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Jibralta
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Anyhoo, back to my story.

Later that day, my mom texted my sister and me: "Yia Yia and Papou moving to their new location today."

I texted back, "Oooh! I was just thinking about that yesterday!"

Then after a few minutes, I remembered the frog, and the old man, and the movement by the cemetery, and my vivid recollection of my grandfather's injury and illness.... Especially the frog, that poor soul who suddenly found himself lost, ousted, in unfamiliar surroundings. 

I thought, Wow, is that how my grandparents were feeling? Were their spirits hovering, disoriented, lost, stunned, as the excavators carved them from the earth? I felt very glad that I was there to help the frog find its way back to the green, and that it seemed so revived once it was restored to a landscape it understood. I hoped the same for my grandparents, if they felt lost.

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A couple other things happened that day which left us sort of feeling good about my grandparents. Small things, but good things. It happened to be our nine year anniversary that day. First, my boyfriend's friend came through with something that my boyfriend has been wanting for a long time. Second, someone left four puzzles in the laundry room. My boyfriend is a puzzle fiend. He puts together puzzles without looking at the box at all. So, this was a great find for him. Those two things made him feel like my grandparents approved of him. Last, but not least, this gorgeous lily practically jumped out and shouted at me on our way home from dinner that evening. I tried to walk past and ignore it, but then I had to turn around -- it was so big and bold and proud and waving in my face. I thought of my grandmother.

image.thumb.png.62d51b54ce33c49017b981171ae6eb45.png 

Edited by Jibralta
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This cracks me up. So many things, but especially the part where they all end up saying, "I don't know about that." That's what I say for, like, everything. I guess I'm an old fogey at heart.

 

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I just got a letter from the car dealership where I purchased my current car. They told me that I have 13 car payments left, and that if I trade in my 2016 model I can get a 2021 for $67 per month less than what I'm paying now. I paid my car off two years ago. So, I guess that means they'll pay me $67 per month for 13 months to turn in my car and take a newer one?

 

 

 

 

I jest.

But junk mail is such an annoying waste of time and material.

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I finally finished The Mammoth Hunters and have started The Plains of Passage. This may be the longest book yet. And we're off to a pretty slow start. But I've gotten through this book before, and I know I can get through it again.

Jean M. Auel is not the most sophisticated writer. But in her defense, I think the main point of these books is to deliver information to the masses. Distilling her extensive research into digestible story lines was no small feat. So, it's not a big deal to me if her prose is a little uneven. The books are still super interesting, and I like the story.

When I finish this book, I'll be on to a book that I've never read, The Shelters of Stone. And then there's one more book after that. I'm excited! 

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On 7/4/2021 at 8:51 PM, Jibralta said:

Such an interesting thing happened today. It was almost eerie.

Backstory:

My uncle (my mom's brother) is having my grandparents exhumed from the cemetery here in NJ, and relocated to his own family plot, three hours away. It's kind of a weird thing to do I guess, but nobody in my family is too bothered about it. People like my grandparents want to be surrounded by the people that they know and love, even in death.

My grandparents really have nobody where they are right now. My grandmother's sisters passed away decades ago, and they are all buried in different cemeteries. I don't think any of my grandfather's family ever came over to the United States. All of my grandmother's and grandfather's descendants (with the exception of me) moved to different states. After my grandparents are reinterred at my uncle's family plot, they will be surrounded by his family. I think they would like that. 

The cemetery where my grandparents currently reside is not very far from where I live, but I've rarely visited their grave. It's just not something I ever got into the habit of doing. I think I've been to that plot twice since my grandmother died in 2001. The first time was for her funeral; the second time was after my nephew's christening, two years ago.

My uncle came up for the christening. It was the first (and only) time he met my boyfriend, Arnold. I remember that my uncle spontaneously embraced Arnold as they stood by my grandparent's grave. It was unexpected, but nice. 

My mom told me a couple months ago that my uncle was moving my grandparents. I made a note in my mind to visit them before that happened. But somehow, I completely forgot. I mean completely

Fast forward to this past week.

My mom came to NJ to visit. At dinner, she told Arnold and me that she'd gone to put flowers by my grandparent's grave earlier that day. She was surprised to discover that my grandparent's headstone had already been removed, and that made her wonder if my grandparents were actually still interred there. She texted my uncle to find out if he'd moved them yet. My uncle said that he hadn't, but my mom wasn't sure about that because my uncle is getting more and more forgetful in his old age (I think he's in his 80s now). 

I reassured my mom that she would see the disturbance if my grandparent's coffins had been removed. But internally, I felt a spark of urgency. I couldn't believe that I'd forgotten all about the exhumation. Obviously, the move was imminent. I didn't have much time left to visit them. 

Arnold clearly felt the same sense of urgency because he said to me, "We should make sure to get over there this weekend."

I said, "Yes, definitely. Mom, I need you to give me directions to find Yia-Yia's grave. I don't remember where it is in the cemetery."

My mom said, "Of course."

Arnold said, "I think I know how to get there."

I said, "You've only been there once."

He said, "Yeah, but I think I know."

But then we forgot all about it.

Today, on the way back from dinner, Arnold said to me, "Hey, let's not forget to go visit your grandmother's grave. Let's make a point to go tomorrow morning."

I couldn't believe that I'd forgotten all about the exhumation yet again!! I said, "Ugh! Tomorrow morning isn't good; I want to get to work early. Maybe we can go in the afternoon?"

Arnold said, "Why don't we go right now? I'm sure I can find it."

I was like, "Ok...." and we detoured to the cemetery.

I thought that if Arnold actually found my grandparent's grave, I would be amazed. But I was definitely open to the possibility. I really wanted to visit them before they left. I knew I would feel very sad if I didn't have the chance to visit them beforehand.... Even though I've already said my goodbyes to them both, decades ago, I felt like I would somehow miss something important if I didn't pay my respects now. And even if I ended up visiting their new resting place, I knew that I would still regret not visiting them before they left this one. 

The cemetery is quite large, so we spent a little while meandering around by car until we got to the general area where we thought the grave probably was. Then we got out and walked for a couple minutes. We found some similar gravestone configurations, and at each of those I found gaps where headstones could have been removed. But none of the sites seemed quite right to either of us.

Aaron definitely remembered a tree... A couple of the locations we visited had a tree in the vicinity, but none was the tree that he remembered. I didn't remember a tree, but I also didn't not remember a tree... It just seemed like Arnold's memory was a lot more clear on this matter than mine was.

In one area, we came upon three bucks grazing among the graves. Each had large, fuzzy racks of antlers. So odd to see bucks. It's usually does and fawns that I see. But this summer, I've been seeing lots of bucks.

I texted my mom as we walked, hoping to hear back from her before we left the cemetery. But she didn't respond. When we got back to the car, Arnold said, "I just need to drive to the gate that we entered through after the christening. Bear with me." I was like, "Ok."

The cemetery roads are quite narrow, and there really aren't any places where you can easily turn a car around. Arnold picked the stupidest way to turn the car around. He said, "Just bear with me. I know I picked the stupidest way to turn the car around. I just need to see. This is going to help me to see." 

I was like, "Ok."

Once he turned the car around, he suddenly decided to go left instead of back the way we came. He said, "You know, I think this could be the way..." I was like, "Ok."

We turned onto another road, and we were both like, "This looks a lot more familiar!" I saw a grave that I thought I remembered. Not my grandparent's grave; just a distinctive name. Arnold pulled the car over and we both got out.

We walked to where their grave would be, and saw a spot where a headstone had recently been removed. I saw plantings and a landscaped border, the way that my mom would have kept things. A couple of cut tiger lilies lay there, stems wrapped in tinfoil with a moist paper towel inside to keep them hydrated. Probably my mom's handiwork from a couple days ago. I felt certain this was the grave.

So, we stood there for a few minutes. I knelt down in front of where the headstone would be. I didn't know what to say or to think, so I just sat there and thought of them, and their imminent journey. I felt glad that I got to visit them before they left, even though I don't know why that is. My grandmother has been gone for 20 years; my grandfather has been gone for almost 40 years. I said my goodbyes a long time ago. But even so, I reached out and let myself connect to them. My boyfriend stood there with me, a gentle hand on my shoulder. 

Then I stood up and looked around at the neighboring headstones. All mostly Greeks. Unsurprising, knowing my grandmother. But none of them are our family. My boyfriend knelt down for a few moments, propping up the lillies. Maybe paying his respects, I don't know. I didn't think anything of it at the time. It seemed so natural. But afterwards, I thought, Maybe....

As we drove away, I wondered if my grandparents had summoned us there to meet him before they left. 

I am glad you were able to say goodbye before they left . Your bf sounds so sweet. ❤️
 

I often see my mom’s parents. They are in the same cemetery as my other son. They both have been gone more than 40 years. 
My father’s parents and my father are in a different cemetery in a different city. I had actually never been there to visit my grandmother I wasn’t there when she was buried because they never told me she was being buried until I was at work. And the last time I was at the grave was when my grandfather was buried what is it …. Maybe nine years ago this coming January. Then I was there last year for my dad‘s burial and again a few months ago. Next month my dad will have been gone a whole year. 
 

 

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7 hours ago, Batya33 said:

I’m reading the new book about   Christa Mcauliffe who died in the Challenger explosion- good so far!

I remember when that happened. I was 10 at the time.

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1 hour ago, Jibralta said:

I remember when that happened. I was 10 at the time.

Wow, I just realized that we saw that happen in class. The memory is so vague now. But we had a TV in the classroom to watch the lift off, and we did start watching it.... and then suddenly everything was just a jumble of information. I know the teacher told us that the Challenger had exploded, but I barely remember that. I mainly remember being confused. I had no idea that we just saw the space shuttle explode. It wasn't like watching a movie, where everything is arranged so that you understand the sequence. There was no dramatic music to indicate a sudden change in fortune.  

I just re-watched the launch--with some trepidation. The explosion is pretty clear. But it goes unacknowledged for long moments. The CNN commentator initially tries to explain away the fiery change in trajectory as something other than the spaceship just blew up. But they do eventually recognize that there was a catastrophe. As a kid, I would have missed that dialog. I really only paid attention to imagery and usually tuned grownup-chatter out. So, I was totally confused when the teacher told us what had happened. But I did believe her.

Everybody was sad about that tragedy.

Do you know the story about the soccer ball?

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Hahaha I've not seen that one. Is it weird that I really want a Fiat 500 dress, it looks great!

I'm only happy driving tiny city cars and need to trade in for something new, had my eye on 500s for a while. An ex would refer to them as rollerskates, lol.

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Jib,

 

That was the first car my husband ever bought me, I was 22 just passed my test it was a Christmas present. Awesome car, totally nuts, definitely Italian! 
 

Hope you’re well x

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Posted (edited)

This girl Hanna called me up out of the blue yesterday and chatted with me for over an hour. I was totally helpless to get off the phone--I couldn't get a word in edgewise.

Hanna is a friend of a friend, not someone I ever really talk to except through group texts. She went to my high school and knows a lot of the same people, but she's three years older than me so I never knew her then. The only reason my friends know her is because either 1) they are a year or two older than me or 2) Hanna dated their older brother.

I actually went to Hanna's wedding 20 years ago, but that was because I knew her husband and was friends with his uncle (they are similar ages (weird family)). I didn't really meet Hanna on that day. But I remember that she looked adorable, like a little bell in her wedding dress (yes bell, like ding dong--that sounds funny but it actually looked really good). Unfortunately, her husband was a dck and they were divorced soon after. 

But I digress....

I truly met Hanna in person for the very first time last month, at our friend's daughter's graduation party. Another childhood friend was there as well, Tammy. I haven't seen or heard from Tammy in 25 years. So, we were all talking. Well, mainly they were talking to my boyfriend, who is also from the same town. He's got the gift of gab. I felt like I could wander off indefinitely and nobody would notice lol. But that's how I like it.

At the end of the bbq, we all decided that we would get together for lunch or dinner. And Hanna went ahead and organized it. We have a date set for September. That was just established on Tuesday. So when she called on Wednesday, I thought it would be related to dinner. But no, not really. There was some dinner related preamble, and then I was strapped onto a frickin rollercoaster of chitchat. I couldn't get off the ride! I've never spoken to her on the phone before, so I was completely unprepared to be trapped there. 

Every time it seemed like a topic had been discussed to the end of its natural life, she somehow segued into another topic. I lost count of how many times it happened. I wondered if she'd popped a molly. I had (and still have) anxiety that she will call back one day, that this could become some kind of routine for her, or that she will expect me to call her

Well, if that's the case, she's going to be in for some disappointment. Sorry, lady. I'm not wired that way.

 

Edited by Jibralta
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Jib. You never heard of:

"OMG there's a tiger loose in Mrs. Jones next door's garden. Must run to help"

Or if that's too much LOL, then go to your front door, ring your own doorbell, repeatedly, and stage whisper into the phone: "The police are here". 

Be creative!

"I had (and still have) anxiety that she will call back one day, that this could become some kind of routine for her, or that she will expect me to call her. "

Doesn't your phone show the number of the person calling you? You simply don't answer at all. Easy.

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1 hour ago, Jibralta said:

I wondered if she'd popped a molly. I had (and still have) anxiety that she will call back one day, that this could become some kind of routine for her, or that she will expect me to call her

LOL I think some people just talk a lot.  She's probably extroverted and dying of social stimulation in this pandemic.

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Just call screen. One time - unrelated but a good tactic - our son was an infant  and I was giving him a bottle.  A really annoying person called my husband. He answered but wanted to keep it short.  So I removed the bottle from the baby’s  mouth very briefly so he’d let our one piercing wail.  “Oh!  Baby’s crying have to go !!!”  Do something similar IMHO

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I NEVER answer my phone unless it's one of my kids, my brother or my niece or nephews. Anyone else can leave a voice mail and I can call them back.

I feel the same way about monster texts. You know, the ones that go on for inches and inches. I see one of those and groan. I think, jeez, now what???!!  LOL

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Yeah, I'll definitely screen the calls. I just hope she's not one of those people who gets upset about stuff like that. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, but what a drag. 

At any rate, I'll definitely be better prepared if there is a next time. Last night, I was totally caught off guard. I don't think I've had a random pointless marathon phone conversation like that in probably 20 years. 

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14 hours ago, Batya33 said:

Just call screen. One time - unrelated but a good tactic - our son was an infant  and I was giving him a bottle.  A really annoying person called my husband. He answered but wanted to keep it short.  So I removed the bottle from the baby’s  mouth very briefly so he’d let our one piercing wail.  “Oh!  Baby’s crying have to go !!!”  Do something similar IMHO

I've used that before!

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11 hours ago, Jibralta said:

I just hope she's not one of those people who gets upset about stuff like that. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, but what a drag. 

Hopefully not.  Hopefully she knows she's like that.  I swear people who talk like that on the phone know when they're delaying you from getting off the call, they just don't care so much (I think their need to talk is higher than their concern you have to go). 🙂 

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Posted (edited)

I've been researching my biological family for a while. I have a fair amount of info about my biological mother's ancestors, at least on her mother's side. 

image.png.5206df3d234d29ece675c3a917c7d530.png

This is my 3rd great grandfather, John. From what I can tell, he is the last of my ancestors to come to America. Everyone else was already here.

John was born in Vaud, Switzerland in 1796 and immigrated to the United States when he was 18 years old. By 1820, John was in Switzerland County in Indiana, where others from Vaud had settled twenty four years earlier. By 1825, John was in Kentucky, where he married a woman named Amy (possibly Anna). By 1835, Amy/Anna was dead and John was in Illinois. There, he married my 3rd great-grandmother, Sarah. 

In 1846, John moved his family down to Texas to become a cattle farmer. At this point he had anywhere from 6 to 9 children, including my 2nd great grandmother Mary and her twin brother Daniel.* These two were less than a year old and in diapers on the wagon train down to Texas. I don't know how pioneer women did it.

John served briefly in the Civil war when he was 66. Being from Texas at the time, he was a Confederate soldier. He was discharged less than a year later. I have no idea why they drafted a 66 year old man.

I think that most of my ancestors that fought in the Civil War fought in the Confederacy. But my 2nd great grandfather, Jacob, fought in the Union. Jacob was born in Pennsylvania in 1840. I have some Quaker ancestors, and these were Jacob's ancestors as well.

Jacob moved down to Texas in 1870 and married my 2nd great grandmother, Mary. They had a number of kids, including my great grandmother, Nancy. This photo shows my 2nd great grandmother (Mary, seated). My great grandmother (Nancy) is behind her on the right. My biological grandmother is the little girl in front.

image.png.97568de9fd95f2fc44a9bf5fac05f56b.png

Nancy married my great grandfather, Charles in 1900. Charles's family first came to Texas from Natchitoches, Louisiana around 1835. Before that, they were in North Carolina and South Carolina. That was in the 1790s, and the records from back then are different than what they are now.

Nancy's daughter Ellen was my biological grandmother. She died about 20 years ago. Ellen married Howard, my biological grandfather, in 1949. Howard was originally from Kansas, but his family was in Iowa and Ohio before that.

Howard's father's ancestors came to America from Scotland around 1794. My 5th great grandfather on his side was from South Ayrshire, and my 5th great grandmother was from Kirkcudbright. They settled in Ohio. That's his paternal line. I think his maternal line came over the Piedmont from Virginia and West Virginia in the late 1700s or early 1800s. The problem is, I deleted that whole branch of the tree because I thought I made an error, so I'm going by memory here. Turns out I didn't make an error, so I'm going to have to rebuild what I deleted.

Howard was a career military man, and moved around a lot in his life. I think that's how he ended up in Texas. When he was 21, he survived a plane crash in Corpus Christi Bay and swam almost to shore before being picked up. Howard passed away in 1995, when I was 18. 

image.png.c9b4240deda801e62648c0b38ab455bf.png

____________________________________

* On my mother's side, twins are apparently rampant. Twins also seem to be a thing on my biological father's side, as my half-sister has twins. Thank god I never had kids. With genes like these, I probably would have had a litter.

Edited by Jibralta
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