One of Mike's favorite relatives died on the 2nd of September. Also the family's longest-living member, she would have turned 94 today. Mike says there were many things he loved about her, including her sense of humor and her pecan pie.
One of the most special and unique things about this relative was the "double" relationship she had with his immediate family. They called her their "Aunt/Cousin Hazel," since that's exactly what she was. She and Grandma Grace were first cousins, because the two of them shared a set of grandparents on the Neeld side. Aunt/Cousin Hazel's father and Grandma Grace's mother were brother and sister. (Are you keeping this straight? There might be a pop quiz!)
Here is a picture of Grandma Grace (left) with Aunt/Cousin Hazel, taken at the 2008 Boyd reunion:
They used to go to Neeld reunions, too. Every year. Their shared grandparents were William Pingree Neeld and Mary Emma Leonardy Neeld, who are shown in this 1924 photograph:
The Neeld connection between Grandma and Hazel means that Mike and Hazel were first cousins once removed. Which suggests, by extension and with a little imagination, that Hazel and I were adoptive first cousins twice removed.
Now keep stirring the plot while it thickens:
Mike's dad, Grandpa George, was the oldest of five siblings. The second-born, Robert, grew up to marry Grandma's Cousin Hazel, thus setting himself and his bride up to become M's "Uncle Bob and Aunt Hazel." Here's a picture of Bob and Hazel Boyd from back in the day:
I didn't know Aunt/Cousin Hazel very well, having met her only once, at a Boyd reunion four years ago. I wish we'd had more chances to see each other, because I can tell she was the type of person I'd enjoy hanging out with. But in recent years she lived way up in the top part of Georgia, and I just don't travel long distances very well.
Here are a couple of pictures Mike took of Aunt/Cousin Hazel at that 2012 reunion:
The "Happy Birthday" tiara in her hair is in celebration of her 90th birthday, which had been a few weeks earlier.
And here's one of M's favorite pics of her--from her 89th birthday party, which we were unable to attend:
Doesn't she just exude cool?
Now that you've seen Aunt/Cousin Hazel as a mature lady, we thought it would be nice to show her at a much younger age--just over a year-and-a-half. Here she is, Dorothy Hazel Neeld--the tow-headed toddler on the right--in the arms of her mother, Clyde Margaret Powell Neeld. And to their right is Hazel's daddy, Paul Sawrie Neeld, holding her older sister, Mary Margaret Neeld.
This is the earliest "family picture" we have of Aunt/Cousin Hazel. It was taken on Saturday, May 24, 1924. For that matter, so was the black-and-white picture, above, of Hazel and Grandma Grace's grandparents, William and Emma Neeld.
Now you may have noticed that in the pic of William and Emma, there are other "people parts" showing, and you might well wonder if all of these Neelds are pieces of a bigger picture. And you would be right--they're borrowed from the humongous Neeld family portrait (38 people in all!) I featured in three separate blog posts during April and May of 2015. If that seems excessive, well, I apologize. But not too much, because that picture is the most amazingly good family portrait I think I've ever seen. I mean, how in the world do you get 38 people, especially relatives, to hold still and shut up long enough to take a decent picture?
For your convenience, I'm going to re-post the entire Neeld family portrait--and I promise this is the last time I intend to blog it. Because I want to point out one important thing about it: Now that Aunt/Cousin Hazel has left us, nobody in that picture is still alive. The next-to-last departure was Hazel's Cousin Grace, on May 27, 2011.
And now we'll wish our Aunt/Cousin Hazel bon voyage and say, "Happy 94th birthday, dear one, wherever you are!"
1 week ago