My dad rarely talked about his childhood. We knew where he was born and where he went to high school and that he left home right after he graduated. We barely knew his parents and we knew he had two brothers, one older and one younger, both of whom we had only met two or three times that I can remember. I remember us girls having lots of questions about dad’s family and his childhood and when he pretended not to hear us ask we would turn to my mother for answers but she really had very few pieces of the puzzle herself.
One of the times I remember seeing both of my dad’s brothers was at the wedding of his younger brother. His older brother was there with his wife and his two sons and daughter. I don’t remember how old I was at the time nor do I remember much about the wedding except for my cousin Tammy. I remember how beautiful she was and her very long beautiful brown hair. I remember how sweet she was and that she seemed to like me to. We didn’t stay long, a couple of hours was all my dad could take, and we left. I talked the whole way home about Tammy and I asked my parents why I didn’t know her and then begged them to promise me that I could visit her sometime. But I never did see her again although I did ask about her from time to time. Then I became an adult and began to embark on my very turbulent life and I forgot about her.
Fast forward to approximately this time thirteen years ago after my dad passed away. My curiosity was once again aroused about my dad’s life, his family, his history, his ancestry. It was about the same time that Ancestry.com was becoming a big thing and I started to research his side of the family using it. I was making progress however it did not take long for me to hit a brick wall and I needed additional information before I could go any further. Problem was now that dad was gone the only person I could think of who could possibly help was my dad’s older brother. Determined to find some answers to the questions I had, I decided to ask my mother if it would be alright if I contacted my uncle. She had no objections and she gave me my aunt’s e-mail address. Eager to continue I wasted no time in writing to her. A day or two later I checked my e-mail and there was a letter from my aunt offering a few bits of helpful information. But she kept the big news for the very end adding that she had told her daughter about my note and she wanted to know if she could write me. At that moment the memory of two young girls meeting for the first time came back to my mind. I cannot even begin to express my sheer joy and happiness in knowing that she, this beautiful girl that I wanted so badly to know for so long, this missing piece of my heart, not only remembered me but wanted to write me. Of course I said yes.
It didn’t take long for me to find a letter from her in my in box and I read it thru three or four times before I wrote back to her. I don’t remember now what she wrote or what I wrote back, but I do remember that it was the beginning of one of the sweetest relationships I have ever had in my life. We only wrote once or twice and then she suggested that we just talk on the phone rather than writing. As has become our habit, we made an appointment with one another to talk and I remember being a bit nervous as I waited for her to call, but I forgot all about being nervous as soon as I heard her say hello. My mother asked me later if it was weird talking to a complete stranger and couldn’t possibly understand what we could have to talk about for so long. And while the question made perfect sense, the strange thing was that it wasn’t weird or uncomfortable at all. We talked like we had been a part of each other’s life all along and we never ran out of things to talk about.
As best as Tammy and I can figure, we have seen each other face to face just three times in life. When I was born she and her mother came to visit at the hospital, at my uncle’s wedding and once when she and her twin daughters drove a very, very long distance to spend the night with me. However, despite the distance that has always separated us, she has always been in my heart and she is the best friend and confident I have ever had with the exception of my husband. She has loved me for me, warts and all and has held my hand thru the most heartbreaking time of my life. Now as we get older, we joke about being old ladies with blue, very high hair and the trouble we will get into while our husbands pretend not to know us. She has never asked or wanted anything from me but my love. I have two birth sisters, but sadly we never have acted like sisters and live very different separate lives that have nothing to do with each other. But God did join two little girl’s hearts a very long time ago and I could never have a better sister than Tammy.
Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your family safe.