Last Thanksgiving we went camping with my hubby’s oldest daughter, her husband, and their two kids. We planned to cook a turkey with all the fixings. It was a great plan and as I look back now I wonder if I stepped into the Twilight Zone.
The day was warm and the geology of the Owl Canyon Campground was glowing in the early morning sun. Kim came back from the hike before the others and I filled her in on my journey through Dad’s letters. I noticed that on my father’s VE-Day roster was a man who had the same last name as Tim, her husband. I said “Wouldn’t it be funny if this man is Tim’s relative. Where is his family from?” Nebraska she said and I thought “Wow that would be really weird as this man is also from Nebraska.” We both laughed.
When the rest got back from the hike and were resting up I yelled out of the motorhome to Tim, “Hey Tim, where is your family from?” “Cozad, Nebraska” was his reply. My chin hit the ground. My great-grandparents, both Dads maternal and paternal families homesteaded in Cozad back in the late 1800’s. Now mind you Cozad may be a bit bigger these days but not back then. I had just entered The Twilight Zone.
So I asked him what name was the family that was from there and he told me. It was not the name of the man in Dad’s unit but was it one in my family tree? No way! This is just a coincidence. But how many people can actually say their families came from Cozad? Since I had my computer with me and my PAD file with my father’s family tree is on it I pulled it out and looked up the last name of his great-grandmother. There were 25 people in my tree with that last name. Now they had to pick me up off the floor. We searched my tree for other family names he remembered and some of those were there. By the end of the weekend my grandson was calling me “grandma slash cousin.” We left promising to get in touch with our family historians and see what comes out of it.
When I was home my historian referred me to a piece that was written by one of the family called “My little house on the Nebraska Plains.” It was in the files I had on the disk which came with the tree files. I had read this piece many times as the author really told some great tails about growing up as a homesteader. I was familiar with it but went back and reread it again. There at the top was the author’s name. It was Tim’s great-grandma.
To say I am blown away would be putting it mildly. I had to look at how we had both come to be at that campfire so many years later. Tim and I both grew up in Southern California him in Orange County and me in the Los Angeles Basin. I met my hubby on a 4×4 trip I was leading in the California desert. Tim met and eventually married my hubby’s daughter, making me his step-mother-in-law/cousin. What are the odds?
But wait there is a bit more. I friended Tim’s uncle on Facebook and my sister-in-law (She married my brother) noticed his name. She called me one day asking how I knew him. When she told me the name I had to think because I had not yet talked to him. “How do you know “So and So?” I sat down and explained the campfire journey. She was blown away at Tim being our cousin. Quite a while later she tells me, “Here is the thing, “So and So” and I grew up together and he was one of my dearest friend. I lost touch with him when he moved to Oregon.”
Could it get any weirder?