Family reunions are interesting.
As a young girl I remember going over the Illinois/Indiana state line to attend the Mathews reunion. Mimere’s maiden name was Mathews. Even though the large collection of relatives were mostly seen only at the reunions, I went because it was an adventure of sorts. There was a small number of us under the age of twenty.
The introductions were often complex. The elders were better able to grasp the lineage and place me as either Edna’s granddaughter or one of Darlene’s girls. Looking up the family tree was too confusing because Mim/Mina (my great grandmother) had nine brothers and one sister. All of them were old and I never knew any of them. This is Cordelia’s daughter….and her son….this is your cousin twice removed. Over the years, I am not certain if any of Mina’s progeny still reunite.
Every other year during the July 4th holiday is when Eugene and Edna Benoit family reunion gathers. Now, I’m one of the elders. It is easy to relate to those older relatives who would marvel at how much we had grown, etc. I draw the line at pinching cheeks; catching myself channeling the same words once spoken to me.
The younger family members in attendance at the Benoit reunion seem so far removed from Edna and Eugene aka Mimere and Pipere. In fact, none of the young set carries the “Benoit” moniker. My hope is that they, as cousins – first, second or third will grow up and be in touch with their French Canadian roots if only by getting together every two years as family.
The air guitar performance was a non-performance. I was prepared. I had the CD case with me. It was just that; the case. The actual CD was still in Miami in the CD player from my “rehearsals.” Without the actual music in the background, the air guitar is totally silent. All of my rifts and moves would look ridiculous without the “rest of the band.” Besides, the mood was a little off for goofy performances.
Mary, one of Darlene’s girls, Edna’s granddaughter was hospitalized in southern Illinois. She was terminally ill due to years of excessive alcohol intake. Mary was days away of reuniting with the many family members who had crossed over before her.
Three of Mary’s sisters left the Benoit reunion for the four plus hour drive south to say our final good byes to Mary. One of our other sisters had been visiting Mary and would continue to do so til Mary’s final breath.
Life does go on. Funny how that simple phrase rings true when someone close, a sister, mother, spouse, child, or close friend dies. Each person mourns in their own way and then has to get back into the stream of living. There are plans to keep and new ones to make.
Including back on the trail to retirement. My plans included driving to the west coast of Florida with Barb and Alan who flew to Miami with my son and I. The road trip was specifically to look at areas and figure out where I want to live the next chapter of my life.
My daughter is always looking out for me and loves to search for better options than my plan. As a dutiful mom, I looked at some of those houses and areas. The only house with possibility already had an offer on it. The house looked nice but within a block or so, the neighborhood appeared to be less than cared for. Pass.
Some of the other areas were too far inland and too poorly zoned for my preference. I had pretty much decided on living in a 55+ mobile home community. The amenities including active community center, pool and potentially easy socialization appeals to me. They are affordable and nothing like the trailers popular in the 1960s. These are mostly double wides and look more like bungalows.
Not all mobile home parks are created equal. We spent long days driving by or through parks and small towns in search or validation of the nicest location. Exhausting. But I have found “the” place. It is in high demand. At 66 I will likely be among if not the youngest resident (from what we saw). The new young kid on the block!
During my initial web search there were several mobile homes listed for sale. Two days prior to the road trip, most of those were under contract. The only one that was still available is an early model in original condition. The subfloor is soft and the bathroom closets a little on the rough side. The price is too high for the extensive work that needs to be done.
The realtor working with me will be on the look out as will I. I have already found two new listings this week. One has been eliminated because it has no hook up for washer and dryer. I did laundromats years ago. Not doing that again at this stage of life! The other is being held up because of title issues. A strong possibility if it scores well upon inspection.
In reality, there is time to find a home. Narrowing down and eliminating many choices and locations is a huge hurdle in the overall scheme of retirement.