Sunday, March 18, 2007

The best part of last week...

...without a doubt, was the visit by my aunt and uncle from Springfield, Missouri. What a charming pair they are! I know their age in years (thanks to my handy-dandy genealogy database), but their energy and good looks defy how old I know them to be. I feel decrepit sometimes, but these delightful folks are young!

My dad was one of nine children, and this particular uncle is his youngest brother. This photo is how I remembered him for almost 40 years, from the time I left Missouri until I saw him and his lovely wife again at a family reunion in 1996.

It means so much to me that these warm, beautiful people took the time to travel all the way here, and to my sister's home in Texas, to check on the two "little girls" who moved so far away so many years ago. It was a long way to go, especially since my aunt wasn't feeling so well.

I grew up without my father. In fact, I was almost 50 before we communicated frequently enough that I felt I knew him fairly well. Needless to say, there are a lot of gaps in my knowledge of him and his birth family.

By visiting us, my aunt and uncle have given my sister and me the gift of a piece of our father, a piece of our history, a piece of our family.

Priceless!

13 comments:

  1. I don't know why my last post didn't show up..oh well. Velvet, this was a beautiful post. This surely was the high-point of your past week, no doubt. I'm so very happy, you see it for what it was, beautiful memories.
    Thank you for your visit, it was appreciated. I'm so very happy you're back, you were missed.
    Sandy

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  2. Oh Velvet! I'm soooo happy you had a shiny spot in all the problems last week. My father's brothers have meant so much to me, filling in gaps and making sure I knew who my father was. What a gift you and your family received! Here's to a better week!
    Holly

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  3. Oh my God. I slip into thinking that everyone had Ed for a Father. Even though I had him, I envy the reunion that you had. One of nine? Amazing stuff. They must be blessed by your branching efforts to draw the line.

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  4. Seems like many families start to reconnect after years and years of being apart. It sounds like a very meaningful experience you had. We should all be lucky to reconnect before we no longer have the opportunity to do so.

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  5. Sandy, my evening with them was very much like the poem at the top left of this blog, the one from which I chose the name of the blog. (In fact, the name of the poem is "Reunion.") We built a lot of bridges in a short period of time.

    Holly, it was great. Several of my dad's family members have reached out to us in the past year, and all of them have touched us with their kindness. These two were the first ones we've been about to reach out and hug, literally, and that was pretty special.

    Alison, your dad was one in a million. So was mine, but in a different way. Yours was rock solid and mine was something of a loose cannon. Having known both of them, I'd feel comfortable describing them both as unforgettable, but that--and their intelligence--might have been the only characteristics they had in common.

    Annie, I've noticed those late-in-life reconnections, too. Maybe it's just that we have more time to think about these relationships once our children are grown and on their own.

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  6. These folks must be wonderful people. I think it is a gift to know your past. You can learn of your father from his brother.

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  7. How wonderful, Velvet.

    Researching my family genealogy has been a great experience, not just for the fun of trying to solve the mysteries, but for the distant cousins I've met on line and then sometimes in person, as well as for the "long losts" I've reconnected with. It is the best puzzle in the world.

    Your aunt and uncle have indeed given you a special gift; and you are wise enough to realise it.

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  8. So glad you had a chance to reconnect with people who mean so much to you. You have a wonderful family that clearly has value for each member. Carmon

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  9. Velvet, to me, there is nothing as amazing as connections with family members who remember me from my childhood years. There are not many; most were left behind in Germany when we immigrated.

    But I treasure those pieces that some relatives have managed to fill in for me...it makes me feel whole.

    What a wonderful couple these two are...always remembering to include you and your sister in their memories, and to reassure you of that by visiting!

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  10. What a wonderful gift! Families can be both blessing and curse and it is so important that this connection is there for you - to help youmake meaning of the past, fill in the blanks and belong to a future!

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  11. Sister-Three, you're right on all three counts!

    Wiz, I've been researching our family's history for 18 years, and I love it for all the reasons you mention. I get a huge kick out of the puzzle aspect of genealogy. It's such a joy to discover that one piece of information I've been missing, the key that opens up a whole new avenue of exploration. It must be the same kind of high our kids experience when they reach a new level of a video game.

    Carmon, I like the way you put that: "a family that clearly has value for each member." I hadn't thought about it in precisely that way, but their visit did make me feel "valued."

    Marion, I know just what you mean. I think there are a lot of questions it doesn't even occur to us to ask until we're older, and it feels so good to be with people who can help to tie up those loose ends.

    Dr. Kate, you're certainly correct about the blessing/curse thing. I consider myself very lucky!

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  12. I'm glad you had a good time with the relatives! That's a handsome devil in the photo. It must have been a shock to see him now, especially if that's how you've always thought of him.

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  13. Janet, I recognized him instantly, as I did when I saw him 11 years ago. He's still a handsome devil--but a white-haired one, like the rest of his siblings.

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