Thursday, June 16, 2011

Family!! And Archery!!

Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny. We really wanted to attend the local church, but, sadly, the church isn't doing well in England. I don't think we saw a small, local church that had enough parishioners to pay a full-time pastor/vicar/cleric. The one in South Scarle "rarely has services," according to our innkeepers. An earlier innkeeper told us, "The Church used to be used to control people. Now that that isn't necessary, I guess people see no need for the Church." Sad.

We headed out to meet some family, cousins who live near Sherwood Forest. Yes, that Sherwood Forest.

Many moons ago, (some 1300+ of them) my ancestors left England for the US. The story I've been told is actually pretty funny. Seems my great-grandmother decided she didn't like Jolly Old, and that my great-grandfather also had weak lungs. His doctor told him to emigrate somewhere dryer; they chose Australia.

Along the way, the ship docked in New York. Great-Grandma, an Anglican, still found her way to a fortune-teller. The lady told her that Great-Grandpa would never survive a sea voyage. Great-Grandma announced her plan to stay in the US. Great-Grandpa, like many husbands, seemed to have no choice, even though the Northeastern United States doesn't have the dry climate of Australia.

Two years later, my grandfather had been born. Great-Grandma decided that she didn't like the US, and, despite the dire prediction of her husband's chances at sea, the family boarded a ship for England. Apparently, midway, she decided to return to the US, but the ship was committed. And, when they got to Britain, WWI had begun, so they were stuck there for 2 more years. Finally, however, the family returned to the US, living in Massachusetts for a few years before migrating to Chicago. Grandma and Grandpa met there in the 1930s, and, the rest, as they say, is history.

But Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa left family behind in the Preston Lancashire area. Their children and grandchildren moved around, and one cousin now lives near Sherwood Forest. We spent a lovely afternoon visiting with her, her husband, her two daughters, and two grandchildren. Stories were swapped, pictures were taken, and Mary even got to shoot a longbow! What a memory!

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