seedcloudsIn the Jurassic Age my cousins and I roamed Fin Family Moominbeach like a bunch of wild orangutans. We had a minimal set of rules. Don’t go swimming without getting an adult to watch you and DON’T THROW SAND! These rules were set by the eight benevolent despots also known as our parents, with our grandparents smiling on the sidelines. An idyllic childhood? Yes. But. Of course not. There was all the usual wrangling that goes with the territory of being siblings and cousins of different ages. I bet there was some tension amongst the benevolent despots too. In-laws adapting to the over-riding family culture that permeated Fin Family Moominbeach. Parenting style differences anyone? There must have been some of that stuff but looking back through my rose-colored glasses, I don’t remember it. I remember that we could *always* get somebody’s mom to watch us swim, no matter how cold and windy it was. We could walk into our cousins’ cabins without knocking and we were taught to call our benevolent despots by their first names. No need to bother with Aunt or Uncle. We respected those folks and they knew it. Who needed titles? Our parents may have been serious about trying to raise good citizens but they also had a heck of a lot of fun along the way.

Our grandparents grew old and frail and died and that was sad but I was young and my own demise seemed like it was about a billion years away. After not too many years, we lost our first uncle. He was far too young and it was pretty disconcerting because he was one of the main rabble-rousing adventurers among the benevolent despots. But still. It was sad but I was at the beginning stages of life, so to speak, meaning that just over a year later, I invented babies by having Lizard Breath. Cousins were also having children then and we didn’t forget about Duke ever but we just kept on going on.

It was many years before we lost another of the benevolent despots. Our aunt Katie and then our uncle Don (her husband) just a few months later. And then, just to keep us on our toes, The Engineer decided to check out way early. Oops, wrong generation. And then, Grandroobly (my dad). Things were kind of quiet for a while there. And then there was Radical Betty, who I think we all thought might live forever. Even in the last summer. Oxygen? Yeah, you might get her hooked up to that tank but you’d have to catch up with her first.

Of course, no one lives forever and Radical Betty didn’t either. When she died, I realized that only three of the Benevolent Despots were left. The Commander, Bubs, and Harry. I pushed that out of my mind until I learned that Cam died early Thanksgiving morning. Cam was not one of our despots but she was Radical Betty’s best friend in life. Well, maybe except for The Commander and a few others but one can have more than one best friend. I know that. Anyway, Cam and Radical Betty met each other when they were three and they were friends forever and, in the last 25-30 years of their lives, they both lived in the vicinity of Fin Family Moominbeach. Cam was de facto social director for 1990-2000s social stuff. Fish at the Cozy Inn? Lunch at Penny’s Kitchen? Who’s coming? I don’t know who will do that now, although I think Fish will live on at least.

I am going to miss Cam. I have no words about all of this though. The Commander was pretty calm about it. Cam has had lots of medical problems for years now. Having seen a few people that I love die and watching what led up to their death, I am not sure that dying is the worst thing. That said, I am not doing it for a while!!!

Disclaimer: This is my view on things. My cousins may or may not have different views. And that’s okay.

6 Responses to “Three”

  1. Jay Says:

    You know, I said the same thing (only differently) just a few hours earlier today. About the extended family just getting along. Then I realized that maybe it wasn’t always so rosy, but I just didn’ notice. Aimee was over and had spoken to Ed (Grinch,Mike) and passed along the news about Cam. Sad in its way, but I heard that Cam was just a bit put off that Betty was on to the next adventure before her.
    By the way, thanks for sharing your daughter with us this weekend. It was great to see her and Zach, and as we were chatting I kept seeing you in her hands and face. Just how they move.

  2. Paulette Says:

    Didn’t it seem that when you had a serendipitous meeting of Radical Betty on the beach, Cam’s name always came up? What were those two up to next?

    I will never forget looking over at Cam and seeing a tear during Betty’s memorial as she held a flower in her hand listening to Aimee playing the mbira, and to friends and family remembering Betty. Or GG giving her a kiss on the cheek, and Cam smiling broadly. Or Mouse doing the Radical Betty “dance” and Cam laughing. Or the ever practical Cam saying that Betty beat her to the finish line. Finish line? Not for all of the Birch Point folks who have gone before… More like a transcendent world of many Birch Points, of all things beautiful and bright, of endless sunrises and sunsets, of hearty laughter, of hope, love, freedom and peace. Rest in Peace, dear Cam. I just hope there are good wild blueberries of sorts in “heaven”. Cam loved them.

  3. Margaret Says:

    My parents good friends are all dead and my mom’s sister is dying of liver cancer. It’s tough and weird because I still see them all as part of our history and my life. Yes, there are worse things than dying.

  4. jane Says:

    I wonder if they all wait for the sun to be over the yardarm before having a drink together?

    I’ll miss you Cam!

  5. Pooh Says:

    CAM + FIN = BFF!

    Your picture was a perfect fit. The end of one season, but the seeds will carry on to the next.

  6. Dogmomster Says:

    … we wanted to take Fran to see Cam while we were up there, aiming for Friday; got the warning from Fran on our way up Wednesday afternoon that Cam wasn’t doing too well… getting the news first thing Thursday morning kind of took the wind out of all our sails, but we also knew that Cam had her family with her, and really, for someone who made the most of her life even during the worst it could dole out, I think Thanksgiving Day was a rather appropriate date. I mean, we were thankful that Cam had been such a good friend to both Betty and Fran; that Cam had been such an integral part of the Beach People Social Scene; and that she was one of “The Girls With Wrinkly Faces” (as Fran so aptly put it one time 😉 ). We had Mike join us for Thanksgiving dinner, and we reminisced about the Ol’ Gals – a lot of good-feeling memories!