Monthly Archives: November 2006

Happy Thanksgiving To All My Cousins,

This year, I have to post my Thanksgiving message to the newsgroup instead of the website. It is in the process of a major change. I was given the opportunity to switch the site to a new server that will be able to accommodate our rapid growth better than the previous server. While it will cost twice as much, it will provide five times the web space. The server is temporarily out of my hands while they transfer nearly 90,000 pages over. If everything goes well, which I’m pretty confident it will, site visitors won’t notice the difference.
Like a lot of you, I find myself taking stock of the year and what I have to be Thankful for. This year the list is long because it has been a year of incredible change and will continue for the rest of this year and into 2007. First, I am so very thankful that in August we were able to have the first Heycuz reunion ever.
I was absolutely thrilled at meeting so many of my cousins and was prouder than ever of our great extended family. I’m so thankful for all of the volunteers who made the event such a great success. Foremost to Stacey Givens, without whom we never would pulled it off, and her fabulous husband and son Grady and Littlest Grady, who let us steal her away for months.
I’m thankful also for Charlton Queen and Dan Sullivan for assisting in the incredible task of guiding a bunch of green horns through the beautiful countryside and taking the time to talk with each one of us about our individual questions. I especially enjoyed Charlton walking me through the cemetery and explaining who each person was and a little of their individual stories–the whole time I was thinking to myself “I should be recording this” but forgot to bring a tape recorder.
I was also stuck by the similarities of people I had never met before, but whom I felt instantly connected. I met a man who was a Green and he had the same way of talking as my Dad. I was shocked at the family similarities.
I am also so thankful that I got to spend time with Wanda Talbot during the day of the cemetery tours. We were able to move our relationship to even a deeper level. I am so much looking forward to another reunion next year and hope to spend more time there so I can spend more time to visit with you.
I am also thankful that after years of saying I should go up north and visit my cousins, Wava and Opal, (my great grandfather Norm Sullivan’s nieces); it became a reality in October. Unfortunately, it was only a one-day trip and we didn’t get to spend too much time sharing family stories. Cousin Wanda T., who was also able to bring her equipment and scan some of the vast collection of documents collected by Wava and Opal over the years, joined me. That was so fun and I’m looking forward to more trips in the future.
I’m also thankful of all the new cousins I’ve “met” online this year. Perhaps it was the publicity surrounding the reunion, or the higher Google ranking of our site, but our family has grown by leaps and bounds. In one month alone, Heycuz had over a million “hits” (visitors). It has brought some cousins out of the woodwork and already answered some of my own research quandaries. And I hope it will soon solve many of yours.
I’m also thankful, in my personal life, for the prospect of a brighter future. My husband has accepted a position in Central California. As I write this, I’m surrounded by boxes. He will be moving up there and paving the way for us to follow him in a few months. (I’ll send my new address and contact information later when everything is firmed up.) While change can be a little frightening, and the thought of packing 20 years of stuff overwhelming, I’m excited about the prospects of our family’s future. Its a farming community and, I hope, a wonderful opportunity for my son to grow up in a family-friendly environment.
Speaking of Lucas, he became a teenager recently, and I’m so thankful that he has been such a joy. He and I spend a lot of time together joking around and doing things and I can’t help but be thankful for such a blessing in my life.
Today, I will be surrounded by my husband’s family and will celebrate a Greek-American Thanksgiving. In the first years, I went into a little culture shock when I sat down to eat with my new in-laws. Some of the typical Thanksgiving meal fare was conspicuously absent (no stuffing, mashed potatoes…). In fact, the first year, I had to make a quick run for a stuffing I.V. over at my moms’ so I could get through it. But, I’ve come to relish their style of Thanksgiving where the WHOLE huge Greek family fills the living room–temporarily converted into a banquet hall–and the fabulous cooking of my mother-in-law. I am so Thankful for my in-laws, who treat me like a daughter not a daughter-in-law. While this means they will be bluntly honest with me, it also means that they feel I am their family. We recently had a scare when my mother-in-law took a nasty fall, but she’s well enough now to host Thanksgiving and so I am thankful that her health has returned and she’s able to do that because she loves it so much.
I am also thankful for my parents, who this week celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. I look at my brothers and sister and am so proud of how they turned out and, while they have their challenges, they are able to meet them with determination and graciousness. All of which is due to my Mom’s and Dad’s parenting skills, who taught us that it is our differences that make us valuable and that no matter what happens we are family first.
I am also delighted that I have such terrific, loving Aunts and Uncles. No matter how busy their own lives get they somehow manage to think of me and my family by dropping us a quick note or emailing a joke or answering some silly family or personal question of mine. I have such a special place in my heart for each and every one of them and feel blessed that I have such a wonderful family.
I am also so very thankful and encouraged by recent events in the news that America is such a wonderful place to raise a family. I’m thankful that we as Americans have a new sense of empowerment and value for our planning our own destiny. I think for years we’d become apathetic but now I hear so many people having discussions and heated arguments about everything from health-care to foreign policy. American’s have realized that it is Un-American not to question everything and now we’re showing the true American way by welcoming rational debate. Over the last few years, I’d been embarrassed to call myself a journalist because the whole field seemed to forget that it was their Job to investigate the truth and not to report only what was fed to them by government officials. I am so thankful for the American troops who put themselves in harms way so that they can protect our American values and I say a prayer for their safe return.
I also am thankful that I am now 5 years cancer free. You never realize how important health is until it is threatened.
Finally, I am so very, very thankful for my husband. I have to pinch myself when I think of what a talented, creative, supportive man he is and wonder how in the world I got so lucky.
I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and hope that you too have a lot to be thankful for.
Love and God Bless,
April

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