February 22, 2008

Relatives in the woodpile

Growing up in a small town is different. Generations of family are born and die within a small geographic area. Here is a story I am sure Jerry at Back Home Again can completely understand. Not only are we of a similar age, we grew up less than 30 miles apart. The situation my daughter encountered I am sure, will not seem strange to him at all.

My daughter attends Butler University. Situated in downtown Indianapolis the campus attracts a lot of students from not only Indiana, but the Midwest. There is a large contingent from the Chicago area. One girl is in several of my daughter's classes. They have gotten to know one another. In the course of conversation the girl mentioned she was from a certain town. It is also the town where I was born and raised, as was my wife. My daughter was also born there. We moved about 90 miles away when she was three. The girl called her dad and asked if he knew me. We graduated high school together. In fact, his name was similar to mine so we shared a homeroom together for all of Jr. and Sr. High. We knew each other well. He told his astonished daughter that he and I were related.

My daughter could not believe it. I confirmed the story, although with the caveat that the branches on this particular family tree were pretty wide. His grandmother and my great-grandmother were sisters. Now to be fair, my great-grandmother was one of 18 (yep eighteen) children. My grandmother (her daughter) was one of 13 children. As such, I guess I could claim relations in about 50% of Clinton County Indiana.

Still, it is interesting that two girls of college age could go to the same university, have the same class schedule, become friends, and discover they are related in a general way. Life is strange sometimes.

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