This is really a kind of epilogue. There was another important thing that happened when I went to the US — specifically, to Texas.
Some of you may remember the little town between San Antonio and Beaumont, where my grandparents would meet my mother, and I — like the bundle of acceptance I was then — would be passed one way or the other, depending on my mother’s health: from my grandparents back to her; or, more often, from her to my grandparents. This town is called Luling.
When I was staying with my San Antonio relatives this time, my Beaumont Aunt Lois asked if we could meet just outside San Antonio, to avoid confusion and traffic. She was picking me up to take me to Houston airport, and from there I would fly home back to London.
She told me she was thinking about a little town, and I said ‘You’re not going to say Luling, are you?’. She was, and did. Chills ran up and down my spine, and she said along hers too.
Yes. Luling it was then. We were once again going to bring the two sides of family together, over 50 years later.
The image featured at the top of this post is the sprawling Bucee’s where we met. A long way from the tiny diner which appears in all of the background photos here on this site. And yet: it’s the place we where we met, once again, and where I passed, completely willingly, from one car to the other.
I couldn’t help myself. I was…ecstatic. Of the three relatives there with me, the San Antonio and the Beaumont sides — no one could remember if they’d ever met before. But they all shook hands, shared stories, under the blaring full Texas sun. We were all together. Something had healed for me, knitted as one. Finally.
And then I came home.