It was a mere 57 miles northwest from Charlottesville to Bridgewater, VA, where I spent 4 hours with Auntie Sue at the Bridgewater Retirement Community in their assisted-living unit.
Her brother, James (my uncle), born in 1906, also lived there and passed away a couple years before Dad. Sue/Susan was born in 1910 and will turn 95 on 6/28/05 (Bennett's birthday, may he rest in peace--oh my, he'd be 57 this year!). Dad (Carl Clarence) was born in 1917 and was only 78 when he died in 1995, so Auntie Sue is outliving them all. Those tough Hart women!
How does one describe her! I'm guessing she's best known for her dry wit. In years past, she'd have us all rolling on the floor, especially with her dead-pan southern drawl. When you mix the drawl with the wit, you've got something you can't beat.
The wit was but a wisp this time. I most noticed her forgetfulness but not really in an Alzheimer's way. Sometimes she remembered I was Boots but couldn't remember my real name. She told everyone I was her niece, which worked out just fine. But she'd first start with, "You'll have to forgive me but I can't for the life of me remember your name!" She said that to every resident who passed by. They'd chuckle (like this happened all the time) and tell her.
She couldn't remember that Nelson was the first of us 8 kids; she had no idea her brother James had already passed away; and did I have any children? etc. She spends most of her time reading, and I wondered if she remembers any of it...perhaps in the moment, which may be enough.
On the way to supper, she suddenly stopped (with her walker) and exclaimed, "Oh no! I believe I'm losing my bloomers!" She then asked if I would pull them up for her. Now that's a memory I'll definitely have and hold forever!
So there you have it. The wee saga of finding my roots in a 2-1/2 day trip. The farthest point north was Bridgewater, VA, 709 miles from home, the long way to Auntie Sue. Coming home without sight-seeing stops was an easy 514 miles, more or less as the crow flies.
Now, after the recording of the events, I'll sit back and cogitate it all. I did see lots of cows all over the place, Nicholas, and thought of you. So yes, now I'll just chew the cud.