The last week has been a blur of cousins and cemeteries in small towns, which makes sense in my family. My dad’s side of the family has lots of ancestors who were Arizona pioneers and most of them are buried in cemeteries in the southeastern part of the state. My great-grandparents lived in this house just across the state line from Virden, New Mexico during the Depression. The house then was about half the size it is now (and it is a storage shed for the farmer that owns it). That it is still there, almost a hundred years later, kind of amazes me.
Meeting up with my cousins Virginia and Shari in Tucson was great fun, and Shari provided wonderful hospitality at her house, and a fantastic view from their backyard! We all had lunch with another cousin, Jenn, and they tried to make me feel bad because they are all first cousins (and first cousins with my dad) while I’m either a second cousin or a first once removed, we can never remember.
Thursday was the long day: 14 hours of driving and walking through cemeteries in Duncan, Franklin, and Safford. I appreciated my dad’s and grandparents’ old stories more than before, now that they are not here to tell them any more, and I want to learn more about the areas where they lived, so the day was time well spent.
A few years ago I had a friend make me a pendant out of Morenci turquoise, which for many years was a byproduct of the big copper mine there. My dad grew up here and graduated from Morenci High School so to me, it’s his hometown and I like that I have a piece of it.
The day ended on a good note, with the traditional dessert of road trips: mint chip ice cream! (Astute readers will also notice the traditional placemat of a Chinese restaurant.)
Saturday found me on the road back to Breeze and my cousin Suzy’s house, a short drive but a hot one. We retreated to the air conditioned house to catch up, look at old photos and even have a video chat with her brother, who is a volunteer dentist in Tonga. She took me for a drive and pointed out that they have an awesome view of the Chiricahua range, which is certainly true.
That night I slept under a bed cover made by my grandmother, Clara. I had never seen it, or known she made things that beautiful (and complicated!). I knew she made lace doilies but this is a whole ‘nother level.
Sunday, I moved back to New Mexico, three days at a little RV park in Silver City that cost me less than $12/night for a full hookup site, thanks to discount club memberships. Monday and Tuesday were pretty quiet days, a walk into town, catching up on photos from the week, and generally lazing about in 75-80F weather.
Today was both trailer maintenance day and moving day. The wheels bearings got cleaned and greased after 10,000 miles of travel, and they mechanica also checked tires, brakes, and suspension, as well as cleaning and checking the caravan mover wheels. Since I rely on that little device to get me into many sites, it’s a critical piece of equipment for me, but one wheel has been a bit of a stutter-stepper lately. They found what they think was a bad connection and so far, two (one test there and one now at my new site) the wheel seems to be happy again.
Now I’m at another great NM state park, enjoying the 90F temps and wind (always the wind here!) waiting for the arrival of Flat Eliza, the alter ego of my great-niece Eliza in Wisconsin. I expect that next week’s report will be full of our shared adventures.
We all carry, inside us, the people who came before us.