by Pa Rock
When I called my Aunt Mary a few weeks ago to tell her that I was driving out to San Diego, almost the first words out of her mouth were, "You have to see the girls while you are here." The "girls," my cousins Janet and Linda, are native Californians that I hadn't seen in half a century.
The last time that I was in San Diego was in June of 1958. I can remember the month because Janet celebrated her 10th birthday while were were there. I remember our combined families going to a pizza parlor (pizza was new to me at the time) where we watched pizza artisans toss and twirl their dough in the air. Janet and I were getting ready to go into 5th grade, and Linda, I believe, was probably in junior high or starting to high school. Their father, my Uncle Wayne Macy, had died of leukemia the previous year.
That trip was the last time that I had seen Linda. She had gone on to become a very successful teacher with daughters and grandchildren. Janet came to Noel the following summer, 1959, and I had not seen her since then. So my trip to San Diego was going to allow for some major catching up!
We planned on meeting at a certain restaurant in Old Town on the Saturday preceding Mother's Day. I got there early and staked out the restaurant that was unfortunately closed for remodeling. Linda was the first of her group to arrive. I had planned on being with my friend Andy, but she had gone off with some of her friends on another adventure, so I was a single for the day. Linda and I walked past each other a couple of times. I had an inkling that she might be one of my cousins, but wasn't forward enough to ask. She, of course, was looking for a couple.
Then I watched as this blond lady joined several others near the restaurant, and immediately recognized Aunt Mary, whom I have seen several times over the years. She was accompanied by Janet and Janet's husband, Michael. They were a warm and happy group - just what you would expect with family!
We had a very nice lunch at another Mexican restaurant and compressed fifty years into a couple of hours. I talked about my children and passed around a few pictures, and learned about their families. Michael has been a professional musician, and he and Janet are talking seriously about moving to the Ozarks at some future time and living in the Branson vicinity.
My lasting impression of that brief meeting was that Aunt Mary had raised two wonderful girls. Although I only knew my Uncle Wayne briefly, I know that he would have been very proud to see how well they turned out. Now that I know my California relatives better, I plan on visiting again. You can't do better than family!