I drove to Baltimore on Friday morning.
Just before I left, Bern asked, "when's your train?"
For some 5 plus hours on the road south, I wondered why I hadn't taken the train. I could have rested, read, had something to eat. I did that when my Aunt Elise died and Mejol picked me up at the Baltimore train station and the next day we drove to Charleston, WV.
What an idiot, not to take the train!
Anyway, Mejol and I talked late into the night on Friday and on Saturday drove to Elliston, Virginia, 16 miles from nowhere and just beyond Roanoke to Jan/Ann's 80th birthday party. Here's how the 1st cousins on my mother's side broke down: Uncle Graham and Aunt Elise Jones (8), Uncle Lee and Aunt Juanette Pugh (4), Aunt Georgie and Uncle Jim Perkins (2) and Virgil and Cleo Bradley (1--me!!!) I was the youngest by almost 7 years of them all.
Jan/Ann are Jones' cousins.Five of the 8 remain alive. All were at the party.
Of the 15 of us, 5 are dead now.
When Mejol and I drove in and tried to find a parking place on a vast area, I saw my cousin, Richard Jones. I haven't seen him in decades and would have known him everywhere. He is an older version of who he always was.
Jan and Ann are still identical after 80 years. Both wore cowboy boots. Ann's were red and Jan's were orange so we could tell them apart.
Michael and Patricia--Michael younger and Patricia older--were there. Along with Richard they are the surviving 5 of the 8 Jones first cousins. I couldn't have picked Michael out of a two person line-up, he's changed so much. But he must work out--flat stomach, wide shoulders.
Joel Pugh was there--one of three surviving Pugh cousins. His sister Gail seems to be locked in by her husband and can't socialize though they live close to Elliston and his brother, Duane belongs to a cult that claims to be Christian but keeps the Jewish Sabbath and can't travel on Saturday. Marlin, the final Pugh, died a year or so ago.
Mejol is one of the Perkins cousins--her brother, Bradley is dead for years now. Lore was he was named for my father but Georgie couldn't abide either 'Virgil' or 'Hoyt', so she named him 'Bradley'.
Mejol and I were on the road for 9 hours on Saturday, still we stayed up that night talking. Mejol said she was one of the people who have known me my whole life. And she is. My parents sort of adopted her as a surrogate daughter until I came along unexpectedly when they were both 40 or more. Unusual in those days. Mejol went on vacation with us through my childhood and was my baby sitter and almost sister. She has known me all my life. Amazing. I was stunned by reality when she said that.
We had breakfast on Sunday with Elizabeth (Mejol's daughter) and her husband. Great 2nd cousin and 2nd cousin in law. I had sausage gravy on biscuits, a real joy for me.
Then I drove home.
Probably will write more about the weekend. And maybe not. Who knows?
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