My cousin Kenny died last week. He had a heart attack. He was only 56. The story I heard is that he was working in the yard, came in and said he was tired, went to rest on the couch, and died. This story, while shocking, reminds me a lot of the story of how my grandmother died, except that she had an anerurysm, and she wasn’t working in the yard, she was cutting cake.
My memories of Kenny are vague. I remember playing at his house, which was very close to Aunt Carol’s house, I remember sleeping there, it seems to me that I remember celebrating Easter and maybe Christmas there. I definitely know that his house is the only place I ever got to see Captain Kangaroo as a child. I remember STP stickers, Kenny being outside and working on cars.
I also remember a lot of laughter. All my memories of his home are colored in a sunshiny warm yellow glow – although I don’t remember talking much, which is unusual for me. Oh, and they always had Alphabet cereal. I don’t remember the actual name of it.
I am sad that I never even knew Kenny. He was already grown up with kids of his own by the time I knew him, and I never saw him once I became an adult. I would go to the funeral tomorrow, but my husband’s father died yesterday, too, and we have a lot going on down here in the Cities.
My heart goes out to Kenny’s children – all younger than me – and his wife, a woman I never met. I hope that they will cherish their good memories and pull together as a family, just as we are trying to do here.