THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY
It is my understanding that just prior to my grandmother’s dying, she told one of her children: Don’t ever let the family reunion die. That was over seventy years ago. The family reunion had been going on for years before that. They have pictures of each reunion. I remember meeting another nurse at EMS when I first started, and through casual conversation, I learned that she had a best friend who was my cousin. It’s odd how these conversations will take odd turns like that. Anyway, Gina, my cousin, and the nurse I had just met had been long time friends and had attended the Jewett reunion each year. I carried the story back to my mother and she produced a picture of Gina, me, and our mutual friend. We were about three years old, sitting naked in a metal tub, splashing each other at a reunion. Now, how odd is that? It seems the term “Salt of the Earth” was coined especially for our huge family. My mother’s parents had twelve kids and if you branch out from there, you can imagine how big our reunions are. My mother’s maiden name was Trostle (pronounced Tro-sell). We have often talked about how rare the name is. In fact, we didn’t know anyone from anywhere that had the same name. I was watching TV two days ago, and was shocked to see that a Chief of Police was giving a report on a plane crash. His name, at the bottom of his picture, said: Kirk Trostle, Oroville, California. I was so shocked! I decided to find out whether he was from our clan. I came in to my computer room to email some of our family, and in the meantime, my husband went to his computer and came to me with Kirk Trostle’s name, where he was from, a phone number, and e-mail address (he knocks me over sometimes – he is the instant supplier of information!) At any rate, I did email him but have not heard back. I hope he will reply.
Anyway, back to what I was talking about: family reunions and connections with family staying unbroken over the years. It gives you a sense of belonging that could come from no other source, at least to me. My aunt is going to be 100 years old in May. Can you imagine what she has seen through the years? I would love to get her alone with a tape recorder the way I have done with other older relatives. The things you could learn would surprise you if you were one-on-one in a conversation with them. Aunt Peg went to work in a factory when my Uncle Deed was in WWII. Many women worked the factories then. I remember her saying to me once that when he came home, she left the job because to have stayed would have made her his boss, and that wouldn’t do at all. I heard her story right during the time women’s lib was coming into its own and I recall feeling it was so unfortunate that she had to give up who and what she had become during that time to go back home and attend wifely duties. Yet, she was cheerful, and told the story without rancor or any regret that I could note.
I remember when I had my first real boyfriend. She was sitting in our kitchen. I must have been fifteen years old. She told me she loved me so much, and I told her she probably wouldn’t love me so much if she knew what I had been up to. She didn’t ask any questions. She just said, “I would love you just as much if I knew every thought in your head.” I remembered that and kept it in my heart. Imagine someone loving you even if they knew every rotten thing you could think as a kid. I am looking forward to going to her 100th birthday party and I want to tell her how much she has always meant to me.
Stay close to your families.