Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When Family Calls

I hesitate to look in my spam folder, but it’s necessary at times. Though the folder contains a number of ads that make me either laugh or cringe, about once a day I find something that was inadvertently placed there instead of in my inbox.

On Sunday evening, I found an e-mail with my grandmother’s name in the subject heading. I didn’t know the sender, usually a red flag, but seeing my grandmother’s name intrigued me enough to make me review it.

The writer of the note, a woman from Michigan, identified herself as a niece of my grandmother and sought any information I might have on her. Per the note, I learned that my grandmother went to Michigan during WWII to live with an older brother’s family while my grandfather was serving in Europe with the Army Corps of Engineers. Given the timing, my dad and one of my aunts, the first two of my grandmother’s nine kids, would have been in Michigan with my grandmother. I’ve never heard my dad mention living in Michigan but realize he was likely too young to remember much at that time.

My grandmother still lives in the Atlanta area with another one of my aunts and my aunt’s husband. I called that aunt Sunday evening to let her and my grandmother know. My grandmother remembered the woman. I forwarded the e-mail to my aunt. She will contact the lady, her first cousin, directly.

The interesting thing about all of this was that the lady who wrote me had not seen my seen my grandmother since the 40s.

So why now?

My grandmother, a spry woman in her nineties, is the ninth child of eleven kids. However, most of her siblings have passed and she had lost contact with the one still alive, or so she thought. The e-mail brought the unhappy news that her remaining brother had also long passed. The lady in Michigan had been searching for months to reconnect.

I’m still a little amazed by the e-mail. A few years ago, finding my less-than-Internet savvy grandmother would have been nearly impossible. I’m guessing the lady found me as I share a name with my grandfather. Without the Internet, I doubt she would have found me.

I’m glad she did. I hope she has a chance to reconnect with my grandmother. It turns out that one of my grandmother’s best friends from childhood is also still alive.

It’s been seventy years since they saw each other.

That’s an awfully long time to go without seeing friends and family.


Lydia Kang said...

You never know what lurks in the Spam folder. I used to find manuscript requests from agents in there all the time.

Hope they do get a chance to reconnect!

Kathy said...

My husband is one of nine children. He recently found out he has a relative in Florida we didn't know about. We got to meet her a while back.

Walt Mussell said...

Lydia, I would love to a manuscript request in my spam folder. No such luck however.

They will get a chance, I believe. My aunt is making the arrangements.

Walt Mussell said...

Kathy, that's great that you got to meet him. I've always known I had family in Michigan and would love to meet them some day. Don't know if that will ever happen though.