Tuesday, April 07, 2009

It's a story of long-lost cousins. Sort of. We're kind of arguing over who was the 'lost' one. He says it's me, but I swear that I knew where I was the whole time and was never lost.


But him? HE was living in Germany, in a place that I can't even pronounce without sounding like I'm trying out for a part in a bad stage production of The Sound of Music.
So, who was lost?
Wasn't me, anyway.

So, the story: There's this guy, living in a town we'll call....Somewhereachtungbaby, Germany. S-town, for short. He's a US citizen, a military officer and a nice guy, from a nice family. His dad back in Idaho calls him up and tells him he ought to get in contact with some woman living in France.
Uh huh.
His dad says "No. Really! Listen! This is a REAL relative. Her father is my first cousin."


Then he reassured his son that he'd actually met the woman, as well as her husband and her numerous offspring and they all seemed like normal, people. Nice, maybe even.


So the nice and dutiful son sent an email to the "real" French relative (that would be me).


What happened next?


Well, the nice guy drove all the way over from S-town with his youngest child and came to spend a couple of days in the Haute Savoie with us. It was a short visit, but a good one. His precocious blonde daughter fit right in with our twins and they created a powerful, triplet-like mass. The weekend was theirs, really.



And Mike, the cousin from Germany? He thought my huge stash of New Scientist was cool (rather than sad and boring) and he started reading them asap. In other words: smart and kind of geeky . And I mean that as the highest praise.



It was interesting talking over "old times" with him. We are about the same age and knew many of the same places and people in our childhood, but seldom met. He was raised elsewhere, but like me, spent long summers out in central Nebraska with the family. He'd stay out on The Farm with his grandparents.
Here's his grandfather, who I knew as my "Uncle Bill". He was my paternal grandfather's only sibling:

Here's my grandmother and my grandfather. I don't have a picture of the two brothers together...
Mike said he liked being around my grandpa and loved the endless stories he would tell if you asked him (and even if you didn't.)

And I certainly loved going over to his grandparent's farm for the day. My grandmother and I would work in the garden, then I'd wander off to chase the cats around in the barn. I'd even occasionally get to ride a horse. "My" horse was Sugarfoot.

Mike would drive the tractor, ride Tinkerbell, drink icy water out of the irrigation hoses... all stuff I never did.

Aunt Marie and Uncle Bill would talk about him whenever I visited, but for some reason, he was never there...

All these years later we finally really connected. Same place at the same time. It's pretty funny that we had to go halfway around the world to do it...


8 comments:

Kelly said...

That's a nice story. And it is funny you are half way around the world and you meet your relative.

I love old photographs.

babzee said...

I think my grandmother's grandfather was from Somewhereachtungbaby (Zumvoachtungbebe in Alt Sprache). Ask Mike if there are any Schumachers in town.

Bridget said...

Love it, everyone should have wonderful long summers on the farm (and/or at the lake). It's the only way to go.

Beth said...

Yup. TONS of Schumachers in and around Somewhereachtungbaby. They and the Kolbs are tight, as is only natural.

And old photos? I am all about old family photos! If my austere spouse didn't rein me in, I'd have every surface of our home COVERED with them.

La Framéricaine said...

OMG!

I love the picture of your grandparents. Your grandmother looks toooooo cute to be anyone's grandmother. And I, personally, want your grandfather's hair.

On of the things that's making me drag my feet about getting more than Halfway To France is a profound desire to go to visit second-cousins in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and New Mexico. None of them will be in S-town so I gotta get on the road and say howdy before I get outta Dodge!

And you, of course, are exquisite perched up there like a delicate little butterfly on the back of that handsome steed.

oreneta said...

It is a little disconcerting how families drift apart, I have cousins of my own who I never see, and uncles, let alone my kids....the ties aren't all that strong once we lose the land ties.

By the same token, we can also find each other and keep in touch in ways we never could before as well.

somebird said...

has anyone ever told you look like your grandmother? at least in that photo, especially her check bones/face structure and smile. trés belle, both of you!

Beth said...

Hey Leena! Yes, I do get told that and I LOVE to hear it! My grandmother is the most beautiful woman I know (in both the spiritual and physical senses).
So, Thank you:)
BTW-It's her birthday today!