My Cousin Simba
I don’t remember meeting Seymour but I know it was a long time ago, the photos of my older cousin holding a tubby baby and the date and inscription on the back prove that. I do however, have very early memories of the legendary oldest cousin of the family and the awe in which we all held this amazingly independent, clever, cheeky, unconventional and sometimes very annoying member of our gang.
A true mentor, my cousin “Simba” (a pet name given to him by his Gran which he hated and we therefore used mercilessly as kids) taught me so much ……… how to make beans on toast, the formula to create a never ending spirograph pattern on his new ZX81, how to get away with having the messiest bedroom ever and of course, the meaning of life (otherwise know as Radios 4’s Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy).
Later on these valuable lessons in life extended to, which tube stations didn’t require tickets, the best night bus routes, the fact that it was possible to go to work the next day having sat up all night listening to Pink Floyd and an interesting selection of beverages including the infamous “Baileys and Tequila” cocktail, not to mention, how to set up home in the back of an ancient beige Sierra when in between flats.
Ok, so that’s just some of the funny stuff, more difficult to put into words, is the generous, resilient, good humoured and sensitive side to my elder cousin - the stuff that one tends to take for granted until you think back over the years. The family celebrations and get togethers when he would just turn up from some far flung travels with gifts like my treasured Genesis album, bottles of champagne or some quirky new gadget that you never knew you needed. The hours sat in the pub putting the world to rights or the long trips, which he would share, to visit sick grandparents and his laid back nature which enabled him to see the good in everybody.
Sitting here in Egypt now, having finally gathered my thoughts, I am wondering why it’s been so hard to add some words to this wonderful and lasting tribute to my cousin Seymour. Perhaps it’s partly the distance that makes it all feel so unreal, the sadness of having been unable to join so many friends and family for a final send off but maybe most of all a regret that over the past few years we have seen so little of each other.
I didn’t really know so much about the important work that Seymour was doing until now reading all his tributes and obituaries and more sadly, I only saw a couple of times what a wonderful and doting father he was to Imogen. I hope in years to come, I might be able to make up for that and be able share with her more stories and memories of her lovely Dad.
Someone once said “It’s the lives we encounter that make life worth living” - Seymour you were definitely one of those lives. My thoughts are with Imogen, Fiona and my aunt Veronica.