When I was a teenager, my Mother had me read the series of books (captured in the mini series, “The Awakening Land”, starring Elizabeth Montgomery, Jane Seymour and Barbara Hershey as sisters) of a pioneering family written by Conrad Richter. The books are, “The Trees”, “The Fields” and “The Town”.
I start with that story, as it involves a sister (the Barbara Hershey character) either lost in the woods and found by Indians, or stolen by Indians (depending on one’s viewpoint). When the sister disappeared, never to be heard from again, she left a hole in her sister’s lives, and an unanswered question which haunted the Elizabeth Montgomery character for the rest of her life – “what happened?”.
Sometimes, we just never get answers. That’s life.
However, through the glories of fb, a missing cousin has been found. In case I never made it clear in this particular blog, I loved my Nana but she was a serially unhappy woman, who left a wake of destruction and damaged people in her wake on her journey through life. At the time she passed away (she was 90-something – we couldn’t be exactly sure, as she always lied about her age and had lowered her age before the records became set in stone) we still had a relationship, even though she and my father were at war. That’s just how my familial relationships ran – hot and cold and no in-between.
In this case, the cousin is the product of my Father’s brother’s second or third marriage. (He, too, followed his mother’s example and married many times. The ones I know about are: the Catholic, the Jew, the Buddhist) – I refer to them by religion so that you can understand that my Uncle Bobby was a very flexible guy. Spiritual, according to his viewpoint, but not at all religious.
Anyway, I last saw this young woman when she was about 15 years old, and I was about 28, at a party at my Father’s home when my Nana was going to be in town for a visit.
Major drama aside, I think that was the last time I saw her – maybe 1988. Life being what it is, Uncle Bobby and his wife divorced, and he moved on to the next woman. Nana moved to FL to “retire”, and I had moved to CA for my health.
Because connections have always been maintained by the women in my Mother’s side of the family, it was hard to keep the connections alive when Bobby was the “permission” needed to have a relationship with both his daughters.
While my Mother was able to keep my older cousin in our lives so that she was not cut off completely following that divorce, we had no such success with the younger cousin, the half sister. Until this week.
Not going to say much more, other than that I’m glad we have an answer. The door is always open to her, if she wants to talk. My only goal in approaching her is to let her know she’s not alone. It was a great email conversation, and I’m so pleased that she was receptive to hearing from me, a virtual stranger, almost 30 years after we last spoke.
Her Mom died about a month ago, and her second book was published to acclaim last Fall, so it’s been a crazy / busy time for her. I wish her every success in getting through this difficult time of rebuilding and finding time for herself now that she’s officially an orphan. I’m hopeful that she will welcome both myself, her half sister, and anyone else who would care to be a part of her life into her world. It’s too soon to tell, but at least it’s progress.
Now, I have to go out and buy a copy of her books. Seems like writing and expressing our opinions, and being a feminist, runs in the family, LOL…