(NOTE: Pauline Shook Bender recently sent this email to Myra Shook, and I thought it would be nice to share with all. (Mado is her sister, Madeleine, who was also at the reunion.)
Thank you so much for e-mailing the photos. Looking at the picture and remembering the reunion makes me think of the cool air of the mountains ... something in very short supply here in the Southwest at the moment.
I apologize deeply for not responding sooner. I thought I had, and discovered that I had saved the e-mail as a draft and not actually e-mailed it.
How is your Mom doing?
The day Mado and I left Boone to head down to Greensboro, it was raining, and I said to Mado that the mountains were crying because many of us were leaving the mountains to go back to our daily lives ... We visited the Michael land, met some bees furiously buzzing about the fireplace (and me), looked at the height of the weeds that had to be cut to create the path (gigantic height for weeds) to the old barn and the house ... drove up some of the "roads" that have been built on the land, there was even a picnic place, listened to the rushing creek. Peace.
We also videotaped but I don't know how well the video will be - camera is not waterproof so we tended to film from the inside of the car. We also drove down a bit on Dutch Creek, but I'm not familiar with the road and we didn't know where it would go, so we turned around and went back to 194.
I recognize most of the people in the picture, but not everyone. Who are the people who are primarily in the back row, left, of the photo? I recognize all in the front row, including some of the back row through Larry and James, but to Larry right and beyond, I don't know who they are. Would that be Glen wearing the cap? I recognize Bill Rominger. I was amazed to see so many people, and at the same time it was sooooooo heartwarming to see so many relatives! Mado and I talked about our experience later, and we both felt that at the reunion, there were these unseen arms holding us, wrapping us in warmth. That's how it felt.
I had e-mail correspondence with Eric, Uncle Carroll's stepson, who lives in Germany. I asked him if he planned on visiting the US again in the near future. His reply was that no, his travel days were over. Shortly after his last visit to the US, around 2000 or 2001, he was diagnosed with a cancer, an effect of Agent Orange, so his immune system is not in tip top shape, making travel nearly impossible for him. His wife passed away some time in the last two years or less, but he lives in the same apartment building as his daughter, Sandra lives in, so I think he is doing okay.
Otherwise, not much is going on, except Neil and I seem to have spent nearly every weekend (since I came back from the reunion) going back and forth to the Phoenix area. We did so again yesterday. Depending on where in the PHX metropolitan area we go, it is a drive of just under two hours to over two hours with radar photo enforcements galore. Already, we are looking forward to next weekend. I can't believe it's almost September!
I forgot to ask before I left NC - is there a way to make a donation to the Matney Community building? I think there was a box at the reunion. And also to the reunion fund to help defray the expenses from the reunion? Mado and I were running short on cash, embarassingly, and we didn't bring our checkbooks with us, so we couldn't leave any money before we left.
I spoke to my parents a week ago or so. There had been some strong earthquakes of late. So far, they are doing well.
Take care, please say "hi" to your mom and Tanya, and our love to everyone!