On August 22nd, we started out our 11 day trip with a red-eye leaving Redmond, Oregon at around 8:30pm. We flew from Redmond to San Francisco. We had close to a 2 hour lay-over and then it was off to Dalles Texas. After a few very long flights and not much sleep, we finally arrived in Washington/Dullas, rented our electric Toyota Prius, and off we went to Grandmothers house…. over the river the thru the woods…. to Charlotte Court House Virginia.
Rather than taking the main highway to Charlotte Court House, we took back roads. They took only a little bit longer, but driving these back roads we were able to see so many beautiful and old plantation houses. You would see these lush rolling hills… absolutely beautiful, and then you would come around a corner or huge tree and there would be this giant white plantation house with 3 story tall white columns in the front sitting up on the top of this hill. Beautiful really. I bet that old house has some great stories to tell!
We arrived at Grandmothers house at about 5pm. As soon as I get out of the car and she sees me, she tells me I look so much like my mother- which I think pleases her from the smile on her face. I know I look a little like my mother, but I guess I never thought I looked a lot like her.
Now- I have to tell you Grandmothers house may be like other grandmothers houses with dolls, doilies and silk flowers everywhere, but I bet most other grandmothers don’t have bugs in their houses. And I am not talking a few bugs here or there, I am talking ALOT of bugs.. german roaches really. I have not seen so many bugs in my life. You walk into a room and they would scatter to the far corners. Kerry and I wondered at first if grandmother knows she had that many bugs, but surely how could you not? And the answer is.. yes she knows.
Don’t get my wrong- she is the sweetest grandmother, and she even has the cutest glamour shot photo of herself in the hall way. But my experience growing up in Oregon was for the most part.. aside from mosquitos, bug free.
During our visit to Virginia, we spent time between grandmothers house, and my Uncle Jimmy’s house- he lives in Newport News, Virginia, and works at the ship yards. He builds and repairs engines/boilers in aircraft carriers and subs for the military. A great job for a place like Newport News, that’s for sure, but those ships/subs get very hot during summer when they are dry docked- with no A/C. Yikes!
One of the important things I wanted to do while in Newport News is visit my mothers grave since I did not attend her funeral service. So My Uncle Jimmy, Kerry and myself set out one hot afternoon in the cemetery to look for her grave- we spent a very long time walking around in the zillion degree hot sun, just sweating like nobodies business. After a long search and coming up empty handed, we left. I ended up calling the funeral home the next day when they were open to see if they could shed any light on the situation, and unfortunately they could not. Seems this is one of those stories where the cemetery owners were doing some funny business and sticking people in anywhere they could find space. In between people, at the heads of foot of an already established plot. The city has stepped in after folks complained, but now there is no way of finding my mothers grave, since there is also no headstone for her that could be found. This news was the hardest for me during my trip. I was hoping for closure, a place to visit if I ever get back to Virginia.. something, but there is nothing. And yes- I know she’s not really “there” but I feel that she is lost and I wanted to find her. For myself if anything.
Uncle Jimmy also drove us around and showed us a few places where my mother and my sister Penny had lived when they were both alive. he also took us to the pier where walked along- letting the summer breeze cool us off a bit. This too made me a little sad. On one hand it made me feel closer to my mother and sister, but on the other hand I wished that I had been able to see and share these things with them both- just never had the chance to. What am emotional day!
The end of my visit with Grandmother came to an end too quickly it seemed. I have some great pics of my other relatives, great grandparents and my grandmothers siblings, along with some great stories.