Monday, July 30, 2007

Rough Edges

I survived the weekend!

It was rough here and there, but I made it through. And what's more, as my older daughter likes to say (all the time), "It's all good; it's all good." I'm not always sure what she means by that but it sounds ok to me this morning anyway.

Friday, I spent the bulk of the day in the kitchen - cooking, baking, getting stuff prepared for the couple of family visitors we had Saturday. If you recall, I've been really worked up and upset over the past month pertaining to my family reunion -this year would have been the 58th reunion of my mother's father's family members and it really looked like this was going to be the end of the line for that event too.

If you base that on the number of people who attended - actually who just showed up here for a rather informal gathering at my house, there were a total of seven adults and three children here Saturday. My cousin Karen, from Jamestown, NY and her daughter, Julie; cousin Rita from Maryland and her husband; my daughter, Mandy, son, Clate, the 15-year-old stepgranddaughter and the two little grandkids of mine (Maya and Kurtis.)

We didn't actually get anything resolved Saturday - just discussed what ideas each of us had, our thoughts about the reunion per se, and we're going to see if we can work out any of the ideas brought up to bring the reunion back to life once more. Time, distance, economics, health issues plus the fact the "blood connection" (how far removed people are from our ancestors) all figure into this issue. My cousins Karen, Rita and I are all of the third generation away from our great-grandparents and, as one cousin who couldn't be here Saturday told me on the phone last week, "We are now the 'older' generation." Yep, how true that is!

Back in 1950, when this reunion was started by our parents, there were still some of the first generation living then and lots and lots of first cousins too. My grandfather and his older brother were still alive and both lived here in this little village then as well. And, most of the children of theirs and of their siblings, lived within a 3-4 hour drive of this place too.

My great-grandparents had immigrated here from Sweden in 1880 and 1881. My g-grandfather came over in 1880 and g-grandma came in 1881 with their five children who ranged in age from 9 years to the youngest, who was only about a year old when they arrived. Their oldest child, a son, had died when just a baby. As they made their way in this country, they had six more children of whom, by 1950 when the reunion began, four of their sons and three daughters were still living and there were 37 of the 39 grandchildren still alive then too. Probably because most of those grandchildren had grown up here too in this little village - all along the same street as well - they were naturally very close knit then.

By the time this reunion began, my grandparents then had eight grandchildren and I was the only one of those children who lived here as my Mom and I lived with her parents. My cousins - children of my Mom's brothers - five lived in the Pittsburgh area, one in Hagerstown, MD and the oldest of my youngest uncle lived in Corry, PA (his three younger siblings hadn't been born at that time. And, although as cousins go, we were very close growing up, as adults, we first cousins didn't have the same connection as my mother and her siblings had with their first cousins, due most likely to the miles between us as we grew up.

Of my ten first cousins on Mom's side (one died in 1982), we're now so scattered about - six of us still live in Pennsylvania, one is in South Carolina, another in Texas and yet another in Indiana - so we don't see each other much at all now. Our children - and there are 30 great-grandchildren now just in my grandparents branch of our family - are really spread out - one in Washington state, another in California, several in Texas, one in Tennessee, two in Georgia, two in Florida, only 10 in Pennsylvania, one in New Jersey, another in New York or Connecticut (not sure right now about that one's residence) three in Indiana, two in Maryland and that leaves 5 that I can't think offhand now where the heck those kids are and well, it's really rough trying to figure out a way to get those kids - many who are married now and have families they are trying to raise who have loads of activities going on where they live and well, to quote someone at NASA -"Houston, we have a problem." We are all over the place and that's just my grandfather's branch of the family that is part of this reunion. When you start trying to track down all the cousins - grandchildren of my grandfather's siblings - it is really a tough job!

My cousins and I, our kids, etc., in our discussions on Saturday, didn't make any decisions or commitments at this time about the reunion's future. We're going to look at finding other places where we could possibly hold it - perhaps that might make it a little more enticing for some of the distant cousins to come to it. We're also looking into getting updated home addresses as well as e-mail addresses for all the descendants of Carl and Maja Till Eld and then, sending that listing out to the cousins, hither, thither and yon, ya know, so they can see that there may be some cousins they had more or less forgotten about or in some cases, didn't know they existed perhaps, but who may be residing now fairly close to them and they can then perhaps take the step to reach out -"touch someone" ya know - and rekindle the family connectivity that way.

It's going to take some work to just get this information compiled and sent out to the members of the family and hopefully, it will help. Who knows? But unless we try, we won't know and won't feel that we've necessarily done all we possibly can do to breathe a little life into the old reunion these days. So, if you happen to be a descendant of Carl and Maja Till Eld, look out, you may be getting some communications from us and asking for input from you about your family members - addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers and the like. (None of this information will be turned into the IRS either, or to any nasty bill collectors or spam artists, rest assured! LOL -just kidding there, folks.)

But, regardless, for me, for my kids, it was still so nice that we were able to spend the afternoon with the four folks who were able to make the trip here. The best thing - aside from our discussions - was learning that my cousin Rita's husband just got a new job and was to start it today I believe! He's been through a pretty rough patch for the past two years since he was laid off his previous position so it was wonderful news to learn he'd just been hired by another firm now in a post similar to what he'd held before, doing what he really does quite well too - marketing and pr work. (Anyone who's been let go from a good job and who's over a certain age, knows how difficult it can be to get rehired these days. Don't anyone EVER tell me age discrimination doesn't exist because it is very much alive and way too healthy in today's job markets!)

So Sunday (yesterday), I think based on how I felt - just really, really tired, no energy at all -maybe there was something in the air too because judging on the way my granddaughter was acting most of the day, she must have had similar problems. It's not all that unusual for her to have a meltdown here and there most every day, but yesterday, she was just really abnormally miserable! The least little thing - stuff that usually wouldn't be a big deal with her - would set her off and she would be howling, crying almost to the point were she was on the verge of losing her voice. (Which, I might add, to the rest of the family's eardrums, might have been regarded as a bit of a blessing in disguise, ya know.) She's usually a very good eater when it comes to breakfasts - most of the time, she just wants cold cereal - however, she's never been known to refuse a cooked breakfast and especially not pancakes but yesterday, she wouldn't even touch them! Such wailing! You'd have thought putting those pancakes before her was tantamount to being beaten within an inch of her life! I guess she was just having a bad day, same as we grown-ups have from time to time too. A lot of "rough edges" for her yesterday anyway.

Last evening though, Mandy wanted to go check out a little fruit/vegetable stand about 2 miles from us, so we loaded the kids in the car and away we went. While Mandy was looking at the produce, the kids and I were in the van and Maya was looking out the back window, watching various animals wandering around the yard of the farmhouse there. It was comical on one hand to hear her as she began talking to herself then. "Oh look. See the Kitty, Maya?" "See the duck, Maya?" Each animal she saw, she would say that, and each time, adding her name into the statement. But it's all good - back to what her Aunt Carrie would say there - that she is observing these things, putting this into words, even if she is adding her own name there into the equation.

And now, time for me to head back to bed - again! I actually had gone to bed last night really early - for me - like 10:30 as I couldn't keep my eyes open - but sleeping more than four hours at a clip is a rarity for me so by 3 a.m., I was awake but now, the eyes are starting to get a bit heavy again so maybe I can get a couple more hours of sleep in before the two little ones wake up and begin their day by seeing what ever they can possibly get into!

G'nite for a while.


Smalltown RN said...

Well I am glad that at least some of you were able to get together and come up with a is very difficult to get families brothers and sisters and have not moved away nor have my 31 nieces and nephews and 7 great nieces and nephews, but i am sure the time will come that someone will move to another province or country. I have a brother and his wife and youngest son have moved to England for a year for a teacher exchange program..they just left this month...but they will be back...their home is here and their other children...I am anticipating the younger generation to start to move away...but then...they are all city kind of people...they love to travel which is great but they always seem to come back to of my nephews has found a love in Dubrovnik...that is where my father was nephew is there this summer but is coming back in September....I don't see them all that often but we do keep in touch....

I hope you get rested....

mcewen said...

Complex families are so fascinating. As for geneology, I leave that to my dad.

lattégirl said...

It's all good, it's all good.

A lot of work, maybe not the results you wanted, but the good intent is worth a million bucks. :)