Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Travels with Cath Part I

Well, here I am in good old NJ again. And it’s raining. But then, it seems to be raining everywhere right now (they tell me it’s raining at home in Idaho, too -- when it’s not snowing, that is).

The plane ride was uneventful – no massive amounts of turbulence, no screaming children sitting behind me (or even anywhere near me, for once). I watched the movie, Marley and Me, without sound. I have a hard time hearing through those airline-purchased headsets, plus they hurt my ears. As it turns out, this was one movie where I’m glad I couldn’t hear the dialog -- because I cried a wee bit at the end anyway. If I’d actually heard the actors speaking the story, I think I’d have been bawling copiously and loudly, which would have been embarrassing on a plane full of people in business suits.

I’d like to hug my own dear pup right now, but my arms don’t reach 2,000 miles. If you see Marley and Me, make sure you can get at your own dog when the movie is over – you WILL want a canine hug.

Had dinner with a long-lost niece (long story – too long for this blog), which I enjoyed immensely. She’s bright and engaging and very articulate. AND… she is the one other person in the family who chews on the inside of her cheek, just like I do.

On the way to dinner I stopped by the family cemetery in Tennent (at the Old Tennent Church). I know my Dad isn’t really there, but it’s nice to stop by his headstone and say hello. One of my cousins tends the family plot and it is looking quite lovely right now -- even in the rain -- with the daffodils in bloom.

While there I checked the death date of my great-great-grandfather, Alexander Trotter. I’m working on the family history and trying to fill in all the puzzle pieces that I can. His wife, my great-great-grandmother Annie (Anna) J. Collins, must have been a pretty terrific woman because at least two of her granddaughters were named after her; one went by the name Annie and the other was known as Ann – but both were named “Anna J.” I knew one of them as my “Aunty Ann.”

Annie and Alexander were immigrants from Ireland in the 1850s. I wish I knew more about their Irish roots, but so far I’ve been stymied in that search.

Their daughter, Sarah, was my great-grandmother. She’s the one whom I most resemble, by the way. Her nickname in the family was Sadie, and that’s a name you almost never hear anymore. Judging from Sadie’s little autograph book (which is in my possession), she was a pious woman from a pious family, with a pretty good grasp on a true Christian faith. I’d liked to have known her, I think. She birthed seven babies, one of whom was my grandfather. She died in 1945, as WWII was coming to a close, and I’m guessing that my grandfather probably missed her funeral since he was in Europe for most of the War. He probably missed his father’s funeral, too, for the same reason – William Henry died in 1943 and Grandpa was already in Europe by then. Sadie and William Henry are buried in Tennent, in a large plot that was reserved from the farm they deeded over to the Cemetery Association. I believe that farm actually belonged originally to Alexander and Annie Trotter, although I don’t yet have proof of that (am working on it).

I won’t be home for another 10 days, so the next blog update will also be from “the road.” ‘Til then….


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