Monday, March 15, 2010


_________Guess who these guys are.


Paul said...

A cousin is a cousin is a cousin.
My father Phil Swift said this me.

I grew up for a period of time in my life with a group of cousins who one day sort of disappeared. I missed them and had no idea why we no longer spent a long Saturday with them.

As I grew older I began to realize that in part of my father’s family a divorce meant the other half was no longer part of the family. So Uncle Buzz and Uncle Bill’s kids (my cousins) seemed to disappear. I never understood why our attempts to keep in touch with Aunt Betty came with resentments from some of the older Swift siblings. Because to me Aunt Betty was an Aunt and if a cousin is a cousin is a cousin an aunt is an aunt is an aunt. I missed my Aunt Betty. I cannot even remember Uncle Bill’s wife’s first name. I could count on one hand how many times I have seen a cousin from that family in over 30 years. We were more fortunate with Aunt Betty that somehow we reconnected. Part of this is due to my cousins (her kids) they reached out and kept in touch with my mom, who it seems like from some Swifts is no longer pat of the family since my father died……enough of the negative.

Anyway Robbie is my cousin. I guess genetically he may not be as close as I thought but to me he is as much of a cousin to me as a cousin can be.

I am enjoying you web site. You seem like quite a man and one that I am sure Robbie is glad to have met and getting to know.


Paul Swift

Todd said...

Hey, cousin Paul, good to know more of you!

Yes, nothing quite like how disposable families seem to be to some.

I appreciate you dropping by and sharing your thoughts. Let me reflect a little this weekend and chime back in with what you've said. I'm worn out this Fri, eve. from a good but hectic week and I'm very gratified you came along with your thoughts. And I also appreciate the compliment.

And I have a picture of our great grandparents we have in common by the way, which you may or may not already have, with their grown children, who would be our grandmothers, that I'll send you if you send me your email address at

Todd said...

I appreciate what you said about your Cousin Robbie.

Still a cousin.

You can't ditch your relations. You can try to, but they are still there in one form or another. Especially the ones you don't want to be.

And there is an obligation there that I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe it's part obligation and part opportunity, but it is unique, and as such, it is valuable. To those who would see it and use it anyway. It should be treated accordingly as something with great potential.

Let me share this with you.

I have another cousin Barb, with my father's only sibling Bruce, who is adopted.

Bruce was a loving and heavily engaged father. A TV Weather Man in South Bend IN until he retired. He would have now been about 86 years old. He passed on from prostate cancer about 15 years ago.

Barbie, just a terrribly well-adjusted and nice gal, had always wanted to know who her natural parents were. I'm not sure if her actual parents, my uncle and aunt, encouraged or discouraged her curiosity. Although they probably warned her about the possible dissappointment, they knew it had nothing to do with her relationship with them.

So after working her way through a few beauracratic hurdles, for a few years, she found her birth record, or something like that, and in the process, found her mother's name and tracked her down. She met with her mother, as I recall, just long enough to learn that she could not know who her natural father was and that her mother preferred that she simply go away and not come back.

Barbie is o.k. with that. Because her questions were answered. She had questions that she desperately needed to have answered. What the answers were was not as critical as just having them. She found peace in those questions now having been resolved. She established that it was not possible for her to know who her natural father was. And she found out who her natural mother was, and what she was like. It should also be said that she would have been o.k. not knowing any of it. But she wondered, and is gratified to have found out.

(it seems as though this post is too long, so I'll cut it in half and see what happens)

Todd said...


So..., we know that people come in different packages when it comes to knowing how to deal with their offspring!

As it turns out, Robs natural father does not want to meet with him. Knowing myself, ahead of time, that Robs natural father does not want to associate with even his other children, though he does have a begrudging relationship with one of them, whom he puts even his girlfriend ahead of, should I have subjected Rob to the knowledge of who this fellow is that he's been wondering about?

Good question.

That's why I brought Barbie's story into it. It's possible that it was for the better. Given Robbie's strong curiosity, even the average person's strong curiosity, it likely is for the better.

Even if Rob's natural father does not care to know him, Rob now knows of at least two more brothers who do, and we in turn share him with the rest of his larger family.

So what of his natural father; a fellow who is afraid, disinterested, or for some other reason, has a problem now meeting with his own offspring whom he has been aware of from birth on?

If that were a natural thing then the human race would be struggling to survive; yet the opposite is true. It's not natural or healthy.

I am not aware of any common strong natural revulsion towards those who would accept their children; yet, I am aware of a strong predicatable revulsion towards those who would not.

So it does run contrary to the rest of nature that men and women would ignore their birth children; but it fits with nature that some of us would be prone to weakness and lack of ability to assume responsibility for things which we have caused to happen yet cannot handle. We go about lining up excuses -- and even blame -- for our actions, attaching ourselves to just the right excuse. And then hold our hands up over our ears and fight to keep everything else out.

Well this we accept as a few being prone to do. So be it.

I appreciate you bringing out the fact that Robbie's family was irreplacable in your life; and you in theirs; and it is to their credit that they later sought you out, to the benefit of everyone concerned. The men involved -- your uncles -- would probably be gratified as well, and be the first to admit that they acted out of youthful weakness, and convenience; and that their culture left them with little in the way of any help except to offer up a bunch of selfish and lame excuses.

I'm going to guess too, that when, or if, they saw what their progeny was able to do, that is, to repair some valuable broken connections, and regain what they in their own youthful dissappointment and anger and folly were not able to keep from falling apart, and which should not fall apart, but does fall apart, and yet, does not go away, that they would be gratified to see is forgiving. And most of us need a terrible amount of it.

Paul, thanks again for coming by and giving me the opportunity to flesh these things out a little further. Good to see you have an email address as well. I'll connect with you there then.

Thanks, Todd

Anonymous said...

Todd, I am Rob's sister Barbara, I have know for years about your dad & Bette. It broke my heart when we were no longer allowed to visit Big Bend. I am so glad the Rob is able to share & be a part of your life. For years he was always asking me about his father & what I knew. I didn't have proof.I was grateful that my dad excepted Rob as one us. Rob is a great little brother, I love him alot. Barbara

usernametodd said...

I'm glad too Barbara. Who would have thought? I believe your dad did good too considering the circumstance. Rob is an exceptional guy. Especially as a father. Thanks for being such a good sister for him especially now. I hope I can be as good of a brother. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Second cousin,