Whose Idea Was This Anyway???
by Jo-Ann Heyer

Twenty four years! Its hard to believe. Who ever thought it would last? But it has and its great!

For those of you who may not know, or who were not even born 24 years ago, the Cousins Picnic is celebrating its 24th year. It all started with a simple conversation that grew to an annual event that we have all come to treasure.

How did this thing get started? Let me begin...

In the beginning there was Charles and Mary Gallagher, Irish immigrants, who settled in the Bronx, N.Y. and raised a family of five girls and two boys. Their names were Mabel, Mary, Elizabeth, Charlie, Joseph, Rita and Anne. They were, from all appearances a happy and deeply religious family. Charles Gallagher unfortunately died quite young, but Mary lived on in her house at 3641 Irwin Avenue with her sister Betty and her two youngest daughters for quite some time.

Most of the Gallagher children married, settled nearby, and began having families of their own. As their children (the "original" cousins) were growing up, they visited each other's houses often, and of course were always seen coming and going from "Nanny" Gallagher's house.

The cousins saw quite a bit of each other, so for the most part the grapevine worked well and everybody knew what was going on in the family.

But alas, as these cousins married and started raising families of their own, the family got bigger and bigger, and didn't see as much of each other as before (except of course, at weddings and funerals).

Well, one day the cousins were invited to the wedding of Kathy Groark and Jim Detmer in Westchester. A good time was had by all, and some cousins got to talking about all the newest additions to their families, when one cousin said, "You know I wouldn't know your kids if I fell over them!" Another said, "That's true! We never see each other's kids, because we only get together at wakes and weddings, and the little ones are never there."

It was at this point, as the legend goes, that Tipper Hughes, our Cousins Picnic "Grand Marshall" piped up and uttered those prophetic words; "HEY, WHY DON'T WE HAVE A PICNIC?!"

A Committee was formed that very day, with a representative from each branch of the original cousins -- Hughes, Gallagher, Dion, and Groark. The Cousins Picnic was born. It has grown and endured for 24 years!

So indeed, we have gotten to know each other's children. In fact, we have gotten to know more cousins, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, extended family and dear friends than we can count. But, we can look at somebody now and say, "Oh yeah, I know who that is, that's Monica's daughter Nabla, or Tipper's son Ted, or Eddie's new wife Pat!"

We've had lots of fun over the years and no real disasters (thank God!). Just good times and good talk. Some of our loved ones are no longer here, but that's all part of the continuation of family. Not too many people have what we have.

Who knew when Tipper uttered those famous words, we would all be embarking on a journey that's lasted 24 years?

Let's go for fifty!!

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