Never too late — family reunites after decades
By Frank Vaisvilas Correspondent October 20, 2013 7:14PM
Matthew Crosby examines one of the golf clubs he was given by his brother. | Frank Vaisvilas~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 22, 2013 6:19AM
JOLIET — Matthew Crosby, 73, hadn’t seen some of his siblings for several decades.
And now he lay in a bed at Fairview Care Center, suffering from multiple afflictions.
“It’s not like they’re estranged,” said Greg Crosby, 52, of Texas, who’s Matthew’s nephew. “It’s just that life happened.”
Greg’s father, KC Crosby, 76, of Louisana, hadn’t seen Matthew, his brother, in about 20 years. KC had recovered from two strokes during that time.
Meanwhile, Matthew’s health slowly began to deteriorate in recent years. He has diabetes and has to be fed through a tube. However, his daughter is optimistic that he will soon be able to eat normally again, based on what his doctor indicated.
Additionally, Alzheimer’s disease is beginning to take its toll on Matthew’s mind.
Fearing that he might not have much time left, two of his brothers and a sister decided to visit him Oct. 12 at the nursing home.
KC flew in from Louisana, David Crosby, 69, rode in from Virginia on a train and their sister Ruth Oberson, 78, came in from Milwaukee. Greg said it probably was the first time they were all in the same room together since 1954.
He said people, too often unfortunately, tend to come to a point in their lives when the only times they reunite and reminisce are at funerals. The Crosby reunion was an attempt to change that, Greg said.
“Everybody who wants to come and see me, come on in,” Matthew said during the reunion at Fairview.
Remembering that Matthew was an avid golfer, David brought him a set of golf clubs.
“How’s he going to be able to use those?” KC asked David.
Matthew is wheelchair bound, but he seemed to appreciate the golf clubs. His face lit up when he saw them. And despite suffering from Alzheimer’s, he was able identify each club.
The family talked about their time together in Mississippi and shared memories and laughs. Their parents separated, and their father moved many of the children with him to Louisana while their mother moved with Ruth to Milwaukee.
As the children grew older, some left for military service and some moved to different states for work or marriage.
“I’m glad to be getting back together for a while,” Ruth said.