Every summer I go away for my birthday on a road trip. I insist that if one is not home for his/her birthday than it doesn't count. I will be 28 again...for the 13th time. I'm getting really good at being 28. Anyway...
This summer I was invited to stay with cousins in Minnesota. Cousins I met through genealogy research.
Many years ago I found a message board post regarding my great grandfather's sister; Florence V. Desjardins which lead me to Cousin Robert who in turn connected me to his brother, my Cousin Chris. We did not meet in person. All of our communication had been online. Then two years ago Cousin Chris's wife, Cousin Barb, came to New York for a business trip and she and I met. Now they have invited me to come visit.
I am excited!
Cousin Chris isn't much into genealogy but I plan to bring with me all the documents I have accumulated regarding our common ancestors; Great-Great Grandpa Damas Desjardins (a.k.a. Thomas Gardner) and Great-Great Grandma Malvina Ethier-Desjardins. I have neat things about them: Malvina's naturalization papers with a photo of her, Damas's obituary, etc.
I also have some documents regarding Cousin Chris's great grandparents: Their marriage record showing Florence needed her mother's consent to marry at age 16.
But my most favorite things: Newspaper articles!! Yeah apparently Chris's great grandpa and another of the Desjardins siblings got themselves into a lot of trouble in their youth. Breaking and entering, drunk driving, etc. Yeah - - that sounds like family.
The most important thing I want to share with Cousin Chris is that although our own immediate families are not what one would consider tight, there was a time when they were. After my Great Grandfather Albert died his wife went to live with Chris's great grandma Florence. And after Florence passed, my great grandma, Mamie, continued to live with her husband's brother-in-law who was Chris's great grandfather, Elbert. By the way, Elbert was my Grandpa Clarence's favorite uncle.
I have letters written by Great Grandma Mamie that tell a great deal about Chris's great grandparents. So although there has been quite a bit of distance and estrangement down the diverging lines for all sorts of reasons, there was a time when our family was close - - and there can be again. Although I have yet to even stand near, no less hug, my Cousin Chris, I feel like this is a bit of a family reunion. And I am deeply looking forward to it.