On the other hand, Betty comes from a family with all sorts of connections, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. At this point, many of them have passed on. Even so, she can count at least two dozen folks outside our immediate family who have a relationship to her.
Realizing that the passage of time does tend to cause relative shrinkage, she was determined to put together a family reunion this year. As a part owner of coal and natural gas holdings back East, she decided to try for a gathering centered around the annual coal company meeting held each June in a small town in West Virginia.
Through hard work and efforts from her brother who lives in Pittsburgh, a Montgomery clan gathering did take place in the tiny town of Terra Alta early last month. Circumstances managed to knock several folks from the "we are coming list" at the last minute. But, nine of us gathered for stories, pictures, and shared meals together.
As a member of this group by marriage, I must admit I approached the event with some trepidation. The cost was not insignificant and it was to come just two weeks before our 2 month RV trip (which was cancelled at the last minute). The idea of looking at photos of long dead folks, touring cemeteries to find grave stones, and listening to stories about people I barely (or never) knew, sounded like a long weekend.
As I often learn my preconceived attitude was completely wrong. The four day trip was fun, meaningful, and a satisfying journey. Betty had the time of her life seeing loved ones for the first time in years. I enjoyed the conversations over meals or sips of honey whiskey. Our cottage on the grounds of a golf course-resort was comfortable and spacious.
Before and after the West Virginia part of the trip, we spent two days with her brother and his family in suburban Pittsburgh. My grandparents on my mom's side lived in Pittsburgh, so I spent lots of time there as a youth. The Steel City is one of my favorite places: the neighborhoods, parks, and downtown are enchanting.
While the weather was either rainy or very humid, both provided a change from our desert climate, so Betty and I enjoyed the differences. We agreed we wouldn't want to live with that weather on a permanent basis, but it was fun to see and feel rain for the first time in months.
I doubt if Betty and her brother will ever organize another gathering like this one. Several of those in attendance are having problems with travel or ill health. For some, the cost and distances are too great. It was very important to her that this went well and built memories for all in attendance. In that regard, her efforts were a complete success.
Here are a few pictures of some of what we saw and experienced during our time in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.
|Betty's first childhood home in suburban Pittsburgh|
|Her next home in Pittsburgh|
|Her grandparents' summer home in West Virginia|
|Her brother's home|
|Relatives final resting place in West Virginia|
|Our cottage home for the reunion|
|The very comfortable living room|
|West Virginia countryside|
|Pretty park in Pittsburgh|
|A beautiful setting|
We had a tremendous time in a beautiful part of the country with great people and memories.