9 years ago when we got married I became interested in genealogy. I posted to a lot of boards and asked questions, searching for relatives and I got some answers. I put together two gigantic binders and organized it all.
Then it fell by the wayside. Other hobbies took over and on occasion I’d get a new message from someone since the boards are still searchable and waiting for others to add to.
So, two years ago when I got a message saying that someone had replied I jumped over to that board and I got really excited. The person who was replying basically said she was my second cousin on my grandfather’s side—her mom and my mom were first cousins! Her name was Elizabeth.
It became a flurry of emails, doing Google searches for each other and realizing that we had a lot in common though we were several years apart, I was about four years older. I called my mom and told her what I’d found out and she was shocked. She hadn’t seen her cousin in nearly 30 years!
Chris and I were living in Florida at the time, then our AT hike came up and we just had too many different problems trying to meet up. My immediate family was in the DFW area while hers was in OKC, not a far drive but far enough to require some planning.
So, nearly two years after that first contact I got things together and my mom and I made the trip up to OKC for a mini-family reunion. I am so glad we went up there! It’s too bad that time and distance had to come between family, but I’m sure we’re not the only family who is the way. The first day was spent sitting in Elizabeth’s living room looking at old photos and hearing old stories about grandparents and other relatives. Our great-grandmother, our mom’s grandmother, was apparently into dipping snuff and watching wrestling. Not quite the image one gets when thinking of a grandmother—and of course this was only a tiny perspective of her. What I got out of who she was is a person who cared and did what she could for her grandchildren. I have a very vague memory of her in a wheelchair at the nursing home she lived in before she died. I was maybe two or three. It’s one of those memories that appear and sometimes you wonder where they came from and if they are real, but my mom verified some of the scenes so I’m certain my brain wasn’t making things up.
Some of the other things they talked about were items from their grandmother’s house. And I’m very big this way, attaching sentiment and memories to items and having a strong attachment to them. It doesn’t have to be something big, I have old Folgers coffee jars (I mean like 50s and 60s old) that were my grandmothers’ that I kept when we cleaned out her house after a move to a seniors apartment. She used to keep flour and sugar and such in those jars but I always remembered them from my visits to her house and now they hold craft supplies. But hearing them talk about those items just tied some of that sentimentality to the family and helped me understand it some.
The second day we were there we went about OKC a bit. Mom didn’t want to see the OKC bombing memorial so we stayed away from downtown and instead went to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. I loved this museum! I only wish we’d had more time to see the rest of it but seeing some of the beautiful art work made me want to paint and get crafty! A few excellent portrait artists made me wish I was better at faces—there’s a good reason I draw plants and animals.
We left the museum early because we were going to the News 9 studio to watch the noon news report! Sweet! Elizabeth and her husband Kevin went to college with one of the weather team members Matt Mahler so they’ve gone to shows before. I have to say this was an interesting experience! I was expecting a much more bustling studio but it was only the news anchor and Matt with two crew guys on the set! Apparently the noon show is a little more quiet than the others!
Before we left to head back south of the Red River we had lunch and stopped back at Elizabeth’s house for goodbyes.
I’m so glad we went up there! I’d love to plan something else in the future—maybe camping near Turner Falls! Plus, Elizabeth has two brothers that I’d like to meet and once my brothers and sister in law have their son and get settled into a two kid household I know they’d like to go up too.
Elizabeth is scheduled for this Monday’s interview series so peek back then to see what she has to say!