Wednesday, July 9, 2014


My cousin, Mejol, told me she keeps hoping to find someone else named Mejol. I told he to give it up. She's 73 and has never met another. I don't think she will. The family lore is that Aunt Georgie, my mother's sister (who was named after the Doctor who came to deliver her, Dr. George Something--more Jones family lore) named her after some character in some book she was reading while she was pregnant. An American Indian name, as the story goes. Maybe, maybe not...the Jones side of my family, my mother's side, had lots of lore.

Interestingly, the Bradley side was almost lore-less. The Bradley side of my family were matter-of-fact, straight-forward. They also drank alcohol, which the Jones did not, and smoked cigarettes and pipes and told bawdy jokes.

My making came from two drastically different families.

Mejol has been in my life since I had a life. Since my parents thought they would never have children and since Mejol's father had been 'shell shocked' in WW2--what would now be Post Tramatic Stress Syndrome--my mother and father had Mejol as a pretend daughter. When I was born, she was 6. As I grew she was always around--going on vacation with us to the Smokey Mountains year after year (why people who live in the mountains would go to the mountains is a conversation for another time) baby-sitting me from time to time, and ,since I spent most of my life until adolescence surrounded by family, Mejol was always in the mix.

We lost touch for decades. I saw her when her brother Bradley Perkins died twelve or so years ago. But it so happens she lives near Baltimore, so in the years Josh and Cathy and the girls have been in Baltimore, I've gotten back in touch with her and her two children and her son, Fletcher's, two children.

I've talked to her on the phone for what may be hours in the last few weeks since Pearl (Bradley's wife) died and we're planning a visit to Dunbar, West Virginia, just outside Charleston, this month to visit Aunt Elsie, our mother's only surviving sister. I'll take the train to Baltimore and Mejol (who I called 'Mesh' most of my life) will pick me up and we'll drive the 6 hours to Dunbar and stay two nights and then come back so I can catch the train to Baltimore.

Aunt Elsie is a member of the Nazarene Church. My Uncle Harvey, her deceased husband was a Nazarene preacher after he was a Pilgrim Holiness preacher and changed denominations for some reason I don't know. Uncle Harvey was gravely concerned that I became an Episcopalian in college and when I was going off to Harvard Divinity School in 1969, he told me gravely, "don't let them make you a Unitarian."

I've always greatly respected Unitarians who, the joke goes, begin their prayers with "To whom it may concern....." I'd be a Unitarian if they had liturgy, I imagine. Many of my prayers begin, "to whom it may concern....." Or else I'd be a Quaker, silent and liberal. That would have really freaked Uncle Harvey out....

I  have 17 first cousins, all but one of them older than me. Two of them--one on each side--dead. And Mejol means more to me that all the others put together.

I actually, in the end, revel in being an only child--much less messy and confusing. But if I had a sister, it would be Mejol.

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.