A few weeks ago, my dad and I attended a family reunion with 100+ strangers.
Let me explain.
About a year ago, as I was doing some genealogy research, I learned that a family reunion was being planned for August 2015 in the town where my mom grew up. The reunion was actually for my father’s relations, but he grew up a couple of towns over from my mom.
The reunion was for the descendants of William Bloom, my sixth-great-grandfather. I knew that I wouldn’t know a soul, but I had high hopes that my dad would find a long-lost cousin there (he had many aunts and uncles).
I also thought that the reunion would be a good excuse to visit Pennsylvania again. I have many good childhood memories of traveling to see my grandparents and great-aunts in Pennsylvania (my parents moved to New York when they married).
We started off the trip with ice cream at 10:00 am. Hershey’s ice cream…
It’s not the most exciting drive, but I relished the journey’s traditions, such as clapping and hooting as we came upon the Welcome to PA sign.
I was saddened to learn that “the Indian store” had closed. It was a shop that sold Native American crafts and candy, and we would always stop there to get gas. I was also saddened to learn that we were no longer able to drive through “Stinky Town,” a town with a huge paper mill at its center. Now the highway goes aroouund the town.
We stopped and visited with my aunt and uncle on the way to check in to our apartment rental. It was great to listen to them talk about people they grew up with. Lots of drama in those small towns!
On the way to the reunion the next day, we stopped in downtown Curwensville. All of the places we used to visit were long gone. Buzzard’s candy store, the Tastee-Freeze. The only shop that was open was the Dollar Store and it was packed.
The reunion was held at the town park. When we arrived, there were probably 100 people there already. As we ate our lunch (it was bring your own) we made small talk with our neighbors at the picnic table. Many people had traveled from other states, which surprised me.
The one descendant to whom we were all related had 14 children. So someone was taking photos of each child’s descendants. My dad and I laughed when it turned out that we were the only people representing poor Elizabeth Bloom. I was glad that we were there to represent!
After chatting with people for a couple of hours, we headed back to the apartment. I walked downtown to scope out a restaurant for dinner. Even though we were staying in the county seat, the place was a ghost town. I saw exactly three stores and a few restaurants/bars. I found a nice-looking restaurant. And I also found this:
Yes, a video store! My dad and I went in and I bought three previously used DVDs. Oh, how I miss browsing the movies at a movie rental shop.
All in all, it was a fun trip and my conversations with some fellow genealogy nerds inspired me to restart the research.
Oh, what’s the mystery, you ask? Well, it has nothing to do with the reunion…
When I visited the Bahamas a few months ago, I was looking to buy some tea at the grocery store. I picked up a box of Twinings “Nightly Calm” tea. I’d never heard of it, but it looked interesting. I ended up loving it.
I’ve been looking for it in stores and haven’t found it yet. So imagine my surprise when I was poking through the bathroom cabinets in the apartment and found this:
A. What is a tea bag doing in a bathroom cabinet with toiletries.
B. What is the tea that I’ve been searching for for months doing in a bathroom cabinet with toiletries.
I do not have the answers to these questions. I took this as a sign of… something…When I came back home, I ventured to the Twinings website and learned that a grocery store near me should carry it. Hooray!
I leave you with a photo of the open road: