When my sisters and I were children, our father made sure we visited his parents, brothers, and sister, and as a result we knew all our cousins. Our mother was an only child, and while we knew a few aunts, uncles, and once- or twice-removed cousins on Mom’s side, in my memory we were closer to Dad’s side—or at least I was. When my sister Susan died last year, my sisters and I were at her bedside. Two of my sisters, Cecelia and Charleen, proposed a family reunion and I promised to come, since the target date—October 2018—was a year away, far enough in the future that I didn’t feel too committed.
I might at one time have thought about weaseling out of my promise, but never got around to it. Meanwhile my sisters organized the reunion, and a year passed, and a promise is a promise, right? What I didn’t realize was that they’d invited all the Woodford cousins too. And even more amazingly, almost all of them showed up!
The reunion was a three-day affair in my home town, Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I didn’t recognize any of my cousins, save the two I stay in touch with on Facebook, but had a grand time catching up with all of them. We saw Granny Lois, dad’s second wife and the reigning matriarch of our family, and of course spent a lot of time with my siblings and their husbands, sons, and daughters. Politics didn’t come up, which is a good thing considering Cape G is home to Rush Limbaugh and most of my family is steeped in the local ethos (in fact my sister Charlie was recently elected circuit court clerk for Cape Girardeau County, running as a Republican). Here are a few photos:
It was wonderful, so much so we doubled back to see some of my sisters and nieces again after finishing the rest of our vacation, during which we visited the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio with Donna’s sister Georgianna and brother in law Don, who drove down from Michigan to join us. The four of us continued on to Grafton, Ohio, Donna’s home during part of her childhood, where we stayed in a historic bed & breakfast in nearby Oberlin and visited Donna’s 93-year-old Uncle Dewey (who still rides a motorcycle!). Before I forget, here are two photos from that part of the trip:
Saying goodbye to Georgie and Don, we drove from Ohio back to Columbia, Illinois, where we stayed with my niece Michele and her husband Matt. Cece and Charlie drove up from Cape G to spend a day with us, during which we crossed the river to St. Louis to see my niece Cindy in Maplewood. Michele and Cindy are Susan’s daughters, and I had renewed my friendship with them when Sue died last year.
I swore I’d never fly again, but had to fly to St. Louis when my sister Susan passed last year, and it only made sense to fly there again for this trip. We rented a car at the airport to drive down to Cape G and on to Ohio, then back to Illinois and eventually back to the airport in St. Louis for the flight home.
I took a lot of photos, and they’re in a Flickr album titled Vacation/Reunion, October 2018. The photos in this post are part of that album, and you can see them in full size by clicking on them.
© 2018, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.