Strangers? Friends we’ve yet to meet.

After yesterdays post on communication and the way people are today it seems only right that I make an entry on the lovely people I have been able to contact on Facebook. Many people criticise FB but I have met so many people through it, contacted people that I would never normally have known how to find. About a week ago some new names came onto my page, family names and without thinking I clicked onto them and accepted as friends. Little did I know what I was doing. Let me take you back. As a child I lived with my grandparents quite a lot. They taught me many things, respect, honesty, love and what it was like to know regret. Now these things are a bit of a contrast but although I loved my grandparents so much, I never asked about them, their lives, their childhoods and that is where the regret comes in. I suppose the trauma I had in my life made me self centred and unable to look outwards but oh how I wish I had asked the simple questions, ‘what was it like when you were a child? what are the names of your brothers and sisters? Where are they now?’ So many simple questions and I would have known so much about who they were apart from just being the lovely people that took care of me and two of my brothers. But then on the other hand I would not have had the wonderful experience I have had this weekend.

Ted and Linda are second cousins that I thought I would never know, never knew existed. After chatting on FB we discovered that Ted was in fact my second cousin. Our grandfathers were brothers! It was a strange and wonderful feeling when I found this out and in my head it was to me, like actually making contact with my grandfather. We chatted and Ted called me and we made arrangements to meet. I invited them down for the weekend and my children came up with ‘ but Mum, they might be axe murderers! How do you know they aren’t just people pretending and invite themselves out to people’s places for a weekend away.’ The silly thing  was they actually made me start to think. Saturday arrived and along with the morning came Ted and Lin. Previously I had already had lovely feelings from their chat on FB, the telephone conversation confirmed that I was right, my instincts didn’t let me down. It was just like meeting a relative – silly we were! but it was lovely, the resemblance to my brother in both looks and mannerism were uncanny and  when he brought his photos out and showed me one of his father I nearly wept . There on the picture was a man that could have been his brother, my uncle, but maybe not because none of my father’s brothers looked like him at all as much as Ted’s father did. What I find is sad was that he and my father never met yet they were cousins. So I was at that point able to reassure my kids that Ted was actually a relative. They had left Stratford upon Avon at 3am and so were exhausted by the time we had dinner but never the less after little pauses for a rest we all had a great day of getting to know eachother, more than that we had forged a friendship that had closed a generation gap of around a hundred years. How wonderful was that!

What we need to do now is trace the other siblings of our grandfathers. Already we have found two more sets of relatives  of two other brothers so here was a start, I say a start because it is our understanding that there were around sixteen siblings in our grandfather’s families. So you can see that we have opened up a world of strangers we have yet to meet. I am sure that bloodline and family, no matter how far apart and obscure, is strong and the emotions and close connectedness to my grandfather when meeting Ted and his wife Linda was so very comforting to me. As a writer I can imagine the relationship the brothers had as children but what I can’t equate to is whatever caused them to lose contact with each other. Were they split up, adopted, did war fragment relationships? maybe we will never know. A little detective job on methinks! but at the end of the day, how wonderful would a family reunion of strangers be? Would the blood connections be able to join us across three generations… and don’t forget these generations go back to the eighteen hundreds. I am sure that between us, Ted and I, and any other Okines we have yet to meet, will be able to reunite our grandparent’s families after all those years. That is our aim – to make strangers into friends, but in this case it is relatives.

Going back to the previous blog, what if I wasn’t an outgoing person, a person that will chat to anyone? What if I had allowed the world to make me introverted and afraid to speak to strangers? I am so glad for the life I have lived so far, it has been rewarding and blessed with many things, not many people can say that as they count blessings in concrete possessions or money, or achievements. But I count my blessings in feelings, emotions, friendships, honesty and people that pass through my life and you know? so far I am the richest person in the world for all those friends that share my life path. Here’s to all those friends I have still yet to meet.

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