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Remembering My First Cousins from the Past and Present

Paul has been exploring his family history since 2017. He has many relatives living in Wisconsin.

Remembering My Cousins from the Past and Present

In back L to R:  mom holding sister Beatrice and Aunt Sissy.  In front L to R:  cousin Carol, aunt Mary, cousin Larry, and author

In back L to R: mom holding sister Beatrice and Aunt Sissy. In front L to R: cousin Carol, aunt Mary, cousin Larry, and author

Having been blessed with seven aunts and four uncles when younger, I still have many first cousins living today. Although I haven't seen most of them since childhood, I remain in contact with a few today.

In this article, I first note the names of all my maternal and paternal aunts and uncles. Next, I list the names of all cousins from aunts and uncles. Following this, I recall those cousins whom I knew and played with when younger. Finally, I describe the relationship that I still have with a few cousins today

Maternal Aunts and Uncles

Back row from left to right:  Jim Asplin, Aunt Sissy, Doddy Schmidt, Uncle Raymie, dad, and Joe Breu.  In front left to right:  Aunt Mary, Aunt Donna, mom.  Taken around 1985

Back row from left to right: Jim Asplin, Aunt Sissy, Doddy Schmidt, Uncle Raymie, dad, and Joe Breu. In front left to right: Aunt Mary, Aunt Donna, mom. Taken around 1985

My mother Dorothy Schmidt Kuehn (1920-2011) had three sisters -- Anna (Sissy) Foss (1924-,) Donna Breu (1937-2015,) and Mary Asplin (1943- .)

Mom also had two brothers -- Raymie (1922-1986) and Leo (1926-1966.)

All of my maternal aunts and one uncle except for Leo had children.

Paternal Aunts and Uncles

From left to right in back:  dad, Aunt Marie, Uncle Augie, Aunt Laura, and Uncle Dick.  Seated are grandma and grandpa Kuehn.  Sitting in front left to right:  Aunt Florence and Aunt Helen.  Taken around 1938.

From left to right in back: dad, Aunt Marie, Uncle Augie, Aunt Laura, and Uncle Dick. Seated are grandma and grandpa Kuehn. Sitting in front left to right: Aunt Florence and Aunt Helen. Taken around 1938.

My father Charles Kuehn (1916-2004) had two brothers -- August (Augie) (1914-1987) and Richard (Dick) (1921-2005.)

Dad also had four sisters -- Marie (1918-2003,) Laura (1923-2011,) Helen (1927-2007,) and Florence (1928-1996.)

Except for Helen and Florence, my other aunts and uncles had children.

Cousins from Maternal Aunts and Uncles

1. Aunt Sissy

Aunt Sissy married Lavern Foss (1924-1976) and they had six children. They include Jerry (1945-,) Carol (1946-,) Darrel (1947-,) Larry (1950-,) Karen Ann (1953-2009,) and Robert (1955- .)

2. Aunt Donna

Aunt Donna married Joe Breu (1932-1999) and in 11 years, they had six boys. They are Joseph (Joey) (1958-,) Steven (Stevie) (1960-,) Daniel (Danny) (1962-,) Richard A. (Ricky) (1963-1989,) David L. (1965-,) and Thomas P. (1967- .)

3. Aunt Mary

Aunt Mary married James (Jim) Asplin (1942- .) They had three children. They include Catherine M. (1965-,) David A. (1966-,) and Brian J. (1968- .)

4. Uncle Raymie

Uncle Raymie married Delores (Doddy) Katherine Weiser (1926-20130 probably in the 1960s. They had two children Pam and Debbie who were from Doddy's previous marriage.


Cousins from Paternal Aunts and Uncles

1. Aunt Marie

Aunt Marie married Charles (Chuck) Hyland (1918-1957.) They had one child, a daughter Susan (Susie) Teschendorf (1951-2015.)

2. Aunt Laura

Aunt Laura married George Bronenkant (1916-2014.) Laura and George had two daughters. They are Barbara Shappert (1948- ) and Bonnie Krochmal (1949- .)

3. Uncle Augie

Uncle Augie married Georgeanna Mason Wilke who had four children -- Aleeze, Jimmy, Arnold, and Roberta -- from her previous marriage. Augie and Georgeanna had two children. They are Gail (1944- ) and Alan (1946- .)

4. Uncle Dick

Uncle Dick married Regina (Reggie) Skibinski (1922-2006.) Dick and Reggie had two boys. They include Richard (Dickie) (1947- ) and Martin (Marty) (1960- .)

Paternal Cousins Whom I Knew When Younger

Most of the cousins whom I remember from the past were playmates when growing up. I knew more paternal cousins because I visited them more often than the maternal cousins who were 200 miles away.

The paternal cousins whom I knew and played with include Gail, Alan, Dickie, Barbara, Bonnie, and Susie. My memories of each are detailed.

I recall playing with Gail and Alan a lot when dad visited Uncle Augie on the east side of Milwaukee every week in the early 1950s. Alan used to play marbles with me on the floor. After we moved to a farm in 1954, Alan would often visit with Augie, He was very daring and hyper as a boy. When we went into the haymow, Alan would stand on a crossbeam and fall backward into a pile of hay.

When Alan went to high school in the early 1960s, he played basketball and was the only white player on the Milwaukee Lincoln team. I saw him when his Lincoln Comets came out to Burlington around Thanksgiving in 1962 to play my old Burlington High team. A few months later, I saw Alan for the last time when we were pallbearers at grandpa Kuehn's funeral in January 1963.

I last saw Gail when Uncle Augie took me to see her before a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game in July 1978. She was married by then to a guy named Burns, had five kids, and was driving a school bus.

I remember seeing Barbara and Bonnie much less than Gail and Alan. When we lived in West Allis in the early 1950s, Laura would often bring Barbara and Bonnie along when visiting. Once, I took a toy gun with a plastic dart and shot it into Bonnie's cheek. She needed a few stitches and mom was very angry with me. After moving to a farm in 1954, Barbara and Bonnie never came along with Aunt Laura when she visited us. I can recall meeting Bonnie in 2002 when she was visiting Aunt Laura. Barbara I haven't seen since the early 1950s.

Dickie, Susie, and Marty are three cousins whom I saw the least. In the late 1950s, I can remember taking Dickie on a nature walk when Uncle Dick and Reggie visited. I last saw Dickie in January 1963 when he served as a pallbearer with Alan and me at grandpa's funeral.

The only memory I have of Susie is when Aunt Marie took her to visit me in Madison in July 1965 when I was attending summer school at the University of Wisconsin. We had a pizza in a dormitory snack bar and Susie went crazy when she heard a song by Tom Jones blaring from a jukebox.

I have no memories of Marty at all.

Maternal Cousins Whom I Knew When Younger

In the early 1950s, I can remember playing with my cousins Jerry, Darrel, Larry, and Carol when mom and dad would visit grandma and grandpa in Marshfield. Aunt Sissy would often come over and we would have a great time playing. On one occasion, Darrel and I were throwing a ball around and I broke a window in the TV room.

After we moved to a farm in 1954, mom and dad had no time to take vacations up to Marshfield until June 1967 a few days before I went into the Navy. How can I forget riding on Darrel's motorcycle at that time!

After I finished basic training at the end of August 1967, I went up to Marshfield again to visit grandma. Grandpa had passed away in October 1961. While there, I can recall going on a Ferris wheel with Stevie and Joey at a county fair.

My next time in Marshfield was in July 1978 when mom and dad took me and my new family from Taiwan to visit Aunts Donna, Mary, and Sissy as well as mom's aunt and my great-aunt Martha. We stayed with Aunt Donna and Joe one night on their small farm at Hewitt. During that visit, I got to know cousin Ricky. He had MS (multiple sclerosis) and tragically died from it in 1989.

During my few trips to Marshfield, I never got to know and see any of my other maternal cousins.

My Maternal Cousins from Aunt Donna

Taken about 1987.  The only people I recognize are cousin Ricky, the smallest boy, aunt Donna, and Joe.

Taken about 1987. The only people I recognize are cousin Ricky, the smallest boy, aunt Donna, and Joe.

Grandma with Granddaughter

Grandma with my cousin Catherine.  Taken in June 1967..

Grandma with my cousin Catherine. Taken in June 1967..

Memories of Cousins Today

Up until the end of 2016, I had lost contact with all of my maternal and paternal first cousins. Aunt Mary, however, was a Facebook friend and she told me that cousin Carol wanted to friend me on Facebook. That was great because at that time I was getting in contact again with Aunt Sissy. I hadn't seen or contacted her since 2004 right after dad passed away.

In 2018 and 2019, I made two trips to Marshfield with my sister Pat to visit Sissy. In 2018, I met two of Carol's daughters my second cousins Angie and Sandy. The next year, 2019, I finally got to see Carol after so many years. She is now living near Bovey, Minnesota with her partner Bill. Unfortunately, her husband passed away from cancer in 2006.

While in Marshfield, I also got reacquainted with cousin Larry. He is living in Marshfield with his wife Pam who helps Sissy every day.

As to paternal cousins, I am only in contact with Bonnie today. While active on ancestry.com, I learned that Bonnie had done genealogy research on the Kuehn family. After contacting her, I found out that Bonnie was now living in Virginia and that Barbara was living in California.

Through genealogy research, I learned that Susie passed away in 2015.

Before my parents passed away, Alan visited them in the 1990s and a picture was taken of dad with Alan.

I have seen no other living cousins today.

Author with Aunt Sissy and Cousin Carol

Taken in Aunt Sissy's home in June 2019

Taken in Aunt Sissy's home in June 2019

Author with Cousin Larry

Taken in June 2019

Taken in June 2019

Alan

Cousin Alan with dad

Cousin Alan with dad

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Paul Richard Kuehn