A Reunion in Pennsylvania
Oxford Travel Blog› entry 9 of 24 › view all entries
I enjoy researching and unraveling family history as a passtime. But, I've been largely out of contact with my remaining extended family for many years. So, when I Susan and I received and invitation to attend a family gathering in celebration of a cousin's 50th birthday, I was delighted to accept! The gathering was to be at their new home in Pennsylvania's Brandywine Valley. Road trip!
This had its beginning in fall 2008 when Judy, my 2nd cousin, called to say she and her husband, Jack, were visiting Washington, DC. I'd last seen them in 1995. We arranged a meet-up and caught up on family happenings. Among those, their son, Jack jr., and his family were soon to return to the USA after having been posted in Germany for neary ten years. Jack jr. is also into family history and he and I had exchanged emails and information before they left for Germany.
So, Susan and I headed up to southeatern Pennsylvania on Saturday morning. The trip up I-95, past Baltimore, over the Susquehanna River, and then north along US Highway 1 took a little over 2 1/2 hours. We arrived about 1:30 p.m. Jack jr. and Ellen live near Oxford, PA, in an attractive rural area before the outer suburbs of Philadelphia begin. There are still working farms here. Relations came in from California, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pittsburgh, the original center of the family. (Thus it was appropriate we met in Pennsylvania, albeit on the opposite end of the state.) Judy and Jack were there as were her sister and first cousins. I had met them before, but it was decades ago. We quickly renewed our acquaintences. I had the chance to meet Jack jr's brother, sister, son, and daughter. There were also members of Judy's father's and grandfather's families present and it was a pleasure to meet them.
Those present who were members of my family, my cousins, have one of my grandmother's two sisters as a common ancestor. (I'm the only one from my grandmother's side.) I brought a collection of vintage family photos that included members of my immediate family and theirs going back to 1921. They had not seen many of the photos before and I think everyone enjoyed going through the photos. We were able to identify a few mystery people, but two remained unknown. It was remarkable how we all knew about one another, yet had not met in years. (My grandparents moved to California in 1924. My grandmother kept in touch with her two sisters in Pennsylvania via letters over the decades, but visits were infrequent.)
Ellen had prepared a wonderful buffet lunch for the gathering. We all enjoyed a selection of meats, salads, and vegetables while continuing to catch up and learn of everyone's current activities. By early evening it was time to say good-bye. I certainly hope I'll be able to stay in touch and see my cousins again before too many years have passed!
Susan and I headed north a short ways to Kennett Square, PA, where we spent the night. Rain the next morning prevented us from seeing much of the town. There are historic DuPont hosues and gardens nearby, so we'll plan to come back to see those.