If it seems like my recent posts have all been about grandchildren, you are right. Seven of my last ten essays featured grandchildren in some way. These three littles are moving rapidly in time and space, and I want to capture as many memories as possible. I know many of you have older grandchildren (mine are 5,9, and 11), or younger ones, or no grandchildren. Thanks for coming along for the ride regardless of your own situation. I hope I am leaving enough open spaces for you to plug in your own experiences of whatever age and attachments you have.
Recently, my adventures with grown ups have included a two-week (May 16-31) tour of Ireland led by a former student, now professor of history at Eastern Mennonite University, Mark Sawin. Mark is as funny, amiable, and knowledgeable as ever, and so were the others on the trip. We enjoyed the gorgeous green (so many shades!) scenery, the historical, social, cultural history, the many hours of singing and dancing, and the stories. Oh the stories.
Multiple generations have been on my mind a lot in the last three years while writing a book about grandparenting. But families aren’t the only location of generational awareness. Academics have their own version. In the sciences, graduating doctoral students sometimes receive genealogical trees, with the professors of their professors delineated. It was pure fun to become the student of my student and to make his student my friend.
Mark designed a wonderful tour for us: Dublin, Bunratty Castle, Cliffs of Mohar,Galway, Kylemore Abbey, Sligo, Drumcliff, Derry/Londonderry, Denegal, Corrymeela, Ballycastle, Giant’s Causeway, Belfast, Back to Dublin. Our traveling companions were curious, interesting, and always up for fun — or as they say in Ireland, “craic!”
Since returning home, my attention has turned to visits with family and friends. I have been able to see my three college friends more often since we moved to Lititz. This blog has served as one place to document some of our adventures together. For fun, I used the search function on this page to find six posts about our college group from 2014, 2015, 2018, 2018.5, 2019, 2021.
Since we four have been friends since 1966, our paths have led in many different directions: to NYC, Utah, the gorges of New York, Virginia, Indiana, and other locations on sabbaticals and residencies. But now all of us are back in the state where we grew up, Pennsylvania, and three of us live in our original county: Lancaster. We got together one morning a few weeks ago for coffee and conversation in Mary’s beautiful back yard. Coffee turned into lunch, and after lunch we all toured Mary and her husband David’s bee hives on a near-by field. We were amazed by what Mary and Dave have learned about bees, how much they love caring for them, and how delicious honey tastes when you take it right from the hive!
When I am not traveling, visiting with friends and relatives, and planning upcoming book talks, I am indeed writing to or playing with grandchildren. Owen and Julia are coming home from camp this week. Lydia has Bible School and will be heading to Orcas Island with her family. We will all be together the last week of this month in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the new home of our son’s family.
So even though it’s not all about the grandkids, the other adventures of our summer will turn into stories, and sooner or later, we will all be telling each other the stories of castles, a sheep dog roundup, and the taste of fresh honey. What summer adventure are YOU looking forward to right now?