Wednesday, April 5, 2017
An Unexpected Gift
I've already mentioned that, in my quest to locate a descendant of the family who dispatched that mystery photo album from Ireland in 1936, I finally made contact with one of Harry and Alice Reid's grandchildren the morning after Saint Patrick's Day. I had been running that morning, trying to get out the door and catch a flight to Florida, so I didn't actually bother to check my messages until I settled in at the airport. But yes, for me, it was still morning when I read the news.
The message came in on Facebook Messenger, the same medium which I had used to send the plea to the Cork Genealogical Society Facebook group—the request that made its stellar debut on Saint Patrick's Day.
This time, the answer wasn't as mundane as the mere granting of permissions to access a website. But it was a definite answer in the affirmative. After a polite "good morning"—remember, Irish time and California time differ by eight hours—my correspondent went on to confirm, "Yes, you've found the right family!"
The woman messaging me confirmed some details about the family of Harry and Alice Reid we've already noticed from the photo album. The Reids were her grandparents, and yes, they did live at a place called Bride Park. She confirmed the location in Ovens, County Cork. Wrapping up, she thanked me for being "so tenacious" and welcomed our continued correspondence.
You can be sure, airport setting or not, I was ecstatic—and lost no time in answering the message. Of course, I had to explain that we were en route to the other side of the continent, and that I wouldn't be able to say much more for the remainder of the day, but that—oh, believe me!—I certainly wanted to talk her ear off. There were so many more questions I still had to figure out.
As it turned out, what seemed like the unfortunate timing of having to be out of touch at the very moment in which a cascade of questions had erupted worked out for the best—and in the most charming way. While the success of my connection with the Reids' granddaughter was eclipsed by the necessities of air travel, my newfound friend in County Cork had her own schedule complexities to navigate.
You see, the same day she received my message, she was celebrating a special day of her own: that very day just happened to be her birthday. Bet she had no idea our connection would make its debut during her birthday festivities.
Above: "When the Boats Come In," oil on canvas by Irish Impressionist landscape artist, Walter Frederick Osborne (1859 - 1903); courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.