Today was crazy. I ran pretty much every errand on my list. Sent cards. Went to bank. Purchased and wrapped wedding gifts. Got ten dollar Target gift card for buying two boxes of diapers. (Woot!) Bought Maya Angelou stamps. (Double woot!) As Jack and I were exiting our car at Target, the sky fell upon us and soaked us completely. It was almost nice, as the air conditioned building helped us survive the record breaking heat that has kept us from going anywhere outdoors this week. The best part of my day may have been when my dog puked up hamburger grease on the carpet. Or maybe it was a few hours later when she did it again, but I didn’t notice-until my baby slipped in it-requiring an immediate tiny human rinse off/carpet cleaning combo. Actually, it might even be about an hour ago, when my husband woke me up in the middle of the night to find his car keys that I lost. It’s hard to believe that only a few days ago, we were living it up in Kansas City. Already, we are back to the real world of annoying my husband and bathing my puke covered toddler.
My mom’s side of the family is originally from Kansas. Both of my grandparents were born and raised there and many aunts, uncles, and cousins are still there. A few years ago, it was decided that we simply do not visit them enough and a family reunion was planned. Something about having a baby really makes a girl care about her family history. As an only child, I don’t really have many people of my own generation to reminisce with. Visiting the hometowns of my grandparents with people who also appreciated its history was enchanting. It is fascinating that two people fell in love, made four babies, and now about 45 people (all descendents of theirs) decided to get together and celebrate their lives.
As I expected, it was quite overwhelming. Introducing yourself to 40-something people who you last met fifteen years ago when you could have given a dead fly about them is a little intimidating. “Hello. I’m Debbie’s daughter. From the Georgia Frisbies. Want to form a unique familial bond with me?” The great part, though, is that everyone seemed to care. Every single person at this event was not only hilarious and smart, but they also seemed to care about who I was and the fact that I was related to them. I definitely think I can officially say that I come from good stock.
I’d like to write about every detail of Frisbie Fest 2015, but there is simply too much to say. Our weekend was action packed. Jack didn’t even get to nap because we were constantly on the go. We visited a few places that were extremely important to me. One, was the school my grandfather went to growing up, specifically the basket ball court. They called him the Splendid Splinter in college. I got to put my baby on the original court where he played. I was able to imagine a parallel universe several decades ago where my grandpa was playing right beside him.
It wasn’t too difficult to imagine anything in this little farm town because my grandfather has always told me the best stories of his childhood there. It was so cool to see the places I had heard so much about. He makes fun of how tiny his school was in an endearing way. It really is a compact little place with playground equipment that would get a school sued today.
Another very important place was my great-grandmother’s house. Her name was Letha and my mother adored her. She died only a few months after I was born. I am happy to know that she knew I existed, but unfortunately, she didn’t get to meet me in person. My mother says she still has very vivid dreams about her that causes her to wake up in tears, but that they’re always the best. I have the same dreams about my Grandbetty. I feel like I know Letha Frisbie through my mother, and I can feel her presence in my life. It was so good to finally see the house she lived in during my mother’s childhood in real life. I’m sure the current owners wondered what the hell 40-something people were doing staring at their house last weekend.
Later that afternoon, we drove to Pittsburg, Kansas, home of my grandmother. It also happens to be the place where she met my grandfather, a student teacher that she had her eye on. Unfortunately, the house she grew up in has burned down, but we drove in her old neighborhood and I was able to see the town she grew up in. She painted a picture for me as I imagined where the chickens were kept and drove down the alley behind her house where her father would walk to work, checking the curbs for useful junk. He was a barber, and we drove by his old shop. I got to see how far Grandmom would walk to town. I must say, it was a lot further than I would have walked. Apparently, my laziness was not inherited from her. That afternoon, we made a quick stop at Pittsburg State University, where Grandmom and Grandpa met. Go Gorillas!
We also visited the grave of my great grandmother, Esther Moser. She was my grandmother’s mother. She died when my grandmother was only fifteen years old. She had already lost her father. Grandmom has always spoken very highly of her parents. I know she misses her mother very much. I was so happy to be able to visit her grave with my grandmother. Meghan picked some wildflowers and handed them to Jack who, totally unprompted, put them on her headstone. Needless to say, the tears poured. It was touching and sadly sweet. I know that my great-grandmother was there, and is so proud of her Faye Marie.
Before completing day two of our busy Frisbie agenda, we made a detour to the Hess’s house for lunch. These folks aren’t related to us by blood, but certainly seem as much like family as anyone else I got to meet this weekend. The patriarch of the Hess family is no longer with us, but I’m told he was one of my grandfather’s very best friends. His wife, Virginia and her wonderful children, hosted a great party, complete with farm boy equipment for Jack and a new wine cooler I’ve never had before called Kinky. It’s pink. I highly recommend it.
So, while I’m up at 3:48 AM because I’m a super annoying wife who loses her husband’s car keys on a regular basis, I think about our future. One day, Jack will tell his children and his children’s children about how his mother always lost all of his father’s stuff and it drove his father insane. Or how his mom would sometimes act like she was listening, but really she was spacing out. Also, though, he will tell them about the times his parents made him laugh. Or the time he got caught sneaking out. Or the story of how his parents met, romantically, in a bar. The point is, he will tell them something. He is our little descendent and I hope he cares about his family history one day like I do. It might take him a few years of adulthood first, but for now-everything’s up to date in Kansas City.