I met some relations today. People that I don’t remember ever meeting before. Although that’s not to say I haven’t met them, for a start they are all older than me by at least 10 years so who is to say they didn’t visit me when I was small? They may have.
My day started by me sharing a car with my cousins (who I've known all my life- just in case you thought these were the relations I didnt know). Anyway, we had 40 miles to travel and my younger cousin had made scones for the journey but alas did not bring a thermos of tea. Tea drinking is almost an occupation with me and I must admit I was gasping for a drink by the time we had arrived at our destination. I should have thought about bringing a flask myself but I had spent the morning before I was picked up deciding what to wear. I never quite know what to wear at a funeral but I think I made the right choice today. Sometimes you get instructions 'wear bright colours' or 'so & so wanted informal wear'. But this time there were no instructions so I decided to wear black.
A childminder doesn’t often wear black. It picks up fluff and shows other unmentionable stains. But I rummaged through my wardrobe and came up with a black skirt I haven’t worn in at least 6 years, and a black cardi.
Today’s family gathering was a sad affair. However it was also a celebration, this lady had lived a long, full and worthwhile life. I have good memories of her.
The relations I met for the first time today were – I was going to say ‘like family’ but of course that’s what they were and greeted me with warmth and affection.
The reason I’m mentioning it here is that one of my interests is genealogy which is the study of ancestry, but my interest goes further than just pushing back the family tree as far as I can go in terms of years.
I am fascinated by the people who came before me, who they were, what they did, how they lived and who they married. It’s the nosy parker in me. I get ridiculously attached to these people long dead and search each census with trepidation of what I might find. A child appearing as a baby in one census but disappearing from the next too often means death at a young age. A husband with a new wife and children but missing the children from the previous marriage is also disturbingly common, it often means the first wife has died and her children may have been dispersed among other relatives, or sent to work as servants and farm labourers. They may even be found in the Workhouse. When life seems to have dealt them a raw deal I weep for them even though I never knew them.
Family is very important to me, living or dead. And I can now add faces and personal memories to the names of the people I met today because they are in my family tree, and that means so much to me.