Tuesday, July 11, 2017

those who are gone ...... and those who remain

I recently found someone on Facebook with the last name McCormick. I knew she was a relative somehow since she was a friend of another relative. One who was my mom's cousin. I wondered who she was so I requested to be her friend on Facebook and connect with her... so I could ask.

My grandmother's maiden name was McCormick and she came to the United States from Scotland around 1926. This was the passport picture. My grandmother is the little girl with the bow on the left.

McCormick family coming over from Scotland. My grandmother and her mother and siblings.

Although these people I connected with on Facebook have not been in my life at all in a personal way, I have from time to time heard their names growing up.  Not for a long time, but when my grandmother was alive.... or when my mom spoke of them.

These two women were my mom's cousins, so that would make them my second cousins.

Betty McCormick Wern was my grandmother's brother's daughter. I remember hearing about my mom's Uncle John, but as a little girl I didn't pay much attention and we never got together that I can recall.

Betty and I have recently shared stories and photos and it makes me feel a little more connected to family. She lives on Long Island and shared a few things with me about family history and just some interesting information. She is at this time 76 years old and was eager to answer any questions I had which I found very heartwarming.

Her grandfather (my grandmother's father) died in the Long Island Hurricane of 1938. He was only 45 years old. I looked up this terrible storm and found quite a lot of information on it. It was called the Long Island Express and many lost their lives. I always thought my great grandfather died in a blizzard in New York City, but I found out from someone who knew that he died in a hurricane on Long Island. Not that important in the grand scheme of things I suppose, but the accurate information adds to his life story and the fact that he was a real live person who mattered and was desperately missed... and how everything changed that day for those who loved him.

My great grandmother lost her husband in September of 1938 during that storm, but she herself lived close to another 30 years. 

I wish I knew her. I wish I could talk with her. I know my grandmother loved her and honored her. She had a picture of her on her dresser in her home. One that I remember well. I don't remember the details, but I remember the feelings I had and that my grandmother missed her very much. She died around 1965 and though I don't remember her, my grandmother spoke of her in a very reverent way.

My great grandmother Margaret Toll McCormick. She had 6 children

We also talked about the arthritis gene that is in the family. Something I am probably feeling some of the effects of. Another reason I have stepped up my effort to stay in shape, exercise each day and do my yoga for strength and flexibility.

Probably what I enjoy the most is knowing she was my mom's cousin and knew her as a little girl. She sent me a picture and what I see is what I've always seen in my mom's face and in her spirit. She was a mischeivious girl who was a lot of fun... and loved by everyone. 

Mom is the tallest girl in the back. Betty, her cousin is the littlest girl in the front.

As I learn more about some of my relatives in Holland and Scotland and here in the US, I feel a kinship somehow. I see hints of strong women who endured hardship and yet lived long lives. I feel a oneness and connection to these women who I came from.

Like my great-great grandmother (on my mom's side... her father's relatives) who lived in Holland and died in 1935. She was born in 1849 and lived to be 86 years old even though she lost her husband when she was 43 and was left with 9 children!!

Like my grandmother who had many health problems but still lived to be 71. She loved family gatherings and playing Hearts and telling stories to me when I stayed with her during the summer. 

Like my own mom who loved her family and was taken too soon, unexpectedly, when she was 77. She loved sewing, and shopping, and reading and computers and traveling... and her family best of all. And what a cute kid she was. 

I miss her so....

My pretty mom and her brother, my Uncle Neil

My mom as a little girl

My grandmother and my 4 month old mom

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