I learned I had a new relative this week.
And he opened up a whole new world to me.
Sometimes you forget how incredible of a world we live in these days, when documents from decades ago, and photos you never knew existed, show up.
A man contacted my father and sister through Facebook a few days ago, saying he was a long-lost relative and had pictures of my grandparents to prove it.
I was dubious. Sounded like the beginning of a scam.
Then my Dad sent me the pictures the man had sent, like the one above, of my grandparents shortly after they were married.
I was blown away. I’d never seen anything but my grandparents’ wedding photo, and this was such a beautiful shot.
Then my new relative, named Vito (of course, as a Jewish family I doubted we had a Vito in the clan), sent along a ton of other pictures. Of my grandparents, their brothers and sisters, and what surprised me most of all, a naturalization certificate from a relative who had recently become a citizen.
Vito also sent a handmade family tree, showing how all of us are connected, complete with spouses, children, and everyone else. It’s an amazing piece of work, one he’s been working on for years.
It was like opening a history book of your family, and it was such a beautiful surprise.
What possessed Vito to track us down? I was thinking about that today. We all want to believe we’re connected to somebody else, and that our family stretches back centuries (If everyone who says their family goes back to the Mayflower was telling the truth, that ship would’ve had 425,000 passengers).
Getting in touch with someone we might be related to, even if it’s distant like it is with Vito, makes me feel more a part of the world. And I think that’s something we all need sometimes.
****You may have heard last night that Gary Coleman, once and forever Arnold Drummond on “Diff’rent Strokes,” was in critical condition at a Utah hospital.
The guy has had a tough life, no doubt about it. Some of his trouble was self-inflicted, but a lot of it wasn’t.
Hope you pull through, Gary. And for all of you who, like me, loved the show that made him famous, enjoy this: