When i was little, it was such a treat when we took (what had seemed like) the Looong trip into Queens to visit my cousin Terri's family.
Terri was born 4 years before me on the very same day. I always felt that gave us a special connection and I Always idolized her! As was very typical in Italian families, My Aunt Marie entertained in the finished basement of their Queens home, Not to Dare rustle the plastic on the 'good' furniture upstairs! The basement had a full kitchen with a dining table equipped for (what had then seemed like).. 52 people. The sauce was always simmering, the love was always brimming, the laughter...bountiful. Terri's dad, My mothers Brother Joe, always made me feel very special, very part of his beautiful family. Not having a dad of my own, I think that is part of the reason, those rare trips to their home always made me feel so warmhearted... yet afterward, so lonely..... longing for all that they shared.
On one of our trips to Uncle Joe's house, Terri asked me if I wanted to go 'UPSTAIRS' to the living room, to hear some records. I remember thinking she may get into trouble to venture to the 'forbidden' part of the house. Even though I was her younger cousin, Terri Never made me feel it was a chore to entertain me. She was always so kind to me, always with that gorgeous big smile! When she played the record 'polka dot bikini', I was sooo excited and thought it the most fun song I had ever heard. I think she must have played that song for me, at least 10 times! ( It was also fun to peak into the actual kitchen, across the way, to see what it looked like!)
As I grew, Terri and I became pen pals. Through her letters to me, I followed her career, her crush on the boy down the street, their dating, their engagement! When I was 16 she asked me to be one of her bridesmaids at their wedding! You can imagine how exciting that was for me!
Through the years my husband and I became close friends with Terri and her husband and even though they moved out of our state a very long time ago and we don't get to see them often... My heart will always hold a very special place for them. For All of them... uncle Joe who passed 5 years ago Aunt Marie , thoughtful and sweet.... and for Terri....for the beautiful memories that stir up.... with a song title or a pot of sundays spaghetti sauce.