Long trips to visit family and friends. (Addendum)
From as far back as I could remember, we often took trips to visit family, especially during Christmas during the many years past.
For the most part, from 1970 onward there were few left on my fathers family side, and they often (even after once in a blue moon contacts) would dissappear back East into the silence of privacy which was a major mark of both sides of my family, both my mothers and fathers.
My Grandfather-fathers side (Raymond Marsh) passed in 1963,and his second wife (Pearl Harkins) moved to Tucson later in about 1968 until her passing in 1971. As to the location of my original Grandmother Eltka Tchereginska (an assumed name probably chosen, most likely a stage name had long time dissappeared into the notable ether of life--
I have snippets of some stage bills poorly conserved from the early 1900's under an assumed name of "Edwards"--but this is part of that unknown family, and its history (perhaps never to be heard of again)
My grandparents on my mothers side were frequently visited during my childhood until their passings in the 60's and 70's leaving not too many left in family from the San Francisco-
During the Christmas (and at other intermittent times) in1970's and 80's we would often visit my Aunt Mitzi Benkman (Erickson) and her husband Gene Erickson at their home in Tiberon California. At this time my aunts household would be the collection point for many memories as well as family visitors, such as my cousin Kris and other second cousins which would arrive sometimes to see us during the holidays.
It would be a wonderful occasion to go up to San Francisco,and the Bay area to visit them over Christmas as I well remember, though it was a long trip for us with my father and his busy schedule. We would make the drive nearly every Christmas for a while, and then sometimes head off on our own towards other destinations where my father would have business during the Christmas-New Years Break.
I do remember my aunts simple but wonderful house in Tiberon, remembering each visit with a certain fondness. We always stayed about a week (as to not to crowd their small home for others who may be visiting and staying there).
My aunt Mitzi Erickson was a flutist and I do remember on occasion she would play for us during our visits, even though rather short in duration and always wanting to spend more time to really get to know them.
They were very private people so it seemed and as time passed, being the last of my relatives, (including my mothers sister Constance Erickson-who passed in 1992) I really wanted to spend more time to share some of the events of my life with them.
I would travel up to San Francisco as often as I could and as often as time could be afforded to see them, especially after my fathers passing in 1992. (This was a really difficult time for me all around, the logistics of which needed support, or sometimes just relatives to talk to)
It was rather unfortunate that as the years passed that I could not go up to see them all the way to the bay area for various reasons, some being that I was far away in personal residence (Prague or Italy).
I never felt they were particularly thrilled about a residence so far away for me...especially in Eastern Europe where I lived from 1997- 2003...and then Italy onward until 2006.
I visited them the last time in 2003 after the sad occasion of my divorce from my Czech wife. It was a long trip and a difficult one during that time, as my entire life was upside down (but I tried not to show it, and just propose that my feet were landed upon,full and steady)
Both my aunt and uncle were in elder years and I tried not to be dramatic as to the things that happened, nor did I try to burden them with other details...respecting in some ways that status.
I offered to stay in California if they needed me to help take care of them. But I was made aware of a need for self sufficency and headed back to Arizona alone-having ordeals along the road that made a 4 day trip last nearly a month. (Another chapter)
Over the next several year I did write but had no response after Italy--when things did go awry with Marni (the opera singer in Torino-Turin) and the entire engagement debacle of coming back home to the US and fully setting to the road! Not dramatic but real!
Of course it was sad I realized the entire maze of the road--and wanted to go and visit...family. But this was a very unfortunate experience that I had dealt with and it was difficult too for others to share with, out of respects to by aunt and uncle being elderly---
The last relatives never wrote or gave me messages as to what was happening- My letters never were returned.
My Aunt Mitzi Erickson I heard passed away in November of 2010. yes it was a shock, but she had lived a fulfilling life into her 90's
She was my last blood relative. Of course I never had any news (good or bad), even though writing condolence letters--giving a return address--but no answer.
I held her last letter with memory in my hands sent to me in Italy
She was dearly missed-
I wanted to see both my aunt and uncle another time-
The days of traveling were difficult after my return--2009/10/11 where it was difficult to get any message out asides from Internet-