Wayne and Etta, for those who don’t know, are my paternal grandparents. Both are deceased. After Etta’s death some of the cousins apparently thought that we should have a reunion so that we could get together. In the whole course of my life I can recall perhaps five brief interactions with any members of that extended family so I was reluctant to attend. Some might expect that reluctance to come from an expectation of animosity or dysfunction based on the fact that I have never succeeded in forming a functional relationship with my dad, and this is his family. Truthfully the reluctance was based on the complete lack of prior interaction and the expectation that we would feel like strangers among other people who had some level of common identity.
Over time my reluctance turned to ambivalence and shortly before the reunion I decided to go as a show of support for the one of my brothers who was planning to attend and who had put some work into pulling the reunion off – after all, the reunion was not 25 miles from my house.
I must say that when we went I was very pleasantly surprised to feel right at home talking with uncles, aunts, and cousins whom I have rarely seen and some of whom I had never met.