Most people who know me, know that I hate to fly. On Friday last week I got on a plane and flew, by myself to Connecticut. The drive is 6+ hours so this made sense. I was invited to join the Guillet Family reunion, so I went! I stayed at Nil’s Charming New England home complete with pool, sugar house and vintage car garage. When I got there, the yard was already set for Saturday’s event. The Guillet’s know how to throw a party! Big tent, bounce house, corn hole and enough food to feed a small army! Aunt Gloria, Kristen, Brittany, Ryan, Cory and Nil did it right! On Saturday afternoon, the family started to arrive. First was Aunt Gloria, then Aunt Jan, then Aunt Francine and Uncle Bob then it became a blur of Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Nieces and Nephews. The weather was a perfect 68 degrees. Sunny and bright. Some of the brave kids went into the pool. The water was 70 degrees! On top of it all it was Cousin Greg’s birthday so there was lots of cake.
Cousin Kim’s little daughter, Brooklyn had us all laughing when she went into the bounce house wearing her floaties and bathing suit and ran out stark naked! What fun is a family reunion without one streaking naked kid!
As the day progressed, I mingled with family and tried to connect with them all. Everyone hugged me, all welcomed me. I had cards made up for the blog address for those who were not on Facebook. I took about 40 cards with me and came home with none. I got to meet Eric Jr. Eric is the cousin who went to Nil’s house and told him about me. Eric got extra hugs and thank yous! I was also thrilled to see cousin Lisa there. Lisa is an Ancestry match with me and we’ve talked for more than a year. She was working with me and Aunt Gloria to help me as well. What a treat to get to meet them all.
When my Mother’s side of the family found me earlier this Summer, it was joyous. They had been looking for me for many years, and they found me. My Father’s side of the family never knew about me, but the welcome was just as sweet and honest from every single Guillet. I say it all the time but it’s true. I am so very lucky to have the life and family that I have….. then at the right time, this happens. My family has grown exponentially overnight.
The reunion party lasted into the night with a camp fire and fireworks then a few Chinese lanterns went up and we watched them until they went completely out of sight. There are a few name connections on the Guillet’s side. Cory and Brittany’s dog is named Daisy. Daisy was the name of my first pony. I collect jewelry with Daisy designs. It’s my favorite flower, and who could not love a sweet Yellow Lab named Daisy! My Father, Nil, has a cousin named Gayton Roy. When he was here he mentioned Gayton several times. It’s pronounced exactly like our last name, Gaitten. My Aunt Martha insists there are no coincidences. All things happen the way they are supposed to. I believe that.
Early on Sunday morning, before my flight, Nil and I drove about 20 minutes to Ansonia, Connecticut. This is the Town where he met Linda when they dated. Both families lived here in 1965, just around the corner from each other. Nil was about 24 and Linda 20. Nil drove me down the street where she had lived but he could not remember the exact house. My half sister, Kelly had called while we were in the car and she remembered it (it was her Grandparent’s house she’s seen photos). She said it was across from a cemetery. We were definitely on the right street. We went by the house where Nil lived too. The Town of Ansonia is absolutely charming with rich architecture in it’s historic homes and churches. I’m so glad we went.
On the way to the airport, we stopped at Ryan and Kristen’s house for a quick goodbye, then we were off. We got stuck in a 2 mile backup which delayed us a half an hour. Luckily, Hartford Airport is pretty small so I actually got all checked in before the plane even arrived. Once I got on the plane, there was a man sitting in my seat by the window. He jumped up, apologized and moved quickly to his aisle seat. I said “no problem”. I didn’t care if he kept the window seat. I don’t really like to look out. But, he stayed in his seat. We chatted on and off during the flight. He was commuting to DC to catch a connecting flight to Belgium for his job. He asked if I was leaving home or going home and I said “going home” from a family reunion. I told him that I had just connected with my family this Summer for the very first time. Of course, that lead to more questions. I told him some of the story and found one last card with the glog address on it hiding in my bag, so I gave it to him. He said it would be fun reading on his 7 hour flight. When the plane landed, we got up and he said it was nice meeting me and I asked his name. He said “My name is Joe and I’ll never forget yours because my wife’s name is also Kelly”. This is significant. Those who have known me for a long time know that my first husband’s name was Joe and our marriage did not go well.
I won’t bore you with the details. The quick thought on that, if I were still married to Joe, none of this would even be happening. I would not have had the courage or support from him to have started the search or even gotten this far. My self esteem and personal value was so low at that time in my life, I would not have even tried.
Fast forward to 1999 when I married my love, Steve. Steve is my perfect soul mate. He allows me to be who I am. I’ve grown so much as person, just being with him and I adore him for that.
I know how lucky I am. I don’t know if it will last and I don’t know where the journey will end, but my heart is open. I’m going where the path leads, ready for the next bend in the road.
One thought on “Guess Who’s Coming to the Family Reunion?”
Kelly…such a well told story!! It was such a pleasure welcoming you into our family. After meeting you I can say that we are the lucky ones. Looking forward to seeing you again and getting to know you more, preferably on the first tee of some golf course. They say you can learn everything you need to know about someone over 18 holes of golf. Take care. Cousin Greg