Nancy Perry Graham EDITOR
Until recently, I was the Scrooge
of online reunions. For me,
Facebook had yielded more nonsense than names from my past.
But in March I hit the reunion
mother lode, after signing up for
Ancestry.com. I had a single (and,
to my mind, far-fetched) goal:
to track down the first cousins I
hadn’t seen since I was around six
years old, my uncle George’s kids.
My dad and his younger brother,
George, had died within nine
months of each other, in the late
1960s, and after that our families drifted apart. As the decades
passed, I often wondered what
happened to Pat, Linda, Susan, and
Jimmy Perry, my closest link to my
paternal heritage. I assumed I’d
never see them again.
Yet within minutes of entering
information about my dad’s parents on the family tree I’d started
building, Ancestry notified me that
“tracip70” was working on the same
tree. And there on her tree was my
dad. I sent tracip70 a message, and
within 24 hours I got a response.
Her mom, she said, was Linda
Perry; her great-grandfather was
George Elliott Perry Jr. (my “
grand-pop”). Astonished at the fast turn
TOGE THER AGAIN Five decades after last seeing one another, Nancy and her cousins, from
left, Susan, Pat, Linda, and Jimmy Perry gather at Pat’s house on the Chesapeake Bay.
of events, I wrote back, “Hi, Traci:
You are my first cousin’s daughter!”
Within 48 hours my four long-
lost cousins, my two brothers, and
I were madly e-mailing pictures,
catching up, and friending one an-
other on Facebook. Most surpris-
ing of all, my cousins all live within
driving distance of me in Virginia.
We agreed to meet at Pat’s house in
Yorktown, Virginia, on April 1.
I’ll never forget the thrill of
watching Pat, Linda, Susan, and
Jimmy appear, one by one, at
the bottom of the porch steps
as I drove up. We hugged,
we shared pictures and stories—and now I know three
other women who share my
husky voice. By the time I got home,
e-mails about a bigger, summer
reunion were already in my in-box.
These days, it seems, the family that
clicks together sticks together.
Watch video of the Perry cousins’
reunion at aarp.org/familyties.
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