Trying to Explain Double First Cousins…

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Cousni Pn

Written by Darla Lynne Alena

When you’re from Appalachia, there are more than enough “cousin” jokes you’re forced to endure on a near-daily basis once you move away to the big  city; however, this problem is only compounded when you have what is known as a “double first cousin” — or in my case, two double first cousins.

Here’s how my somewhat peculiar family arrangement came to be and why there’s nothing “gross” about it after you take the time to think about it… nothing good ever comes after such a statement as this!

Way back in the 1940s, my father returned home from the sandy beaches of the Pacific Theater only to fall head over heels in love with a girl in a neighboring town.  This young waitress would eventually become my mother and the two of them would go on to enjoy an incredible life together.

In the process of time, my father’s baby brother, Eddy, would begin spending more time around my mother and father and so too did my mother’s sister Susan.  As the story goes, soon Eddy and Susan were taking long walks together and spending less time with their newly married siblings and more time with their sibling’s new in-laws.

With love in the air on a national level, it was no surprise to anyone when Eddy and Susan announced to the family that they would be getting married to each other and soon, children were born in both homes.

My first-cousins and I each share the same grandparents… on both sides!

I quit telling people about this because it always resulted in weird looks and conversations about West Virginia and cousin marrying — which is not even close to what actually happened here.

For years, I remained quiet and almost ashamed of having a double-first-cousin until I realized that it’s far more common than I ever realized.

Now, with far more yesterdays than tomorrows left in my life, I look back with a glimmer of pride in my eye over the fact that God saw fit to give me a cousin I got to play with at both grandparents’ houses!

Like articles like this? Then you would love Appalachian Magazine’s Mountain Voice: 2017: A Collection of Memories, Histories, and Tall Tales of Appalachia!  Click here to check out the book on Amazon!

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