I have, for many years, searched for my maternal relatives. I never really found anything. And certainly not anything recent until a couple of months ago. I bought an Ancestry.com membership and started searching again. I came up with the same thing except this time, I had access to the 1940 Federal Census. On that census I found my mama's name. She was born in 1936 so there were no previous mentions in earlier census records. I dug around on what I found and finally tracked down a couple of real, live, relatives. They are my mama's second cousins!
I googled both names and found a mailing address for one of them. I stuck that information in my files and decided to write her a letter. I wrote the letter but never mailed it... I was afraid. Afraid of rejection, afraid of no answer, afraid of opening up old hurts if there were any. All sorts of things ran through my mind. I decided to search Facebook for them, hoping to get a glimpse of what to expect, I guess. Were they nice people? Would they be bothered by my attempt to contact them? I found one cousin on Facebook and sent her a message. I never got a reply so the air was let out of my sails just a bit. I, once again, went to the letter I had written and never sent. I read it over and over again. Finally I just printed it out, along with a copy of all the facts I had discovered, and walked right down to the mailbox and sent it on its way.
I'm not sure I really ever thought I would get a response so imagine my shock when I received a reply by email. I sat there, staring at the screen of my laptop, not really trusting my eyes, for quite some time. Once I decided I wasn't seeing things, I stared at it some more. Scared to death to open it up. Let me explain that fear. I will be 50 years old in August. Never in that 50 years, have I known anything about my Mama's family. Basically, all I knew was the names of my grandparents and that my Mama left and really never looked back. I have imagined every scenario behind her leaving. Good stuff, bad stuff, fairy tale stuff... but we were never privy to that part of her life. It just wasn't spoken about. I didn't know what kind of people they were or if they even knew about me, much less wanted to hear from me...so I stared. Preparing myself for what was in that email.
Finally, I gathered enough nerve to click on the email. When I read the first line, my defenses fell and tears filled my eyes. "WHAT A SURPRISE!", is what that first line read. Praise Jesus, she was glad to hear from me! Now, I am so excited to say, I've emailed her, she called - I missed it :-( , she emailed again and I replied!
I hope some of the missing pieces of the puzzle will finally be put into place, but what is most important to me, is finally finding maternal relatives and keeping in touch with them. God is good!