her, but for how that loss was going to affect that ‘family’.  Aunt Rosie with Grandson LucasKenny’s third marriage was a total yet quick disaster…I never met her nor do I know her name.  Then sometime in the early 1970’s Rosie came into his life…what a blessing that was for all!  By this time I was an older teenager, so getting to know new Aunts was not high on my priority list…especially since I had a job cooking in the restaurant, or going to college, and then 10+ years of managing restaurants.  However, I knew she made my Uncle Kenny very happy, she loved the older kids, and Chris and Emily sure provided her and Kenny many blessings…a second family for Uncle Kenny since the other three Twins Elizebth and Gracewere pretty much grown and gone by the time she married him, except for Bobby who was in high school…but lived with his mother.  Uncle Kenny died in 1999, never got to see Chris or Emily marry or got to see their kids.  Rosie was blessed to have been able to meet her latest Grandson, Lucas (pictured laying on her while she was on hospital bed), just a month before she passed.  Lucas is Chris’s son, while Emily has a set of twin girls, Elizabeth and Grace (pictured celebrating their first birthday just a few months ago), and boy was Rosie ever proud of those little girls.  I will always remember Rosie for her kind, sweet big heart.  Never heard her complain about her suffering, always had a good outlook on life, always thought of others before herself.  I thank God for the happiness she brought my Uncle, and our “family” would not be the same without her…she touched so many people’s hearts.  (Pictures from his Facebook page)

I feel compelled to attend Aunt Rosie's Celebration of Life service, which is two weeks from today.  So we have made another drastic change to our travel schedule.  We will stay in Western Colorado for a few more days, then start heading west to Salt Lake City area to visit with my daughter, then on to Sacramento, arriving early Friday.  We will stay in Sacramento for 2-3 weeks, then take off, probably north along the coast, to get away from the Valley heat...returning in mid to late September.  Our plans will then be back on schedule, we have intended to be in the Sacramento area for late September through Christmas all along.

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