And climb the stairs to the beach...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Long Lost Cousins

The other day a large box was delivered to my front door.

It wasn't a surprise, really, as I had been told to expect a package. However, I was not sure what would be in it.

I should back up a little bit. As most of you know, I am a little bit obsessed with genealogy research. I can spend hours upon hours hunting for the tiniest bit of information on an ancestor of mine, or anybody else's, if they ask me to look for someone. Of course, it's all the sweeter when I am hunting down something from my own tree. I wrote a blog for a couple of years called The Hunt for Henrietta. It was named for my great great grandmother Henrietta Davis Hall. It is still there on line if you'd like to take a look sometime by clicking on the link over to the left side of this blog. Henrietta actually had a good following for a couple of years and other genealogists and interested people would read it regularly. Often I would get comments and responses from readers that were always welcome and sometimes helpful in furthering my own research.

One Henrietta post I did was based on an old newspaper clipping I researched about a woman whose husband deserted her back in 1901. Researching that post actually resulted in my contacting another member . I told her about the story I was doing on the woman in the story. After she read my post, she left a comment with information about her relative, the husband, and where he wound up, solving a mystery from 110 years before. It was great fun!

Headlines from 1901:
Jennie Lind Lewis, Deserted by Her Husband Dr. Evans, in DakotaWell Known in Spindle City
 (Just click HERE and another window will open up where you can read that story.)

But I digress...One of the great pleasures of doing genealogy research online is that you get to make connections to cousins and other relations you never knew you had. I have "met" many cousins online that way and a few in person. In 2012, I received a phone call from someone who had been Googling her family's names and happened upon one of these Henrietta stories about the Willett family, my paternal grandmother's line. When she found it, the post was probably a year or more old. The thing about the Internet, good or bad, is that once it appears there, it's there forever! This woman somehow tracked me down by contacting my ex-husband, who contacted my son who gave me her phone number. As it turns out this woman, whose name is Pat, is the granddaughter of my grandmother's sister. In other words, she is my second cousin and we share great grandparents.

When Pat and I talked on the phone that summer morning, we shared memories of our grandmothers. I had never met her grandmother, Josephine (Dodie) but my grandmother talked about Dodie all her life. She missed her terribly. She was her older sister who passed away before I had the chance to meet her. Dodie was one of 8 children born and raised in New York City by George and Josephine (Patton) Willett. Seven of these Willett children reached adulthood and I had the privilege to know four of them. They were four of the most fascinating women I have ever met with a love for each other and their family history, who grew up in New York City at an amazing time. But that's a whole other post.

Standing From left to right: Neely, Dodie (Pat's grandma) Millie, Jessie (My Gram) Honey, Lottie. Seated: Bill and wife Mary  

One of the most serendipitous things about Pat connecting with me, is that she solved a mystery about one of my earliest memories. I was about 4 years old from what I can determine and I remember a visit at my grandmother's home from my grandmother's out of town relatives. There was among others, a friendly and smiling man, his daughter in a wheel chair whose name was Judy and a woman named Kitty who wore an angora sweater and knelt down to talk to me. She had the most interesting name from a 4 year old's perspective. As I described the visit and the memories I had from that day, Pat exclaimed that she had been there too! The man was her father, the little girl in a wheelchair was her sister and Kitty was one of our aunts. I have wondered all my life about what became of those people and exactly who they were.

Gram and me a year or so before I met Pat at this same house.
Another story she shared with me was that she remembered sitting with my grandmother at a wedding about 45 years ago. It was the wedding of another of my second cousins, Karen, also Pat's cousin, whom I had  met via and with whom I had lunch one day in Chattanooga in 2011.

As it turned out, Pat had been very close to Aunt Mary who was the wife of my grandmother's brother Bill, the youngest of the family. He lived with his mother until she passed away in 1957, when he finally was able to marry his beloved Mary. That's another story!  Pat was given several things by Mary after Bill died. Among these items were some hand embroidered dish towels that belonged to our great grandmother, Josephine, Grandma Jo. She also has a portrait of Great grandfather George. She shared these photos with me.
Grandma Jo's dishtowels lovingly displayed in Pat's home.

A portrait of Great grandfather George Willett, NYCPD

A photo of our great grandfather in uniform

But in this big box, that Pat had sent to me, buried under piles of styrofoam peanuts, she had carefully placed a vase once owned by Grandma Jo. It was totally unexpected. When she told me a package was coming, I expected a few family photos maybe, but not something like this.

In her lovely note to me Pat wrote: "The vase was Grandma Jo's (the flowers are from me). I think she would be honored for you to have it in your possession. You have done so much to research our (and all the Willett clan's) roots and I can only imagine how happy all of them would be with what you have accomplished. The vase itself is not valuable, but still it was hers, so enjoy it! I thought it only right that you have something tangible from our history. Sent with love and gratitude. Pat"

I will cherish this vase. It is amazing to me that she has kept it so long and is willing to part with it. There is no identifying maker's mark on it. But it is hand blown, and old and I think it's beautiful. It may only be 60 years old, or it might be 100 years old or much more. But it doesn't matter to me. It's so exciting to see something that was hers, let alone have it in my home.

My long lost cousin Pat and her family 

Pat lives in Long Island, not far from where our third great grandfather, Ebenezer Willett, was born in 1798. I can't wait to go visit her next summer when we head north. Maybe I can poke around in the records in that area and see if I can break through that brick wall and find out who Ebenezer's parents were. Pat's promised to dig up some old photos, too.  But, most importantly I want to see Pat again. After all, it's been about 58 years, from what I can figure out. It's about time we saw each other again, don't you think?

Have a great day everyone!

To read about some of the other relatives and contacts I've made doing my research just click
HERE. It will bring you to another Henrietta post where I wrote about some of the other folks I have met along the genealogy trail.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Eight Little Books

I have eight little books, all but one hard covered, purchased or received as gifts back in the late 60s or early 70s with which I simply cannot part. I don't look at them often, but I know they are there on my bookshelf should I ever want to. They probably measure 4" x 7" or so and stacked up on top of each other they aren't even as tall as my coffee mug. But they are little treasures of mine and I like having them around.

They are full of quotes, some profound, some not so much. I have always loved quotes. I frequently use them in my writing for inspiration or to better explain something I just can't seem to explain on my own. I have done calligraphy for years, although not recently, and was always hunting for the perfect quote to be calligraphied and framed. These came in really handy for that period of my life. Before I took any calligraphy classes, when we all had posters on our walls, I would copy the quote onto a large piece of paper and paint or draw the appropriate picture, making home-grown posters. I would hang them in a prominent place to remind me where I was going, how I would get there and why I wanted to make a particular journey in life.

As I started writing today's post I thought I had lost one of these little gems and was surprised how I panicked. But, it was there, just hiding between a couple of larger books and I was very relieved.

One of these little books, the only soft covered one, is called "Grooks". A Danish fellow named Piet Hein wrote and illustrated it. In my dorm room, on the wall over my bed, I had a copy of one of his I'd recreated as a poster. It certainly kept me going then, and often I think of it now when things are not going along according to my expectations.

"Put up in a place where it's easy to see the cryptic admonishment T.T.T. When you feel how depressingly slowly you climb, It's well to remember that Things Take Time.

One of these books is called "You're My Friend So I Brought You this Book". It's inscribed on the inside cover in the following manner: "Happy Birthday Sue Love, Me". I love the book, but I have no idea who "Me" was or is. That's a little sad. Another one which I purchased for myself in 1969 entitled "On Friendship A Selection" I wrote inside the front cover:
"Bought in honor of and with love for: Kim Hansen, Sue MacKinnon, Rob Grabill, Cher Hunter and a new friend and first in OWU, Ed O'Brien. May the friendships of them all be always important and always increasing in my heart."
I know this was back in 1969 because I was a freshman in college and I had just met Ed O'Brien. Apparently I purchased it at the bookstore on campus, probably terribly home sick and glad I had a new friend. I was very dramatic in those days.  I am still in touch with everyone on that list with the exception of Ed O'Brien who was just a cute upper classman who was really nice to me, a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon House, as I recall who I dated a few times and completely lost track of, probably shortly after freshman year. I remember he wore a suede jacket with fringe and had hair longer than most. We had lots of long deep conversations but I am pretty sure he wouldn't remember me at all. I might not remember him if I hadn't written it in this book.

And who could forget Rod McKuen? That raspy voiced guy who sang about Jean, Jean. I had one of his records, I had his song book, and I had this book of his poetry. Honestly, looking at it now, he wasn't much of a poet at all. I was young and if I wasn't in love I wanted to be. His poems were perfect for those dreamy days of youth when I knew nothing about anything, especially love, but thought I was such a deep thinker.
One of his poems: Let me stay more with you. There's so much I have yet to learn. Do you like the colors green and blue. Let me stay a while more with you."   Oh Lord. Why did I buy this book? 

Helene Sherman was a Sudbury artist who published a book called "Words of Light" when she was in her 70s.

She was an illuminator, much more than a calligrapher. Her work is in fine arts museums as well as in the Smithsonian. She taught at Harvard, among other places. She died at the age of 88 in 1996. When I bought this book, I was probably deep into my calligraphy phase. I remember my calligraphy teacher telling me that because doing calligraphy is art and you draw each letter, focusing on the miniscule, you must be very careful because sometimes you lose track of the word you are writing and will make errors in spelling, etc. Helene made such an error in one of the poems she included in this collection but I guess her editor missed it. I love the poem because I am a writer of poetry and I love music. But clearly, Helene lost track of the words and got caught up in her art. Still, it's one of my favorite little books. It just made her more real to me, knowing how easy it is to make that kind of a mistake. I always keep the red ribbon book marker on this page.
"For the Common things of every day, God gave men speech in a common way; For the deeper things men think and feel God gave the poets words to reveal; For the heights and depths no words can reach God gave men music, the soul's own speech." Helene inadvertently wrote the word "say" instead of "feel" when writing about the poets.

Some of these books have notes in them I have written or just an asterisk indicating something resonated with me when I read it. Some have a name written next to a quote, telling me that particular quote described or reminded me of that person. I wrote my oldest and dearest friend's name next to a James Russell Lowell poem:

The years between
Have taught me some sweet,
Some bitter lessons; none
Wiser than this-to
Spend in all things else,
But of old friends,
Be most miserly.

I have a cousin who was the hippiest of San Francisco hippies in 1969. He was an artist, just a few years older than me and he came to my little home town to visit one summer. It was really something at that age to have a cousin who was so exotic. He traveled the country in his long hair and hippie clothes with his dog, Happy, spreading the word about not needing to earn a living or any of that mundane stuff. He was on his way to join a caravan of people of all ages heading to a communal farm in Tennessee the last time I saw him.  He stopped in Ohio where I was in school and I felt like a celebrity was visiting. It was the  "dawning of the age of Aquarius" and here was a guy, bigger than life, and he made an impression on this conservative, sheltered New England teenager. There were a couple of quotes with his name on them, but one that was attributed to Jay Bevins was: "Being a friend to dogs and men is a good day's work." That was very appropriate since his dog and hanging out was pretty much his whole life then. Today he is still a struggling artist, probably qualifies for Medicare, and I bet he has a dog. 

Other quotes were outlined and underlined. Most of them were about friendship and relationships. But some are spiritual about man's relationship with our creator.  A favorite of mine by Victor Hugo is" Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees." I have been there. Haven't you?

Well, I have gone on with this musing, perhaps a little longer than I should have. I suppose I should leave you with something funny. That's what I would like to do, anyway. For humor, I'll go to my little book of Grooks.

Grook on Long Winded Authors

Long-winded writers I abhor.
and glib prolific chatters;
give me the ones who tear and gnaw
their hair and pens to tatters:
who find their writing such a chore
they only write what matters.

Have a great day,


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Babes Without Boundaries or Sam and Ed's Most Excellent Adventure

Yesterday Ed and I went to Vanderbilt Beach, a very nice beach in Naples where we don't usually go, but our friends like it. Sandy called and invited us to join her and husband Ron there. We loaded up the car with towels, lotion, reading material and beach chairs and we headed out. The reading material, it would turn out, was unnecessary.
Perfect Beach Day yesterday, but very very hot.

As we drove the 30 minutes or so to the beach I received a text from Sandy saying that the beach was practically empty, except for one rather loud woman who had chosen to sit down right in front of them. How I hate that! An entire beach to sit on and she and her friend plop down directly in front of them so they can't see the water without having to see them first. And this one, apparently, was loud, to boot. Some people just don't respect that personal space we all require. Space invaders, I call them. 

At Vanderbilt there is a parking garage about a five to ten minutes walk along the street toward a cul de sac where the beach meets a cobble stoned sidewalk and a turn-around and drop off spot. Ed and I decided to schlep the beach bags and chairs and walk from the garage rather than dropping off and driving back to park. As I struggled a little under the weight of the beach bag and the awkwardness of the beach chair, not to mention feeling self conscious in public in my bathing suit and cover up, which is nothing new for this plump 60+ grandmotherly type, I heard footsteps rapidly approaching from behind. Naturally, I stepped aside in order to allow the faster foot traffic to pass.

The drop off area, beach entrance to the left.

I was behind Ed as we went single file and was the first to see the person who was passing us. It was a tall, tanned, lovely young thing in a thong bikini, moving quickly, sashaying as she walked in model like fashion. So fit was she that there was almost no jiggle. I was taken aback because no matter how many times I see a thong on a beach I just cant get used to the fact that someone would wear one in public! Not to mention, she was walking along the sidewalk probably all the way from the public parking garage. Couldn't she have at least thrown on a pair of shorts or something?

As Thong-girl passed us, I could only imagine what Ed would be thinking once she went by him. As he got the full picture of her perfectly tanline-less derriere, he turned to me wide eyed with bouncing eyebrows and a stupid little grin on his face. I expected him to break out singing "With a Thong in My Heart". But he didn't.

Just then, Ron came from the beach in the opposite direction, on his way to get Sandy a drink at the little corner store nearby. As Ron passed by, Ed pointed out the view of the nearly bottomless girl and Ron said  "Sandy is sitting near the entrance to the left. Just follow that girl." Well, that was totally unnecessary to say because even if she hadn't been heading that way I think Ed  would have followed her. I just can't relate to people who are so eager to share their bare naked bottoms with people. I don't care that it was a tanned and toned bottom. It was still her bottom and I really didn't want to look at it. I mean, is there no such thing as modesty anymore?

'With a thong in my heart..'♩ ♪ ♫ ♬.

She disappeared amid the blankets and umbrellas and beach chairs and became just one more of the anonymous people of all shapes and sizes there to enjoy the sun and the sand. By now it was about 10:00 and the beach was starting to fill up, at least as much as it does off season. As we slogged through the sand to rendezvous with our friends, I saw Sandy sitting in her chair with a newspaper held up high in front of her face, clearly trying to enjoy some privacy. But there was a woman leaning over her, sticking her hand out and introducing herself to Sandy. I heard her ask Sandy if she would watch her things for her while she and her friend, an older gentleman, went for a walk on the beach. I thought to myself, I bet that is the loud one she texted me about. Sure enough, it was.
Hello, there! You, reading the newspaper. Can you watch my stuff for me?

We settled down with our friends and wondered out loud what that was all about. I mean, it's kind of unusual to ask a perfect stranger to watch your stuff, I think. And she didn't take the hint that Sandy did not want to engage in conversation with her. Sandy told me that her name was Sam (name changed to protect the innocent). Before we arrived, Sam had also gone over and introduced herself to another couple, trying to latch onto them, inviting herself into their space.  Sandy overheard her say to this couple "Oh, well you can have a sip of mine if you want!" Offering these strangers new best friends a drink from the large thermos mug she was extending toward them. They declined, of course, and somehow were able to shake her off before it got too bad.

Before Sam and her man friend set off on their walk, he remained by the blanket, standing and talking on his cell phone for quite a while. She wandered around by the water, sipping her drink, looking for someone else to talk to. It seemed odd to me that he was really dressed for the street, in cargo shorts  and she in a bikini. Something didn't look right, it was almost as though he really wasn't "with" her-as though they didn't really know each other. But I just dismissed it as they went off on their walk to wherever.

So we chuckled about her forwardness for a while and soon turned our discussion to other topics. Sandy told us a story about the last time they were at that beach. They were sitting near a woman, who they surmised was European from the actions that they had witnessed. This woman came out of the water and sat on her beach blanket in her bikini.  She laid what Sandy described as a tiny hand towel over her lap and proceeded to wriggle out of her bathing suit bottom right there while everyone around her surreptitiously watched from behind their sunglasses or from under the brims of their hats. Then, still seated with the little towel on her lap, she wriggled into a different bikini bottom. Of course Sandy and Ron watched in disbelief (through sunglasses, no doubt). A moment later Ron said to Sandy "Oh damn!" "What?" Sandy asked. "She changed her top, too, and I missed it!" Sandy turned to see what he was talking about and there was her wet bikini top hanging from an umbrella rib. She was wearing a different top, and just beyond the woman's blanket was an old man sitting in his chair, watching her, too, with a big smile on his face. I guess he must not have missed the second act. Sandy and I agreed that was not appropriate behavior for a public beach with little kids all around. I wondered to myself, how is it that she was able to move around under a tiny towel and not be exposed. I'm not sure I could do that under a bath towel, or even a bed sheet!

Back to yesterday's experience. Sandy and I moved our chairs down to the water's edge to put our feet in and get away from Sam's blanket, lest she want to strike up a conversation with us when she and her friend returned from their walk. I think we totally forgot that she had asked Sandy to watch her stuff. Some friend she was! Ron and Ed remained up higher on the beach, discussing sports. We didn't see Sam return from her walk, but they did. They told us that she had kissed her gentleman friend, thanked him for coming and he left her there in her spot right in front of the boys.

Just to set the scene, Sam was in her mid 50s I'd say, or maybe just a hard lived 40s. She was slender, but not a hard body type. She looked a little worn around the edges, sort of tired. Maybe she hadn't slept well the night before. Her skin was very tanned, and wrinkly and she probably spent a lot of time at the beach. She wore her long blonde hair loose, hanging down her back and had on a blue bikini that was a little skimpy, a low rider, shall we say, that sat below a little tanned paunch of a belly. She had a loud, raspy whiskey voice that was not easily tuned out. From a distance she wasn't unattractive, but as Ed would tell me later, close up was a different story.

Sam looked quite attractive from a distance, but close up, not so much.

As Sandy and I chatted in our chairs by the water, from the corner of my eye I saw someone approaching. It was Sam. She was holding one handle of a cammo covered cooler while my husband held the other. She said to me "You don't mind if I borrow your husband for a few minutes do you?" What could I say? Ed just sort of shrugged his shoulders and smiled, helplessly. I turned to Sandy with a stunned look of disbelief and she and I burst out laughing. 

As Sam and Ed walked off toward some unknown spot down the beach, Ron came down and told us that after her gentleman friend left she went over to Ed and Ron and asked if they could help her carry her cooler to another spot down the beach. "It's just down by that yellow building" she said. Ron remained silent and didn't make eye contact with her. Ed, on the other hand, couldn't escape and became Sam's hero, helping out the damsel in distress.

So, Sandy and I continued chatting and laughing about the whole situation, making up scenarios about where she was taking him. After about five minutes went by I said "I can't believe it, they are still walking!" Way off in the distance, we could see the two of them, connected by this cooler, making their way down the beach.  Another few minutes went by and we could still see them walking, cooler suspended between them. By now they were way, way down the beach almost out of sight. I think we watched them for 15 minutes before they were no longer in sight. The gentle waves rolled in and out, higher and higher on the sand, passing our chairs at times, as the tide came in and the sun rose higher in the sky. And still no Ed. 

The people who were sitting near us on the beach and had witnessed the whole thing, including Sam approaching the guys for help, were incredulous as well. "She just has no boundaries." I said. Sandy said "Who does that? Goes up to a perfect stranger and asks them to do something like that? She didn't take the hint when I had the newspaper right up in front of my face that I didn't want to be approached? I knew she was trouble as soon as she put her towel down. Why do you sit right next to the only other people on the beach? And then that other couple couldn't get away from her fast enough. Yes, that's a good way to put it. She has no boundaries!" One woman who had been swimming with  her little two year old and her parents, came out of the water and asked if there was any sign of him yet, and then turned to me on her way by and said "I think when your husband gets back, I will ask him if he'd be willing to watch my little girl for a while!" Of course we all started laughing, and then another woman on the beach called out saying "Oh yes do it! That would be awesome!" Then the woman with the little girl said to us "I asked my father what he would have done and he said  he would have said no. But my mother piped up and said, 'Oh, no he wouldn't!" Another woman said she asked her husband how he would have handled it. "He said he would have told her he was recovering from surgery." Poor Ed. He was just trying to be nice. But, no good deed goes unpunished, as they say. Ed was the talk of the whole beach. and not even there to enjoy it!

We waited and waited and still there was no sign of Ed.  I was thinking maybe there was a pool down at the hotel they were heading toward and Ed went in for a swim. If he sees a pool, he's in it. (A throw back from his pool hopping teenage years on Cape Cod, I think.) Or maybe she invited him to join her, or...well we didn't know what was going on and I really didn't want to speculate, but my imagination was beginning to take off on me. I was laughing with the others about how nervy she was to put him in that position, but at the same time, I have to admit I was a little nervous and worried for Ed. Enough time had gone by that the woman with the little girl had gone back in for another swim and was coming out again when she said to me "We are starting to worry about your husband!" I didn't know what to do and was getting increasingly worried myself. Do we call the cops and tell them my husband walked off with a bikini clad blonde and a cooler and I'm worried about him? That would certainly cause them to put out an APB, don't you think? And then someone spotted him, way off in the distance, heading back our way all by himself. The whole beach let out a collective sigh of relief.

Ed finally made his way back, all eyes on him, a smattering of applause was heard from several blankets in the vicinity. He was exhausted and hot and thirsty and wanted to have something to drink,  go for a dip and then take a nap. But we made him tell us the whole story before he did anything else.

She had made him carry that heavy cooler with her for what he figured was about 2 miles all the way down to The La Playa hotel where her friends were waiting. She had said to Ed as they started off on their journey, "It's just to that yellow building there." Well, there was more than one yellow building and Ed was thinking it was the closest one, not the furthest building on the beach.  At one point on their walk she said to Ed "Are you getting tired? Because if you are, I can just ask that guy over there to take over for you." She pointed to some other guy they were passing, about Ed's age sprawled out in his chair with a towel draped on top of his head, another random stranger trying to enjoy some private time at the beach that she would have no trouble asking. "No, I'm good." said Ed as he trudged along, wondering if that guy would ever know the good deed he had done for him.

See that red arrow? That's where they walked to. Poor guy.
Ed went on to say that when finally they arrived at their destination  her friends said "You should have called us. We would have driven down to get you." Ed was not happy about that. He went on to tell us  Sam was from Nashville and was a carpenter who built sets for movies, the only female in that particular union, so she said. She was the bread winner and her husband stayed at home with the kids in Nashville. Listening to this story, we detail-oriented women wondered what she was doing all by herself in Naples, asking men to help her carry her cooler, but Ed hadn't asked that question. In fact, I don't think he asked any questions. He just listened. She told him the cooler was heavy because it was full of beer, although lighter than it had been when she arrived at the beach that morning. Thank goodness for small favors, I guess. That might account for her loudness and her lack of boundaries, but I am not sure.

After we grilled Ed sufficiently, he made his way back to his chair for a cold drink of water and as he  walked past the blanket where the mother and the little girl were sitting, the mother asked him "Would you mind watching my daughter for a while?" Of course everyone around broke up, including Ed.
Exhausted after his adventure.

The rest of our beach day was uneventful but Sandy suggested it would make a good blog story. And I think she was right. Oh, one more thing. Before we left the beach, we made plans to go to a movie with Ron and Sandy. We were trying to decide whether to go that night or the next when Ed said, "It will have to be tonight. Tomorrow night I am babysitting for that little girl."

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Home Again Home Again Rig-a-jig-jig

We are home in Florida after a long trip and happy to be back. We left on Tuesday morning at 4:30 AM! It was a miracle that we actually got started when we did. We've often had similar plans, but usually 6:00 rolls around before we get going, so we were quite proud of ourselves.

We had plans to make 4 stops to see people along the way. The first stop was Gettysburg, a good stopping place for day one.
Gettysburg battlefield
Our friends from Florida are on an extended road trip up along the east coast to Bar Harbor. Our trips intersected in Gettysburg as they headed north and we headed south.

Karen and Dave Foltz and Ed and I in Gettysburg.

Karen's going to be in Bar Harbor and see puffins before I do! Whaaaaaa!
We had a nice dinner with them in an old tavern, near the National Cemetery, not far from where Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.
Dinner at the Dobbin House Tavern. Very nice.
Then we went on a ghost walk and a tour of a haunted orphanage.

Photo of the orphanage from the 1800s
We didn't see any ghosts but captured some orbs with the camera. 

On our ghost tour, our guide, (standing) while this fellow (seated)  spoke to the ghosts, inviting them to join us.

Seconds later, see the orbs on the guide's shirt, near her right arm? Some say orbs in photos are spirits. Whooooooo.
The next morning we joined Karen and Dave for breakfast at the hotel we all stayed in and said our goodbyes, heading off to Wilmington, NC.

Our son Joey lives in Wilmington and we usually stop on our way home. He invited us to join him and his teammates for their weekly trivia night at the Beach House Bar where a local radio station holds a trivia night every Wednesday. I asked him if he was sure he wanted us old fogies at his local watering hole with him, but he assure us we would be welcome.  Joey's friends were very accepting of us.  We ordered some food and drinks and got ready for the first round.

We did miserably. I think we got 4 out of 10 answers correct. But we started to improve on the second round and came in a close second to the team who won. I mean, didn't you think the animal on the Yellow-Tail wine bottles was a kangaroo? No. It's a Wallaby. I knooooow! Who would have thouth that? But we kicked you-know-what on the third round and swept those other chumps away! We won the whole night's event!

Joe's team. Anger Management, hadn't ever won before. We did help them a little. There were a few Boston questions and some presidential trivia. Ed's a presidential trivia expert. The other teams didn't have a chance!
The team got a $50 gift certificate for the Beach House and a free beer. They then held a raffle and two of our teammates won t-shirts. So it was really fun and they want us to come back next Wednesday. If it wasn't an 11 hour drive, we would have taken them up on their invitation.

We spent two nights at Joey's and then headed to Florida. We stopped in Jacksonville along the way to see Ed's nephew Danny and his wife Lisa, expecting their 2nd child any day. We enjoyed a nice early dinner with them and their 2 year old Zane before heading to our next destination, The Villages.
Lisa, Zane and Danny. (I got this from Dan's FB page. I forgot to take a photo while we were there.)

Ed's brother Bob and his wife Susan live in the Villages and they are always accommodating when we come through. It's only about 3  hours from Naples, but by 8:00 that night we were ready to stop and kick back for a while. It was a very relaxing evening and we always enjoy their company. Maggie gets reacquainted with their cat Corky, although it usually takes more than a day for that to happen. She kisses him and then hisses in his face. He just stands there and takes it. He's very patient with her. But before you knew it, we had had our breakfast and Maggie was back in her crate.
By day 5the crate was getting old for poor Maggie.

The last leg was uneventful, but we were energized and eager to get home. The landscape all started looking familiar as we commented on how beautiful things were. I texted our friend Sandy who told us to eat a light lunch because we were going out to supper that night with them. She didn't really give us a choice. She was so excited that we were coming home! So, we met Sandy, her husband Ron and our other friend Sue from upstairs who ran out to greet us as soon as we drove in the driveway. We spent a couple of hours unpacking and off we went to the 1/2 off early bird special at the Stonewood with some of our gang. It was such a great homecoming.

Sue, Susan, Suzanne and Sandy-Florida friends back together again. Waiting for Karen to get back from seeing those puffins!

Ron, Ed and Harry
My mother always said, as we pulled into our drive way, Home Again, Home Again, Rig-a-jig-jig. It's 60+ year old habit that is deeply imbedded in my brain. Although I don't say it aloud, it's hard not to think it when I pull into my drive way. It's from an old nursery rhyme. Although most people use Jiggity Jig, I have to think it is the New England version that Mom taught us that her mother probably taught her.

My Grandmother, me and my mom c. 1962
I have found both versions on the Internet. This is the most common of them it seems:

To market to market, to buy a fat pig,
Home again Home again, Jiggity Jig.
To market to market to buy a fat hog.
Home again Home again, Jiggity Jog.

Well, jiggity jig, or rig-a-jig-jig, I am home again. It has taken two years, but this year instead of going home for the summer, I have come home after spending the summer away. It is a gradual transition, but I really feel like we are home when we are here. As we were preparing to leave here last June, somebody asked me if I was going home or if I was leaving home. I was surprised that I had to think about it, but when I did I said, "Well, when I am here, up there is home. And when I am up there, I feel like Florda is home." And then I started to think that I didn't know where my home was and it was rather disconcerting.

We had one of the best summers ever, seeing my kids and grandbabies as much as we did. And it was a summer I will never forget. And, I sure do miss my kids and my family and friends up there in Massachusetts whenever I am here. There are times my heart aches for them.

But, now this is home and it's so nice to be here.

Have a great day!

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