I come from a big family, not just my immediate paternal side but from all sides of my genes. I have family in at least four of the seven states of Australia, countless family spread out across America and family in Europe who probably don’t know I exist but I know they do because my grandmother has told me about them.
My grandfather (the best pop a girl could ever ask for) was from America, Leominster, Massachusetts to be exact although that wasn’t where his life started but it’s where he called home. He came from a big family himself, 3 sisters and 3 or 4 brothers from memory (will check with mum, she knows all family stuff) and he loved them all very much. He met my grandmother here in Western Australia when he was in the Navy (and he used to tell me to stay away from the navy guys hehe) and wooed her into marrying him. (thank goodness for that or I would not be sitting here doing this blog now!!) So Grandma made her way to America to marry Pop and that’s where they lived for two years then as my Grandma tells me they came back to Australia because she was home sick and missed her family. So she came back first with my Uncle Martin who was only two at the time and then Pop followed a few months later.
As a kid Pop used to tell us stories all the time about his family in America and the sorts of things he and his brother Ed would get up to and they used to fascinate me because he described events so vividly. I am a person that when I read a story or it’s told to me I get the running visual going on in my head, so for me I was hearing the story but also seeing it as well.
When I was about ten I was staying with Grandma and Pop and Pop was writing to his sisters and asked me if I would like to send them a letter too, even though I didn’t know them. So I started writing to his sisters (my Aunts) Yvonne and Florence and enjoyed it very much, I just wish I had of kept it up. They seemed like lovely people and I don’t think I ever heard my Pop say a mean thing about them ever, he really did love his family very much no matter where he was or where they were.
About three years later when I was thirteen my cousin Carol (daughter of Ed, Pops favourite brother) and her son, my third cousin, Daniel moved over to Perth from the Eastern States. I met Uncle Ed and Aunty Myrtle (Carols’ parents) when I was about seven years old and now for only the second time in my life I was meeting more of my American relatives. My memories of Carol and Daniel living here in W.A are good ones, I spent a weekend at their apartment and we went to Kings Park and rode bikes around and I don’t know if Daniel will remember this but I crashed my bike into a pole, thankfully I didn’t hurt myself but I was glad he was in front of me because I felt like and idiot…lol. We went back to Carols’ apartment and Daniel and I spent the day in the pool and he spent half the time chasing me around the pool, the lunatic, seriously. We had so much fun though and it was a good weekend. Daniel came to our house with Carol a few times and we played on his commodore 64 hehehe….so funny when I think about it now, and we went down to the park with my dad and flew a kite. I’m going to sound really old now and I’m really not but when we were kids we really knew how to make our own fun and we enjoyed messing around and being idiots with each other. (This world really has changed) I remember I helped Carol make dinner one night, meatloaf, mash potato and veges…the reason I remember exactly what it was is because I was amazed we used weet-bix to bind the mince. I’ve never forgotten that and hope I never do. I loved my time with Carol and Daniel and was disappointed when Carol decided to go back east. I didn’t see or hear from Daniel again until about April 2010 thanks to a little thing called facebook. My grandmother of all people found him on there and told me he was online so a friend request I sent and we’ve been in touch ever since and have laughed our butts off about how much fun we had together as kids when he was here. I also just recently spoke to Carol again for the first time in 23 years and it was so good to hear her voice.
Really I have to say if not for facebook I still would not know a lot of my family in America that I now know. Even though it will probably be some time before we can all see each other in person it is so nice to be able to get to know the family my Grandfather would always talk about. I know if he were here he would be so happy we are all in touch with each other on a regular basis and he would be happy to know how his family so far away are doing.
So now I’m friends with over a dozen relatives on facebook and I look forward to hearing from them and seeing what they’ve been doing and really connecting those family ties that we share through our genes and boy some of us really are alike and you can tell we’re related just by personality traits and the way we think. And at the same time it’s now strange to me to think how I’ve lived my whole life without these people in it, my cousin Nikki (Daniels’ sister) may be coming over to Australia this year and I can’t wait to meet her as we’ve become quite good friends and enjoy chatting to each other pretty regularly.
This is why I started The Travelling Diary, so we as a family could share our lives, past, present and future. And although the diary has had a few hiccups in being passed on I’m sure once it gets going it will be filled with memories, daily thoughts and love.
So to my family so far away, I love you, keep passing on that diary and I’m sure we will all come together one day soon. And to my Pop even though you are not here and I know you can’t hear me, I love you always and thank you for giving us such wonderful memories of you and for letting us know we had an amazing family out there.