Home again, home again, jiggety jog. My mother used to say this when we happily returned home at the end of a day. I don’t know where she got it from or really what it means, but I thought of it while I was home in Newport, RI. We enjoyed four glorious days in the town where I was born and spent my early years.
It is because of my cousins that our stay was so enjoyable. Cousin Elaine and her family are beyond belief. They provided bed, breakfast and dinner. What a five-star treat. Cousin Ralph drove us to Providence for a tour of Elaine’s family business. Cousin Phyllis kept our family on the west coast informed of what we were doing.
On Saturday I joined Elaine in the kitchen of the family church and fed the homeless. It felt good to be doing something for someone who needed it. We served 70 people a meal of baked chicken, stir fried vegetables, baked potatoes, salad, bread, punch and desert. I peeked into the hall to see who I was feeding and it was heartwarming to see a diversity of people with challenges in a congregate family style setting enjoying a gourmet meal. Elaine is one of a group of dedicated volunteers who do this every Saturday.
To my delight Elaine organized a family gathering after church on Sunday in the church hall. What a way to see a number of family members in a short visit. I am honored that so many showed up – many of whom I’d never met. Good food too!
We took my elderly aunt to visit her oldest sister who is in a rest home suffering from dementia. It was heartbreaking that she didn’t remember me, but amusing to see how she responded to my husband so happily. My cousin and I laughed when I told her that our aunt was flirting with my husband. These two paternal aunts are my only surviving aunts and it was a joy to see them.
We toured my Cousin Elaine’s family business. What a legacy she and her late husband Robert Lewis created. The business includes a child care center, several group homes and several pieces of property. It employs over 100 employees, many of whom are family members. Yes, family members working side by side in harmony for a common goal. I hope to write a more extensive piece about what I saw there later. I believe this is a story for Black Enterprise magazine.
We had breakfast with one of my maternal cousins and her husband and regretted that we couldn’t spend more time with them. We shared stories and memories of our childhood.
I took a little time to go down memory lane visiting my kindergarten school, going to a beach where I played as a child, walking up the street I once lived on, stopping for a look at the former homes of my maternal and paternal grandparents, and riding streets I used to walk. An emotional time, but a fun time.
As Rossmon pointed when we called him to let him know we were in Newport, we’ve reached our most easterly and most northerly destination. Now we’re turning around and heading west. It’s getting way too cold out here and the rain just won’t leave us alone. Westward ho’.