R and I had quite the adventure this last weekend….. we traveled all the way up to Casper, Wyoming! (I know, I know…. you're super jealous!) We've had this trip planned for almost a year so that I could go visit my Grandmother and R could meet his Great-Grandmother. It ended up working out perfectly that my Dad and Mom were going to head up at the same time, and my sister and her family were taking their big family road trip and arranged to be passing through at the same time, so we got to see lots of family!
(Downtown Casper… I swear, this town is like stepping back into the 50's!)
I was actually born in Casper, but we moved to Reno when I was only about 6 weeks old. My sister and brother were obviously there until the were in there early teen years, and my dad lived most of his life there. My mom moved there after my brother and sister were born because the rest of her family had eventually ended up there….. the point is, at one point, I had a whole lot of family in Casper. Over the years everyone has pretty much spread out and moved on (It's a really small town, I don't blame them!) and my grandmother (My dad's mom) is pretty much the only one left. I have memories of visiting cousins and all my grandparents there when I was a kid, but I haven't been back since I was probably about ten. I also haven't seen my Grandmother since her and my Granddad came to my high school graduation, and unfortunately my granddad passed away fairly soon after that.
I was glad to be able to go visit my Grandmother and introduce here to one of her great grandchildren, but unfortunately she ended up getting really, really sick right before I came and had just gotten out of the hospital and had moved into a rehabilitation/assisted facility until she was well enough to go home. It was too bad that we had to visit her that way, and I wish she would have been home so we could have really had a chance to talk and bond more, but I guess you take what you can get. The important thing is I got to see her and R got to meet her.
(R meeting his Great-Grandmother Sharon)
In between visiting Grandma (she was in different therapies for most of the day, so the visits were short) I spent a lot of time driving around Casper with my Dad and sister while they showed me the different sights. Even though I don't remember living there, there is definitely a sense of nostalgia. I wouldn't want to live in Casper now (did I mention how small it is?) but I can see how it was probably a pretty cool place to grow up back in the day. It is the definition of small town, and all the stories everyone told me revolved around kids having pretty much unlimited freedom as the ran around town, riding bike and playing baseball and getting into "kid" trouble. It's also pretty neat to go past all the different houses that various family member have lived in for basically the last hundred years.
(This was the house we lived in when I was born. It was my home for 6 weeks!)
(This is the house my Dad grew up in. That top window on the left? That was his bedroom)
(This was my grandparents on my mom's side house. I remember spending several Christmas's there as a kid, with all the cousins crammed into sleeping bags in the basement! This house also had a laundry shoot that went from the kitchen to the basement….. I'm pretty sure every cousin at one point slid down/got stuck in that shoot!)
We also spent some time "visiting" family members at the cemetery. Some people might find cemetery's creepy or morbid, but I've always kind of liked them. Yes, they are sad, but I also think they are so peaceful. I didn't get to go to either of my Grandfathers funerals, so it was nice for me to be able to visit there graves and "say goodbye". I also visited my uncle, who passed before I was born, and my great-grandparents. It really gave me a sense of peace and closure to be able to finally visit them.
(My Great-Grandparents, born in 1890!!! Also my Grandpa on my mom's side and my mom's brother, who passed away before I was born.)
(And my Grandpa Jim, my Grandmothers who I was visiting husband. This actually makes me really sad. He was a really cool guy and I know he would have loved to meet my boys. I've always been sad I could make it to his funeral and this really helped.)
OK, enough with the cemetery pictures. Again, sorry if that offends or creeps anyone out, but I found it very healing! So that was pretty much our trip. I spent a lot of time going through old pictures at my grandmas house which was very cool, and of course seeing all the family. We got back last night and are now just trying to get back into the swing of things here. It was nice to spend some time with just R, but I missed all my big boys and it's always so good to be home!