So many of you have been asking to here the update on what happened after THIS POST. Here you go…
I never quite knew where I came from. Like an awkward silence I wondered who had come before me, if I could be proud of who they were, what my ancestors cared about?
And so I started searching… I was especially baffled by my dad’s dad’s line. As my family tree grew in every direction, that line stayed a mystery. Armed with a Christmas Card written to my Grandpa dated 1985, I sent a letter to South Charleston, Ohio. I didn’t know if I would hear anything back, or if anyone could possibly give me any answers but I pushed up the flag on the mailbox and sent it off with a prayer attached. And than I got the call. Four years ago, while pushing my girls on the swings my phone rang, and my introduction to Marian was made. …Read the full back story HERE.
This last Christmas, I asked my dad to go to Ohio with me to meet Marian. I didn’t really have any expectations. I was just so excited to meet her, Marian is 98 years wise and after 4 years of talking over the phone, email and through letters I would be blessed to meet her in real life!
After a day of traveling, my dad and I arrived in So Charleston at 4:00 pm local time. We laughed as we drove through the small town. We’d been planning to grab a quick bite to eat so as not to show up to the house hungry but there was nowhere to stop. This was a SMALL town.
As we drove down the quiet road of Main Street we found the house! This was the house that Marian had lived in, and her mother Leah had too. This home was rich with my family history and I was being given the chance not only to learn the stories but to stay in and explore the house for 3 days.
All I’d ever known was that I was named after two great aunts. Leah, was on my dad’s side and Remillet (my middle name) was on my mom’s side. Marian is the daughter of Leah.
What I found out… My family is huge and amazing! Pretty much I come from a long line of awesome, oh yes – that’s right! On the first night family came piling in to have dinner with us. There was at least 15 people there, all to meet my dad and I. They were as excited to meet us as we were to meet them which is really saying something because I was like a kid waiting to walk in a candy store.
The most wonderful and incredible part of all of it was how at home I felt. Both my dad and I commented on it over and over again, it was so natural. I didn’t feel like these were introductions, I felt like I was just getting together with family I hadn’t seen for a while. There were no awkward ‘wait to get comfortable moments.’ The whole night was filled with laughter and stories and a little bit of heaven placed on Earth just for us.
The following days were filled with more magical adventures of laughter, love and memories. I visited both family cemeteries seeing generations dating back to the 1800s! I asked sweet Marian question after question, prodding her to tell me more and more stories. Her memory is amazing and I learned generations worth of history from this one angel of mine. In Marian’s sweet way she casually mentioned as I prodded about her own career as a mathematician that she’s heard Albert Einstein speak, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor and then pick it up again as I shrieked and giggled like a little girl in front of Justin Bieber.
We talked about anything and everything I could think of… What her advice was for me in raising good kids, how she met her husband, what the great depression was like for her, what Leah (her mother) was like… What she thought was wrong with the world today, what it felt like to have seen the world go from horse and buggy to orbiting the Earth. What she loved about her childhood, what question she didn’t enjoy (which was “how are you feeling today?”). It was one of the most enlightening and enriching weekends I’ve ever had.
I visited and explored from basement to attic not only the home on Maine Street but also the original home that Leah raised her family in, which they refer to as the farm (bottom right). I climbed up in my first turbine tractor and the tires were taller than me – it was awesome. I learned about farming the hundreds and hundreds of acres that have never left the family. I also had sauerkraut for the first time ever, which turns out to be delicious! Although it might only be because of the wonderful chef who cooked it for me! I’m told the trick is chicken broth, white wine, garlic and onions to calm the flavor. All I know is that I was really nervous about what was piling onto my plate and I ended up wanting seconds!
My trip was amazing! As I write this I find myself putting together all of the moments in my head to tell this story to you. I can’t help but feel in awe over the chain of events. I know with everything in me that Marian was kept here for me. I know now that my deep need and love for family comes from a long line of generations that needed, loved and took care of one another. And most importantly I know that prayers are heard and answered.
I feel so incredibly blessed to have spent this last weekend with Marian,our family and my dad. There is no question that angels were a part of all of this and I am grateful, so grateful to belong to this family! Family is the most important gift we have in this life. Families are meant to be together forever!
How awesome Leah! I did that last year, traveling back to my home town far, far away in Eastern Europe and my mind was blown every time I would learn about a crazy detail of our family past. Anytime I can get a hold of my great aunt, I make her talk for hours and hours about every little detail of our family history (add into that communism and WWII and you can only imagine the slumber party I’d have with her). But anyways, I’m so happy for you!!! I know just how exciting it is to uncover a whole world of yours that you didn’t even know existed. 🙂
Thank you so much for leaving some love Yana! I always love hearing from you! I remember seeing the photos from that trip, it was amazing! So so awesome… I LOVED your last line; ” I’m so happy for you!!! I know just how exciting it is to uncover a whole world of yours that you didn’t even know existed.” 😀