I call them the G's. G for girl, G for grand. G for Gail and Gayle.
Both are six years older than I and bother are middle girls. My cousin Gayle, from my father's side of the family, has an older and younger brother. My cousin Gail, from my mother's side has three older and three younger brothers. Gail also has a younger sister.
Gayle made me pancakes, let me hang out with her when she was getting ready for a date or when she out with her friends. Gayle was one of the first of either family to allow that maybe, being a girl wasn't such a bad thing afterall.
Gail re-instilled fun in my life. When my family had to move in with hers after my parents separated, she took me under her wing. Even more that her sister, who was closer to my age, Gail included and enveloped me. She introduced me to music that was beyond that of Black radio. She listened and talked to me. She took me places. A bond was created during seven months of 1969 that continues to vibrate.
Several years ago I had an opportunity to attend a family reunion hosted by my father's family. Gayle was there with her kids. I hadn't seen her in many years, as she and her family had moved from the area when I was in my teens. It was like time had stood still, except it hadn't. Our kids got to know each other a bit and it was grand. She said how great it was to see me and my kids, I returned the sentiment. Gayle was the one of the few members of my father's family who seemed genuine each time we were together.
Gayle died from complications due to lupus shortly after this reunion. Memories of the moments we shared those few occasions we were together are cached like the most valuable of treasures.
Through her abusive first marriage, child births (& rearing) divorce and her mother's death, my other Gail cousin never failed to offer her support. She was especially present during the most tumultuous years, as she provided a safe haven to which I escaped every chance I got during those later teen years. Gail presents a picture of strength and independence. The spirit of which I draw upon daily.
The G's never met each other. Sad, as I think we all would have been great, great friends.