Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Miracle Year: Marvelous Melba

(To the left: Melba & her son Paul) It’s a late Monday afternoon, the day after the reunion and Steve and I are in Worthington, MN, on our way to Melba’s for supper, looking for her farm in the midst of a myriad of country roads with 4-way intersections.

Finally at the end of a dirt dead-end road, we find a complex of buildings – homes, barns and sheds amidst acres and acres of land. Stopping the car, Steve gets out and tentatively knocks on the door of a house and Melba comes to the door. We’ve found her.

(To the right: Melba & me) Weeks before the reunion, I’d gone through my mother’s photo albums. Familiar as I was with the contents, there were people I’d never been able to identify in several photos - a man, woman and child. Visiting cousin Sandy in Sioux Falls, she, our cousin Shirley and I went through more pics and found the same trio. This time on the back we found written “Melba.” Who’s Melba?” we asked each other.

Midway through the Sunday reunion, I find a lovely smiling petite white-haired women standing in front of me. She has a nametag that says “Melba.” “Melba!" I yell, "Who are you?”

I learn Melba is my mother’s first cousin, her mother was my Grandpa Husom’s sister, Anna. It never occurred to me that my mother had cousins – that’s how little I knew about her family. Melba’s not only my mother’s first cousin, they graduated from high school together.

(To the right: my mother & Melba, high school graduation) She shares a story: during their senior year, she, my mother and another girl rented a room from someone in Long Prairie, from January through March, so they could more easily get to school during the snowiest months. Sharing one double bed, each week they rotated who would get the coveted middle space. That’s the most personal story I’ve ever heard about my mother. Uff da!

What a wonderful gift I've received in meeting Melba!

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