Minnesota's Greatest Generation

Tom & Rose Marie Cousins: Christmas Letters

Annual holiday letters are a popular way for families to share a year's worth of news with friends and distant relatives. Over time, such letters can become a chronicle of family history, as discovered by Tom Cousins and his family of Minneapolis. Tom, an accomplished writer and photographer, compiled his family's annual Christmas letters with accompanying cards and photos spanning 50 years into a book, which he shared with the Minnesota's Greatest Generation project. Filled with warmth and good humor, the letters not only share one family's history but also provide a window on family life in the Boom years of 1950s.

Tom and his first wife, Rose Marie, and son Danny moved from Florida to Minnesota in 1954 when he accepted a job in the promotion department of WCCO TV. By 1958 their family had grown to include three more sons, as reflected in their Christmas card from that year – the first to include a letter. The letter is reprinted here with permission. Read more letters.


Every year we promise ourselves we will get our Christmas cards mailed early, and every year we find Christmas approaching and no idea for a card. Also, we want to write and tell you what has been happening with us and this takes time...more time than four little ones give you.

This has been an eventful year in our lives, one filled with both joy and sadness.

Sadness struck without warning July 25th with the sudden death of Rose Marie's father, Louis Staudt. It was a real blow to all of us because he was such a wonderful father and grandfather. The boys thought Grandpa Staudt was just about the greatest, and Grandpa spoiled them as much as most grandfathers do.

Three weeks later sadness was softened by the birth of our fourth son, Tommy. Officially tagged THOMAS ALAN, he weighed in at 8# 7 oz., on August 15. He's growing like all little boys do and has nearly doubled his weight...good as gold, day and night. The other three young 'uns love him to pieces, much to his joy.

Tom is just about to complete his fifth year in the promotion department of WCCO Television, and likes it better than ever. February 15th will be the anniversary date. He does free-lance photography in his spare(?) time, and joins the office gang weekly for league bowling. His bridge game improves with age, although his spouse claims it is more luck than skill!!

As for bridge, Rose Marie has so much spare time (ha!) that she belongs to three clubs, as well as her Church Guild and the Women's Club. She feels just a trifle outnumbered (5 men and one queen bee in the house) but couldn't be happier with her little brood.

We are still at 6108 Vincent Ave. South, but won't be this time next year if we can find the ideal home. Our home was just perfect five years ago, still is for that matter. But we are busting out at the seams with six of us in a two bedroom bungalow with no dining room. The ideal home is one that is big enough, but not too big for our credit at the bank.

Speaking of anniversaries a few lines ago, November 24th we celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary. "Seven years with the wrong woman and loving every minute of it," was Tom's happy comment.

Danny, our oldest, is five and now in kindergarten. He likes it so well that he can hardly wait for the school bus to pick him up. His prize comment about school was, "Momma, it's like a party every day!" Besides brining the various and sundry things he learns and makes at school, he brought home a good case of mumps that are wrecking our Christmas plans. We are planning to take a two week vacation at the grandparents in Iowa over the holidays, but Ricky, Randy, and Tommy could get the mumps anytime before December 28. it will be Christmas in Minneapolis for us for the first time.

Ricky, our second son, will be four in March and is the big boy at home while Danny is in school. He insisted he was going to school with Danny this year – now, he says he is going for sure next year. He wants to do everything his brig brother does, even wanted to have his tonsils out with Danny last May. His biggest thrill all year was the tractor rides that Grandpa Cousins and his uncles gave him. Both he and Danny spent separate vacations on the farm last summer, and are looking forward to more weeks like those in the future.

Randy, our next to the youngest, was two in August and is the third pea of the pod. What mischief the two older ones might miss, Randy seems to come up with it in no time at all. He is a real night owl, like his ma and pa, and climbs out of bed at least a half dozen times each night before he finally goes to sleep.

Incidentally, we purchased bunk beds, hoping to solve the sleeping space problem. Guess who has taken over the top bunk all by himself? Little Randy. Nothing would do, but he crawling up the ladder to the top and insisting that the big boys sleep on the bottom bunk.

Randy's big event last spring was the baby chicks that the Easter Bunny brought for pets. They were fine until they started flying out of the box and Mom got a little tired of chasing them around the house. Then, down to the farm they went, and eventually ended up in the frying pan, (but don't tell the boys, please).

This will give you a fair idea of 1958 in the lives of your Minneapolis Cousins. Now, let us hear what has been happening to you and yours.

Our Best Wishes for a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a Happy 1959.

Tom, Rose Marie,
Danny, Ricky, Randy, Tommy

Tom and Rose Marie Cousins experienced their own "Baby Boom" as their family grew until there were nine children – seven boys and two girls. The family's annual holiday letters documented each new addition to the family and continued to share news of all of their activities.


Cousins, Daniel T. (Tom), Minneapolis Cousins' Family History through Christmas Letters, 2003.