piecing it together

I went to Hampton over the weekend, mainly to celebrate Leah and Blaine’s girlfriend Alicia’s graduation.

It’s been a while since I’ve really name-dropped friends here to the point where it was easy to understand who’s who. I’ve known Leah since I was in 11th grade and my social circle shifted. I’ve been acquainted with Blaine since sixth grade and that has now developed into him being one of my groomsmen.

It was a small group of us for various reasons. It’s interesting every time we hang out in any sort of combination. It’s a great, great gift when your childhood friends can grow, change and move away but drifting apart isn’t in the equation. I briefly thought of us all sitting on a deck on a late spring day 20 years from now. It’ll happen.

When I got home, my mom discovered my attempt about 20 years ago to recreate the family tree project I lost that also included all of my grandmother’s siblings. With what I have now, I think I can collaborate with one of my cousins and get it back together. The biggest thing that’s missing is when my great- and great-great-grandparents married, were born and died and, most importantly where they lived. My great-grandfather on my mom’s side owned a farm in what is now the city of Chesapeake that he had from at least the turn of the 20th century. I know the names of his wife’s parents but that’s it. We have several problems: Grandma’s homestead was near the border of two jurisdictions, both of them had multiple courthouse fires and there’s also a chance that my great-great grandmother, whose married name was Armentress Trotter, came from James City County or Charles City County, which is a nearly 70-mile trek at a time when there wasn’t a proper bridge across the James River east of Richmond (in the 1870s or so).

In addition, in looking at my grandfather’s discharge papers from World War I, he was stationed at Camp Upton, New York. From what we know, his family was from what is now the city of Suffolk and his parents moved to Hampton. At some point, his two sisters moved to Asbury Park, New Jersey, together. My grandparents visited them and Atlantic City until the late 1940s or 1950s. One of my great-aunts has an unusual last name and I’m certain everyone with that name in Monmouth County is my cousin.

I have some work to do.

There are some times when dwelling in the past is a good thing.

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