A year ago, nearly exactly to the day, I wrote a rather long and personal post about my paternal grandparents and great-grandparents–the Bollings and the Chambers. From its title, you can infer that there were some unanswered questions and mysteries surrounding these people and their relationships that dated back years before I was born and remained at the time of my post.
The Unexpected Christmas Present
Next, on Christmas weekend 2013, 7 months after this post, I had occasion to update it to say that an unknown grand uncle googled his dad’s name and hit upon my post that was about his father (my paternal great-grandfather Chambers and half-brother to my dad’s mom, Helen). Lo and behold, my grand uncle and his two younger sisters (my grand aunts) reached out to me through a comment on my blog post. I updated my May 2013 post to express my surprise and total pleasure that a simple post uncovered some unsolved mysteries and untold stories for both families who never knew, but always suspected, that the other existed.
Family Members Meet for the First Time
This weekend was a continuation of our ongoing communications these past 6 months, my grand uncle came from the Pacific Northwest to visit my dad and me.
All of us came away from this surreal-feeling experience with a sense that within blood relatives (DNA, if you will) there are innate features, mannerisms, and instantaneous connections that immediately draw you closer to each other and allow you to openly exchange information and stories of family times:
- My dad’s physical features, posture, temperament, and even sense of humor stunned my uncle as he likened them to his dad’s.
- My dad learned new information about his grandfather who was only a part of his life and family until he was 12.
- He also learned about his grandfather from the perspective of a son vs. a former wife.
- Dad and I gained a new family member who we will always be grateful to for reaching out to us and sharing intimate life stories that I believe brought a sense of closure to some old family questions and mysteries.
- I felt deeply rewarded for my many hours and years of efforts into researching my family’s ancestry and storytelling about the people, their times, and their relationships through my blog.
- There were no more whispers, no secrets, a few hardy laughs, and a few tear-filled moments–every moment together treasured.
An extraordinary weekend–one that we plan to repeat as often as possible!