We aren’t big people, but we are a big family.
My Dad is one of fifteen, twelve are half-siblings most of which have passed. I think only two of Dad’s half sisters are still with us, but I have a myriad of cousins who I’ve only ever “met” on facebook. Of his two full-blooded brothers, only his older brother Nick, his wife, their son and his family, are still with us. The younger brother, Guiseppi, Uncle Joe to us, passed three years ago. My Dad’s family is big but, with the exception of his brother Nick and his family, not very close.
My Mom is only one of three. Her two sisters are still with us and I have five cousins from them, all girls but one. We are all far from one another, but still keep in touch. But, somehow, on Mom’s side there is more…so much more…for there are many Moons.
The first Moons in America were not great travelers. When they came over from Ireland in the mid 1600’s, they essentially got off the boat in New York, found their way to northeastern Pennsylvania, found a nice chunk of wilderness and settled there. This chunk of land was known as Moon Road. It is still Moon Road and, until a few decades ago, all of it was owned by the Moons and their descendants. Until the mid 20th century, the Moons lived there, farmed there, raised their families there, and died there.
My grandparents generation, began the great migration to life in the city and, I’m guessing, better job opportunities. They sent their children back to “The Farm” every summer when school was out and they all had to work. All of the little Moons stayed with their grandmother, who was a more-than-a-little-bit cranky old woman who hid watermelons under her bed; a pretty clear indication that there was a little more than just ‘crankiness’ going on. Of course, having all of her five children, send their children to live with her for an entire summer might have something to do with that. She fed them all pancakes. Pancakes for breakfast. Pancakes for lunch. Pancakes for dinner. She fed them and set them all loose in the woods, the hills, and the neighboring farms. When they were thirsty they drank from the spring, which, as far as I know, is still there today and provides the freshest, cleanest, coldest water I’ve ever tasted. It was those summers that bound the little Moons, not just as cousins, but as so much more.
My Mom and her ‘cousin’ Bonnie are a testimony to this bonding. They each have been a part of the other’s life since those days in Pennsylvania. I remember visiting ‘Aunt’ Bonnie for as long as I have memories. She remembers me for longer than I have memories. Since she and her husband, Uncle Fred, didn’t live far from us and since all but one of Aunt Bonnie’s kids were the same age as my Mom’s kids, we would visit almost weekly. Eventually, Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Fred took their kids and went back to Moon Road. We would still visit, though not as often. Time and distance became a factor. When we did visit, Mom and Aunt Bonnie would set us kids loose in the woods and hills and we would drink from the spring. The Moon blood still flowing through generations.
Today, though they live many miles apart, with a little help, they still manage their visits almost yearly. They always pick up right where they left off, as if they’re visits were still weekly. They have managed these visits for the good part of 70 years. I’m thinking, hoping, they will manage them for many more. They are a very big deal.