A few days ago I went on the coolest field trip. My cousin and I did a family history tour. We explored the places that were important to his parents and my parents and our grandparents. I loved meeting some of the extended family that I'd seen before on zoom, and I loved being in the cemetery where my grandparents were buried. I have a new satisfaction from this physical connection. Being able to feel the summer sun and the dust on my feet, these are part of finding my roots.
This journey actually began sixteen years ago. Rewind the clock and I was super pregnant with baby #2 when my dad's dad passed away. Of course I was too pregnant to travel, so I missed the services. Years went by, and the time finally came when I thought I'd go pay my respects to them in Colorado. I have good memories of my Grandma and Grandpa Bare living there when they were older. So of course it seemed natural to find the little cemetery by their house, where they'd be buried. I drove the eight hours from our home in Utah, across the mountains, to a little town in the Denver area. I went straight to the cemetery and took two steps forward, when the thought came to me, 'You'd better go ask your aunt where to go, you won't be able to find them without her help.' So I went inside the house and chatted with her, only to realize that they were buried in KANSAS not Colorado. Well. At least I tried.
Fast forward a bunch more years, and finally the time is right and I decide to make my way to Kansas. This time I enlisted the help of my cousin Mark, knowing that he'd know where to go and I could lean on his knowledge and connections in the midwest.
I set out early in the morning, leaving Texas when it was dark. At the Oklahoma state line, I was greeted with the old familiar sight of casinos all over the place. Remember Nevada was my home for a while too? So seeing all the casinos was super fun.
Stopping in this little town just made me smile.
We spent some time in Wichita and appreciated the Native American history. I love the wooden carvings on this totem pole.