Sometimes it seems like only yesterday, and other days it’s a lifetime ago. In reality, sixteen years have now passed since that momentous Homestead rocking year of birth and rebirth, freakily brought to you by the letter J: we’re talking 1999.
First up, on 27 February , after wishing their entire (albeit relatively short) lives on a plethora of stars, birthday candles and dandelion clocks for the one thing the often sited “everyone else” had, the stars finally aligned for the younger Homestead residents. They received a cousin.
Who cared that number one cousin was residing half a world away in Chattanooga, Tennessee! It mattered about as much as her now spending her days (with her family, we hasten to add) surrounded by mythical blue birds and real-life white cliffs in the port town of Dover. A cousin is a cousin wherever they happen to be. Besides, somewhere along the line we managed to live in the same city for a few years during which we learned that Cousin Johanna (that’s the first J) not only has the coolest name, she’s also an amazing writer, is tenacious and brave, and has the razor sharp wit of the most seasoned comic.
Happy belated 16th birthday, Johanna from all of us at Union Homestead.
The round of photo-flashing, school news, laboriously scribed (with crayoned illustrations) stories, and outright gloating had barely diminished when news came through that it had happened again! The much anticipated cousin number two arrived on 20 April, this time a little closer to home. Jacqueline (J number three, bear with us) has the dubious pleasure of living in the very same city as us (safely across town, though) and is one of those studious, fun loving, over achieving, tolerant types. We emphasise the tolerant, as she bears us hill-billies gracing the audience of a great number of her high brow musical appearances; she even meets with us in public afterwards!
Happy 16th birthday in advance, Miss Jacq Dee, and huge congratulations on your latest lyrical success.
Then right slap-bang in the middle of both these happy events, we Homesteaders had one of our own – of sorts. Today, 19 March, marks not birth but rebirth: it’s now been sixteen years since The Milk Maid’s kidney transplant. Although not something we tend to dwell on, when you think “quality of life” it is way up there. So today we also say happy rebirthday to Keanu Kidney (how we wish we’d picked a name starting with J, but we’re suckers for alliteration), who keeps on keeping on, doing his little kidney thing happily unconcerned that he’s spent the last sixteen years in a body three years older than him.
To the original owner, the esteemed Auntie Joss (see: there’s the second J), we send a great big hunk of the stuff you can’t buy in any shop or express with words; except maybe
Thanks; thanks a lot; a great big, huge, enormous lot.