Thought of putting this elsewhere, maybe the family forum but this seemed the best place.
So it is 2014 and the memories of my childhood are very special. I do not wish to romanticize the intimacy of family but there is no doubt in my mind that after the 1950s and because of the Baby Boomers the idea of family before friends, blood before friendship has died. I do not mean this in a silly way of blindly loving your family before your neigbour, but there used to be an idea that you put your family before your friends. Friends are important, but they change. Family, even if there is a feud, does not. They still share the same blood.
After my gradmothers died, both on my mother's and father's side, it seemed we spent less time with family. My parents were children of the 1960s and 1970s, born in the mid to late 1950s. It was an age of rebellion against the old rules and ways. I do not blame my parents or the Baby Boomer adults completely, but I remember my paternal grandmother, when we visited her, made sure my sister and I played with our second cousins, her great grandaughters. There were no kids in the neigbourhood my grandma live in so you could say it was that, but I think it was also her wanting us to play with our kin. My maternal grandmother was born in 1925 and was no conservative or even religious, like hermother was her mother, born about 1904 or so. She did not even go to church, my maternal grandmother, but though born in the Roaring Twenties she still was raised with a sense of the importance of family. I don't think it is that my parents do not care about family but for them their age was a confusing age of rebellion and dying tradition. I think The Wonder Years shows this perfectly as an example in dramatic art. I think it was my grandmothers and the older generation that really kept the family intimate and I think there are various reasons that intimacy became less frequent on both sides of the family. There are reasons for distance on my mother's side that are deep and go back but on my father's side there is less reason. When my maternal grandmother died we moved into her house and strangely enough, though close to his maternal family, we spend less time with the family even though with lived in the same county now within minutes of each other.
Now fifteen years later I hardly know those cousins I played with. The one I had a crush on has grown and is pretty, but her sister is the more beautiful one. But I hardly know them. Over those years we hardly saw each other, though we lived within driving distance. My sister went to school with them but I was always about five to seven years older so I was always in middle or high school when they were still back in the earlier schools. It has nothing to do with my childhood crush of my two younger second cousins. I am not ashamed of it and think it is even normal for a cousin to have romantic affections for another, especially in childhood. The idea of kissing cousins arises from this and it is not just a Kentucky stereotype. It has nothing to do with crushes. It has to do that we played together and are of the same generation. But we hardly know each other. The same with my second cousins on the maternal side. We played together as kids but in the teenage years we did not see each other as much. I was just thinking how unnatural and modern this is. The was no feud or any reason to justify not seeing each other.
I know I've made this personal but finally added these cousins on Facebook and realize how little we know each other. It's like we know we are bonded by blood and seed, but we do not know each other like we should. Maybe it is because I was Mormon and am now Catholic and have this ideal of family being intimate--the Irish or Italian stereotype, or I suppose for you Orthodox the stereotype of Greeks. I've made this personal to make a point. I just think the Baby Boomer generation has led to a certain distancing of familial bonds because the generation had an egalitarian idea, I think of a a human family and peace among all. For them the bonds of family were not sacred like they were in the past. And their children, my generation, often spend more time with their friends than family. We see all the problems this creates.
Anyway, my thoughts. Forgive the length and intimacy. I figured I would say this here because saying it to my family would be imprudent. They would think this was about being in love with my two pretty cousins or something. The is about what is right and wrong, proper and improper for society. It is important I think to understand these things from a cultural standpoint. I do not romanticize the pre-1960s by any means but I would say things really went down for traditional society after World War I. My great gradmother I mentioned, born around 1904, was the last of that generation. She was pious and maternal in the traditional way, a simple and humble church going Baptist. Alas how times have changed. The old south has finally died at the hands of the Yankees.