Friday, June 1, 2012

Have We Met Somewhere Before?

We've all had that moment.

You KNOW you've seen THAT person somewhere before.

It's almost always an overwhelming event.

In a nutshell, that's how the last few days have been for me. Only it's been on a repeated basis.

Let me start by giving you some background.

There have been many times I've written about my family here on the blog. Some of them are still with us, others have been called on by the Lord.

Most of the time I'm sentimental about them.

There has been the occasional rant, but mostly fond memories.

A few weeks ago I received an email from my cousin Rick. He informed me that our second cousin Beth and her father Doug were working on the "Family Tree". Rick told me that he'd given Cousin Beth my email address.

I had no problem with that. The prospect of hearing from Beth and her father made me happy. I hadn't seen Cousin Doug since my mother's funeral. Heck, I hadn't seen Cousin Beth since she was a toddler.

The way I figured it, we were all overdue.

Cousin Beth and I exchanged a few courtesy emails regarding "Family Tree" matters. In one of those I invited her to join Christine and I at Delaware Park for the opening day of the 2012 thoroughbred horse race season.

Christine and I picked her up at her apartment.

It was QUITE clear we were kin. She favors her father, who favors his father, who favors his father and my father.

That's a lot of favors.

Beth and I traded family stories. Christine passed the time cashing in winning race tickets. It was a nice day and gave us the chance to make some plans to work together on the genealogy project.

That night I reported back to my Cousin Rick about the afternoon. He was pleased about the whole thing. He invited Christine and I down for a visit later in the week. He had something for me to see. I said, "Sure." and the date was set.

What he had for me to see nearly knocked me off my feet. It was boxes and boxes of old family pictures, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and programs from various family members both immediate and extended.

"Do you think you, Beth, and Doug could come down soon?", he asked. Continuing on he said, "I think this might help."

I called Beth as soon as I got back to Christine's house. We coordinated a date good for Beth, Rick, and I.

That was this Wednesday past.

WE spent two hours going through three very large boxes. We were able to fill in a number of blanks going back four generations via photographs.

Cousin Beth and her father had already done an impressive job on the information research already. They had taken several trips.They reviewed old church records. Scoured county records. Went to old addresses. Traipsed through old cemeteries.

It was a rock solid foundation of names, dates, locations, and in many cases pictures of tombstones.

My hat's off to Cousin Doug and Cousin Beth. Awesome job!!!!

Now Beth and I (courtesy of Cousin Rick) had some of the faces. She scanned the pictures and took them home to edit.

Yesterday they were posted.

Here's a few:

Henry Hampton Phillips. This fellow is my great grandfather. He lived from 1878 until 1930. Henry was an oyster schucker by trade in/near Cambridge, Maryland.

This handsome young fellow is my paternal grandfather, Richard Blocksom Walker circa 1902. Besides being a USN veteran from World War One, he was an executive for the Sinclair Oil Company (now called BP). "Pop Pop", as us grandchildren called him, passed away the day of my Confirmation in the Catholic Church.

This lovely couple is my paternal grandparents. Priscilla Walker (nee Phillips) and the now grown Richard Blocksom Walker. If I had to guess the year it would be right around 1942. Both my father, and his brother Henry Robert "Bobby" Walker were serving in World War Two. We have other pictures, not yet posted, showing them on furlough (prior to deployment). "Nonnie" and "Pop Pop" look very similar in the pictures with their boys.

Dad and Uncle Bobby weren't the only family members serving in the war. The beautiful bride on the left is Alice Elizabeth Elliot (nee Walker). She's my Dad's younger, and Uncle Bobby's older, sister. The man on the right is Lt. Joseph Richard Elliot. This picture was taken at the Chapel at West Point. Uncle "Dick" served in the Army Air Force, flying P-38 fighter aircraft. Sadly, he would perish in 1945 shortly before to end of the war in Europe.

Honestly folks, this has been a moving experience for me and we're just getting started.

I'm finding people I never knew.

I'm rediscovering people I haven't seen in a long time.

I'm getting to see and talk to people I have always loved, but have been too far removed from for too long.

Cousin Doug, Cousin Rick, and Cousin Beth.....I thank you with all my heart.

Love, Mike

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

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