Those who know me know family is very important to me. My love of genealogy has been a big part of bringing me all the wonderful cousins I have from all around the world. Thanks to Facebook we are able to get to know each other in ways we never would have even just a few short years ago.
I did have 6 first cousins. Four of them stayed in England, so even though in touch, growing up I only spent time with them up until I was 8 or 9. Two moved to the U.S. then, but one was 20 years older than me. I adore her, but she wasn’t really a peer. Which leaves one, “Big Cuz”, and the reason for this post.
My big cousin was still 10 years older than me, but she was the big sister to me. She was the one I could go to for advice, be it hair, make-up (she later worked for Max Factor) or boys.
When I was 7 years old my grandfather died, and we left the U.S. and went back to England to my Nana’s for a year. We were visiting with my cousin at her parents Tea Shop and in the storeroom they had jars of Robertson’s jams with “Golly” on the label. If you collected enough labels you could mail them in and get a free Golly. So we peeled off all the labels to then realize they had expired. I read this article today http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1136016/How-golliwog-went-innocent-childrens-hero-symbol-bitter-controversy.html which made me sad.
Those who know me know I don’t have a racist bone in my body. I have a golliwog and his wife (she looks just like “Aunt Jemima” from the syrup) that my Nana knitted for me. They are stashed away in a box with many other childhood toys. But there is a part of me that keeps them hidden because of this. Yes, it is sad that a simple children’s storybook character can be turned into something awful.
BUT, I can say that the memories I have sitting on the floor of the storeroom with my big cousin, surrounded by those jars & labels, will never be tainted by what others say. Golly has a special place in my memory for me with my first cousin who has known me my whole life.
Happy Birthday Big Cuz!
P.S. Not the greatest, but this picture was taken in about 1973. My Dad was offered the opportunity to be the acting minister at a cabin/camp area in the Redwoods National Park, Calif. Big Cuz came with us and we had some wonderful adventures. Unfortunately back then there weren’t many cameras around, so there are very few pictures of us. In fact, this was the only one I could find of us together.