My nephew, two nieces, one husband, and a great niece and nephew came from America to visit me this weekend. They are doing a three weeks trip of England and Europe, and I was the first stop.
These are the children of my sister, who I used to visit fairly frequently, and thus I know them fairly well. They are approaching retirement age now ( except for their chilsren). We spent a long time remembering their visits in the past.
My nephew is only 7 years younger than me, and when his mother brought him home for us to see, he celebrating his first birthday. The story was complicated by the fact that my sister married her husband without the knowledge or blessing of the Catholic Church, and my mother, a devout Catholic, decided that she would have nothing more to do with her - and cut her off completely. So this visit, after the chid was born, and then baptised, with a church blessing for the couple thrown in, was a sort of peace making session. I was too young to appreciate how awkward it must have been for both of them. I have heard since how lost and cut off my sister felt for those first years. Anyway, with child in tow, they stayed a month with us. The husband needed to work to send the money for the return trip, as they had spent all that had on the original one. My other sister and I babysat him occasionally, although being far from responsible outselves, we never told anyone about how when we got him bouncing on the bed, he fell off and hit is head. Later a similar thing happened to a cousin's child, and he died. But our nephew survived, and we had a lovely time being a proper family for the month they were with us.
Our family then took several trips to visit them, as four new nieces arrived. It was a very long and tiring car trip - 1500 miles and taking three days each direction. We had little money, but we thought it was very necessary to keep the family in touch.
They came again to our house for my wedding, and the oldest niece poured punch at the reception. The youngest one had chocolately fingers and I shouted at her when she tried to admire my wedding dress.
The next visit was to England, after I had moved here and had a family of my own. My nephew, then18, spent a lot of time with me - as his parents went off touring Europe on their own. He was lovesick and needed encouragement and advice, which I was happy to provide.
As each of my children arrived, I did the same thing in reverse - taking them to meet their American relatives - one child at a time, just before they turned 11, as that was when half fares turned to full.
I won't go on, but the trips did, in both directions - but this was the first since my sister, their mother died. All of them stayed in the same town, as they married and had their own families, and for the most part stayed close. They shared with me their stories of what I have missed over the last few years. I would like to put in the details, but feel I would be using them for writing fodder, however the stories are very ABC-worthy. But what they did do, is bring me all the letters and such like that I had ever sent their mother - over 60 years worth. And included in the bunch were some of the stories I wrote about my various adventures on holidays over the years. I had lost my versions of them, and have no internet copies, so I was very pleased to see them and will be putting them up on here, bit by bit.