Monday, January 18, 2010

weather and family

Well, "a little under the weather" has turned into a bit more like a hurricane. I am sick.Bronchitis again. But happily, it is the first time I have been sick since May, and with my track record, that is fabulous. I'll take it. One bad spell. I'm waiting it out, hoping my body and the various supplements will put up some kind of a fight. I'm rooting for the C and D combo.

Changing the subject -- back to Arcata and funerals and such...

My aunt who passed in November, I think I mentioned, was a genealogist, even before computer databases were easily accessed. She had populated with much of our family tree, both of her sides, her husband's side and my father's end of things. It is difficult to tell this story without some kind of a recap of who's who, and that will take a minute. Bear with me. I'll limit it to one side for now.

There were four Forster children: my mother, her sister (the one who just passed) and two brothers. Both uncles were interesting: one a Marxist, the other schizophrenic. The Marxist had one child, Darla, who I knew when she was tiny, but family fracturing being what it was in my family, I'd heard nothing from or about her since she was about four years old.

Well, one of the grandsons decided to pick up where my aunt, his grandmother, left off, and after the funeral, he took a bunch of information and entered it into the database at

So... a few weeks pass, and one of the cousins gets this email from Darla asking are we who she thinks we are. We are. So, long story long, she lives five minutes from me and we decided to get together for dinner.

So... good for the internet. Good for the mormons. (who run the database, I'm assuming.) She seems like family. We seem to have alot in common. She loves camping and she knows all the stories about her end of the famly and why things were the way they were and went the way they went, from a Marxian-schizo perspective. She knows, for instance, that my uncle stopped drinking port and started eating a little bit of dirt each day in penance to remember how much he loved god. This, clearly, was not the Marxist. Anyone listening to talk radio back in the sixties and seventies would have remembered him. He was an opinionated man.

It is always fascinating to me how truly fractured a close family can become, and even so, no matter the disconnect, how much family is still just family. Darla, (which is not her name, but in fairness, why would I drag her into this mess?) is a manic gardner and understands that there are many shades of not-quite-white, and the difference between purple and, say, periwinkle or cornflower. My husband kept saying at dinner, "She's just like you." We were both nervous, Darla and I, that we would have nothing in common, that our husbands would feel alienated from this happy little reunion. Turns out they both fish and were able to talk about that while we started catching up.

So, we shared old photographs (you know how I am about those things) and in among the bad Kodak shots was one of my grandmother sitting in the east-facing window with her dog on her lap and my mother's african violets sitting in the window. Seeing those small pots of flowers in a winding wrought-iron stand, a fixture of my childhood, was like reaching back forty-seven years in time. I could feel the velvet of their petals, hear my mother telling me they don't like to be touched. My grandmother, my favorite person in the whole of my life, was sitting in the corner just where I'd left her.

So we will try dinners, and camping, and maybe knitting the clan back together in a few odd places.


Kristiana said...

wow, what a great story!

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