Leila Sisson Case: Nice surprises come in varied forms

Published 2:47 pm Saturday, July 14, 2018

We found a cousin. Actually, she found us. Finding cousins is a rarity. Like a bright copper penny, cousins pop up when and where you least expect. The experience is kind of like suddenly finding a nickel in a parking lot someone unknowingly dropped. When that happens I smile, pick it up and drop it in my pocketbook where it falls into oblivion not to be seen again in the light of day or dark of night until months later when I clean out my purse.
Our cousin has been just that all along. We just didn’t know she existed. She located our family through a website a nephew developed for the purpose of an extended family reunion which unfortunately had to be postponed. However, we plan to gather in the future and hopefully our newly-found distant cousin will attend so we can meet her up close and personal. We’ve exchanged emails and phone calls and had a delightful hour-long conversation in which she enlightened me even more about a family line I had little information about.
A few years ago, I discovered distant cousins in Americus. That was indeed a delightful surprise. We call them “kissin’ cuddens.”
Have you researched your ancestry? Or delved into genealogy? If not give it a try because it’s fascinating. There are surprises around every corner.
I was surrounded by family history growing up. Thankfully there are no ghosts in the closet. Among my ancestors were doctors, journalists, elected officials, merchants, soldiers and war heroes but no teachers unless you count my stepmother Lucy, which you can’t. She was related only through marriage to my father. Lucy was my second-grade teacher and she guided me through the rebellious teen phase. Thank goodness, she did. I learned a lot from Lucy.
We have ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World Wars I and II. A cousin on my maternal side of the family was a pilot with the elite Flying Tigers. I’m fortunate to have known him and I have a video about his experiences.
One Revolutionary soldier, John Sisson, is buried in Jackson County, Georgia. He lived 98 years. I hope I inherited his genes for longevity.
About 20 years ago, my brother and I decided to go through the proper channels to have John Sisson’s gravesite and headstone, located deep in the woods near Pendergrass, marked so it could be preserved for future generations and not destroyed by encroaching development that did eventually happen. We’re glad we did because in the intervening years an automobile assembly plant was built nearby as well as residential developments. Thankfully, our Revolutionary soldier’s final resting place and that of his wife and son are protected and undisturbed amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy area of metro-Atlanta.
So, try delving into your ancestry and genealogy. It’s fascinating and a surprise waits around every corner. Besides you might find a cousin or two out there who may be your nextdoor neighbor. I did.
Meanwhile, our good friends Sally Markett, her daughters Beth Fowler of Americus and Anne Markett Lee and her husband Bill Lee of Atlanta, visited Sally’s brother, John VanVoorhis and his wife, Muffy, at their home in Goose Bay, Maine, recently. They enjoyed visiting the botanical gardens, dining on Maine lobster and boating. Incidentally, Maine, known for low humidity and cool days, was having what the meteorologists said was a heat wave and warning citizens to take precaution. The daytime high was 85 degrees F. I wonder how they would describe Southwest Georgia’s hot weather. Extra heat wave?
Elsewhere, John and Tiffany Dean and daughter Mary Catherine Dean along with Joshua McKie, Kendall and Anthony Dragoin and children, Parker and Chandler, Katey Simmons and sons, Banks and Turner, have returned from St. George Island where they spent the week of the Fourth of July. While there they enjoyed deep sea fishing for red snapper that was a big success. And of course, sunning and swimming in the Gulf. Incidentally, Cathy Slaton of Mississippi, Tiffany’s mom, is visiting the family this week.
And welcome home to Southland Academy’s Varsity and Junior Varsity girl’s cheerleading squads who attended cheer camp on the campus at the University of Georgia with Coach Susan Welch. I am anxious to hear what awards they brought home because they always win big in competition.
Huge congratulations to Richard Nettum, who has retired from the Southwest Georgia Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, where he was a dedicated and competent assistant district attorney many years.
Billy Carter is celebrating a birthday today. And Joni Woolf has enjoyed entertaining her daughter and son-in-law, Tracy and John Schroeder of Rome and Mary Wilder, Ph.D., of Macon, a longtime friend and who Joni calls her writing mentor. She is former English department head at Mercer University in Macon.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.