As a young boy my cousins Mike and Mark were some of my best friends. We saw each other often and got along well. I think that is pretty common with most families.

In the 1960’s and 70’s my mom and her sister Sherry got together often. We lived in New Ulm and Sherry and her family lived in Winona for a while then moved to Guttenberg Iowa. My brother Greg and I are one year a part and it’s the same for Mike and Mark, so we are all close in age. You can imagine, as young boys, what kind of mischief we were always getting into. We couldn’t wait for family get togethers.

Mad Dog and The Claw

Our favorite thing to do when together was imitate professional wrestling! Since Mike and I are the oldest we would tag team against Greg and Mark. AWA Wrestling was huge in the 60’s and 70’s. Mad Dog Vachon, The Crusher, Dr. X, Nick Bockwinkel, The Claw, Baron von Raschke and the list of professional wrestlers goes on. We would go in the backyard and wrestle. Well it wasn’t really wrestling but always turned into a knock down drag out fist fight! I liked to be the Crusher and Mike was usually Mad Dog. Greg and Mark would choose a wrestler and we would beat the crap out of each other. It was vicious at times. It always started out as something fun to do, but in the end you knew somebody was going to be getting hurt and most likely be bleeding! Usually Greg or Mark would end up crying and running to mommy.

Greg (my brother) and cousins Mark and Mike

We moved to Madison in 1970. Mike and Mark always enjoyed coming to Madison and sometimes staying for a couple of weeks during the summer. We were teenage boys by then and would hang out at the pool. Stinker Days was a huge event back then. Mike and I would chase Greg and Mark on our bikes and shoot them with our pea shooters. We had so much fun as kids. After graduating from high school we went our separate ways.

This past weekend all four of us got together at a family wedding. We are in our 60’s now. The stories were told again and the laughs came. It’s so good to see them. I really believe that your cousins are your first best friends.


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