There’s been a lot of family stuff going on lately. I thought you might like to hear a little about it. You may know that Linda, Matt and I went down to Canton, GA, the first weekend in October for a Haynes family reunion, my mother’s side. They’re all southerners and good, loving people. We are a remarkably good-natured and drama-free bunch. We came from that couple down there, Josephine and William Haynes (at their 50th anniversary party; both long gone now). Josephine is a granddaughter of Chang Bunker, the “original Siamese twin” brother on the right here [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chang_and_Eng_Bunker]. The last time I saw any number of my Haynes family together in one place was in 2006 at the annual Bunker Twin Reunion in Mt. Airy, N.C. The last robust actual reunion was after Josephine died, sometime in the late 80’s. So it had been a while, and there were more children, more stories, more racial diversity and, sadly, fewer aunts and uncles. The remaining two of my Mom’s four brothers, my uncles Jim and Pat, were there with their wives, Pat willing himself to get there despite crippling medical issues. It was so good to be together: for coffee with cousins on our first morning; at Pat’s daughter Michelle’s for greetings, snacks and a swim (it was 90 degrees outside!); for barbecue and drinks that evening, and for a great southern breakfast on our last morning.
As for the Goldenweiser side of the family (my Dad changed his name to his mother’s maiden name when he was a teenager), my sister and I (with Joel and Linda) have been for several years now working our way toward letting go of the Brewster, Cape Cod summer property my dad’s parents Emmanuel and Ann bought in 1938. Liz and I spent every summer of our childhood there—all summer, in the little cottage (originally a garage). All along, my family’s needed to rent the larger cottage in order to pay for maintenance and taxes. In the last few years, the balance began to shift between our effort to take care of things and our ability to enjoy the little time we have these days to spend there. My sister, especially, was really burning out, and neither of her daughters were in a position to take up the slack. So, for these and a number of other reasons, we’ve made the wrenching decision to sell. A lovely family to whom we have rented in the past is poised now to buy the property. We know they will be good stewards…and…there is grief ahead. I can’t even imagine not having this place—the setting for so many memories and family 4ths and birthdays—in my life any more. But alongside the grief, deep and enduring gratitude for good places and good family.