Tag Archives: family tree

Thanks to Serendipity, Another Leaf is Added to the Tree

Last week, a friend went to Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore and stayed at an inn for a few days and met the couple who was running the inn while the owners slipped away to to a Jimmy Buffett concert across the

My aunt, uncle and grandmother in my great-grandmother's backyard. South Norfolk, 1940s.

My aunt, uncle and grandmother in my great-grandmother’s backyard. South Norfolk, 1940s.

Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach. After my friend learned the wife grew up in South Norfolk, she told her of my novel, Cooley & Rose, which begins and ends in her hometown.

The substitute innkeeper downloaded the e-book and immediately read it. What follows is a portion of the email she wrote to my friend.

“Just finished reading Cooley & Rose. I love it and imagined the place she wrote about to be places from my childhood. My sister did the same. She even mentioned a Mrs. Dowdy being “saved.” That was my maiden name, and my great grandmother was extremely religious . . .”

If you think this is a shameless plug for Cooley & Rose, you’re only half right. There’s a story here.

Because I thought the reader would be interested, I wrote her the following:

“I think that your religious great-grandmother was probably the woman that my grandmother referred to as “Sister Dowdy.” I don’t think I ever met her, but my grandmother talked about her often, and the name stayed in my mind for all of these years. I liked the sound of “Dowdy,” so I used it.”

I went on to give her some of my family background – the names of my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my great aunt and her husband who was the local pharmacist.

She replied to my email. The first line read, “I think we are related!” Then she told me why. In short, our great-grandmothers were sisters. As adults, they lived only three houses away from each other.

Now, I also have unknown cousins on my mother’s side, and only the Chesapeake Bay separates me from this one, whom I hope to meet soon.

What I haven’t told her is that about 15 years ago, my HOBL and I went to the town where she lived and looked at property, and we came across a charming old brick church that was for sale. In my mind I began envisioning it as a house, then as a home, but my HOBL nixed that idea when he learned that the town didn’t have a clay tennis court.

If it had, my new cousin and I might have discovered each other sooner.

cover final 3-2-13NOTE: Goodreads.com is giving away three paperback copies of Cooley & Rose. Deadline to submit our request is Sept. 15, 2013. Paperbacks are for sale at Amazon.com, and e-books are available for all readers. Visit your favorite online store.

I’m Dating My Cousin and Other Near Truths

The Tour of the Unknown Cousins has started, and, as I admitted via FB to the cousin I will meet first, I’m both family-tree-printableexcited and a bit nervous.

Becky said that she was, too, and likened us to couples who meet on Match.com or some other online dating service, learn about each other through emails and a couple of phone calls, and then come to the big day when they face each other across a cup of coffee. The only difference is that we will be drinking wine. And we’re both fifty-something women.

Of course she’s right, which calmed me until on the hottest day of this year I went for a haircut and left the salon looking like a Marine two weeks into a civilian-transition program. Lucky for me, my hair grows quickly, but four days isn’t enough time to look like someone whose head wasn’t recently shaved to stave off lice. And more than one cousin wants to take pictures, which I’m dreading because vanity is part of my DNA.

But as my dear father says way too often, “It is what it is.” I normally adjoin this with, “Until it isn’t,” but I can’t say that now.

So I’m on the road, first stopping in Clayton to visit the cousins I’ve known since birth before proceeding on to Wilmington for a one-night stand with my HOBL, then onto Holden Beach to meet the first of my unknown cousins, and, at last, Winston-Salem where I will meet a whole slew of kin. I’m not even there yet, but as you can read here, as I leave my military hometown full of more Yankees and Midwesterners than Southern natives, my speech and syntax are changing. I feel a “y’all” coming on, which is a comfort.

Stay tuned, because in addition to this, three of my family members have taken DNA tests, and archival research by my older brother has turned up some interesting finds.

Early in life I was told our family was descended from German royalty, which was not true, and those of you who read this blog, know that for many years I falsely believed (and) hoped) I was the daughter of Elizabeth Taylor.

The truth is a lot stranger.

By the way, my novel, Cooley & Rose, is available in paperback from http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Cooley+%26+Rose and as an e-book for all types of readers. Both are now on sale. Either would make a fine birthday present, Fourth of July hostess gift, a Labor Day beach read. Plan ahead; buy now.