Yesterday I mentioned that my father’s whole family came to St. Louis for the wedding of my sister. Today I thought I would elaborate on why that was such a huge deal for me. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about since I was a little kid. Allow me to explain.
Let’s see, where should I start? My mother was the second oldest of a large family from here in St. Louis. My father was the second oldest of an even larger family from Philadelphia. When my parents started dating in the mid-1970s both of their families became good friends. They were such good friends that both families would routinely travel to visit each other. Here’s a couple of fun #WaybackWednesday pictures that illustrate this friendship.
These pictures were from a trip my mom’s family took to Valley Forge for the Bicentennial celebration in 1976. The first is my mother’s parents along with my father’s mom. The second picture is my mom’s brothers along with a couple of my father’s brothers and his sister. They hung out quite a bit in the late Seventies and took a bunch of pictures together as one big family. The most famous was the human pyramid they made in my mother’s family’s front yard.
Both of the families were great friends, so much so that there was even some co-mingling among the siblings. That right, for a brief time my mom’s older brother dated my dad’s younger sister. And also one of my dad’s younger brothers dated my mom’s younger sister. Crazy!
What is important to note is that all of this happened in the late 1970s and early 1980s, way before I remember anything. After my parents split in 1982 and I moved back to St. Louis I would never see both families together again. When I would visit my dad’s family in Philly during summer breaks his family would all ask about my mother’s family back in St Louis. And when I would return from Philly my mother’s family all wanted to hear about my time with my dad’s family. It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I realized how strange it is for all of my family to be friends with each other. I made it through most of grade school thinking it was like this for everyone.
As a kid I dreamed about my father’s mother and five siblings coming to visit me in St. Louis. Eventually I realized that getting 6 adults to come visit St. Louis at the same time was not feasible. But I knew that one day they would all come when one of us got married. This was not the case when I got married, as I had everyone fly down to Florida for my beach nuptials. So instead it was my sister’s union that brought both families to St. Louis one more time. The gang was all together for the after wedding brunch I mentioned yesterday. And as you can see, we left our mark on the sign!
And that nite I had my dad’s whole family over to my place for the evening. It was a real treat for me.
But the real treasure was having my grandmother in town one more time.
My Nana isn’t getting around as well as she used to, so her making the trip to St. Louis for the wedding was extra special.
Having both sides of my family together made for an unforgettable week. So a big thanks to my sister for finally getting hitched and making my dream finally come true!