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BBHQ Boomer Essays:

Exploring My Roots

Our Boomer-In-Charge at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes about boomer memories and current events... from a boomer’s perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, some-
times a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

A few years ago, however, I received a letter from someone in Corpus Christi, Texas claiming to be my second cousin. Suspicious of a scam, I wrote her back and said that no, there must be some mistake; there is no money in our family; she’s barking up the wrong family tree. So unless she was writing on behalf of Ed McMahon and had a check for my cut of $10 million in hand, we are not related.

But she replied and provided names and details that only a family member would know. And all she wanted to do was learn about “my side” of the family. Well... I was stunned... and flattered... and thrilled... and still a bit suspicious.

My cousin Diann turned out to be nothing short of an angel.... though she had no check for $10 million for me. Cousin Diann clearly comes from a kinder, gentler, attractive side of the family that I had no idea existed. Diann graciously welcomed Princess and me as part of her extended family, and has put up with our idiosyncrasies, including allowing me to post her picture here.


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Family has always been important to me. I was blessed to have been raised in a family very similar to the Andersons on “Father Knows Best.” I figure the family television show of the 50s & 60s merely left out the part where my sister smashed the Monopoly board when she was losing, and ran up the stairs screaming, “It’s not fair; it’s not fair!” My sister was no Elinor Donahue. But my father always knew best!

As an adult, I have adjusted to being part of a small family. Of course, there is my sister and her family in Colorado, where, to this day, board games are forbidden in her house. Here in Tampa, there’s my dog, Princess.

(You can read more about Princess here And yes, I did name her after Elinor Donahue’s character’s nickname.)

But that’s it. Everything was calm; no kids, no kids on the way; no crazy aunts in the closet; no entanglements. I got used to it... except on holidays. Holidays are always... different.

A few years ago, however, I received a letter from someone in Corpus Christi, Texas claiming to be my second cousin. Suspicious of a scam, I wrote her back and said that no, there must be some mistake; there is no money in our family; she’s barking up the wrong family tree. So unless she was writing on behalf of Ed McMahon and had a check for my cut of $10 million in hand, we are not related.

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