Journals, Photos and Videos

A great Skype call

What a fun start to the week! Today I started my day with a Skype call from my “new” cousin Angela Martin in Ireland. Angela had gathered her husband Ken, Mam Bridget, Dad Michael, son Diarmuid and daughters Ciara and Orla. Their third daughter Eimear was not available for the call.

We had a grand time! We spoke for 1 hr and 15min and probably could have chatted longer but people had a drive to get home so we had to agree on another call. It was 9am in Alaska and 6pm in Ireland and tho’ the distance is 4,000 mi....Orla....where are you with the conversion? Ah, there you are....thank you 6437.376 km ......the connection was like we were next door.

Our conversation started with the Winston connection........oh everything and back to the Winstons. We talked places, distances (with Orla translating for all of us), Diarmuid sang a few songs and then magically turned into a pirate after a shocking incident.....and he wound up with a hook for a hand...avast ye matey! I had the pleasure of taking to each person individually Angela, Ken, Bridget, Michael, Diarmuid, Orla and Ciara. What a delightful family and I am proud to say they are my relatives.

Ciara, the new bride of 1-1-11 acted as "moderator" when it was her turn to chat. It worked out very well as I could hear people asking questions in the background but could not really hear them clearly. She had the advantage of what looked like a Blue tooth microphone and they also had the speaker phone on so they all could hear when I answered their questions. The questions were plentiful and quite insightful.  It seemed that each one had a question about the trip or Alaska. It must have been a surprise when I mentioned that Colorado To Alaska was the same as Ireland to Alaska. The distance from Anchorage, Alaska (AK) to Dublin, Ireland is 4281 miles or 6890 km "as the crow flies" and our trip from Colorado to AK was 4,000ish miles. It is 4454.4 miles or 7168.6 km to Ireland from Colorado. 

Bridget may correct me but if I recall correctly her dad and my grandmother (Mary Theresa Winston) were brother and sister which would make her my mother's first cousin. It was great fun to hear her voice which reminded me of my grandmother and Aunt Fran with the lovely Irish lilt in her voice. The family had just come home from baby Cormac Winston's Christening and had gathered at Angela and Ken's house which made it perfect for a call and the timing worked out great.

Let me back up a bit.......once upon a time, I found out from mother her cousin Brian McCarthy and his wife Donna who live in San Diego, CA did extensive work on the Winston family lineage. Brian and I started e-mailing and when we came back from Alaska in ’04 I mentioned it to him and he said “if you ever go again....let me know because you have a cousin in Palmer, AK”.

As we prepared for our first work camping trip to Cooper Landing, AK (we went there the beginning of May and work at Wildman’s until mid September) I mentioned it to Brian and he introduced me to the cousin whose name happens to be Maureen and is also a nurse! She and her family had moved to OR with their jobs but was so generous prepping us for the drive. She was our “Mile Post” -- a famous book produced each year that tells you what you can see each of the miles along the Alaska Highway. We loved all her assistance and made a point to go thru OR on our way home so we could meet Maureen, Kemp and their son Kevin. The other children were grown and on their own.

Then, I received a note from Angela Martin in Ireland. Another “new” cousin and we hit it off right away exchanging e-mails like we had to get in as many as we could because we had a limited time before the Internet discontinued e-mail! Angela is actually the age of our daughter Andrea.....Angela and Ken have 4 children -- 3 girls 2 of whom have graduated from Trinity college (in their 20’s) and one in secondary school (teen), and finally a little boy 5 years old. Andrea has 2 girls 5 & 7.....a late bloomer.......

Along the way we found Chris Miller (Winston somewhere along the line - had never heard of Chris Miller....oh, that has Brian’s fingerprints all over it!) who asked if he could give my e-mail to his aunt who happens to live in Colorado. Sure! So we then met Rita Stanford who is Angela’s first cousin and naturally, Bridget’s niece. We have met Rita and shared several delightful dinners together. She is going back to Ireland this summer for a wedding and will most likely meet Bridget and her family at the wedding.

Then there is the DC connection.....Beth Winston Tordella who sounds like a character and we must get to know better. Auntie Kay who is my mother’s sister still lives in the Boston area and has a wonderful transcript from Beth to review and set us straight with the history.

Maureen’s sister Kathleen O’Brien hosted an absolutely wonderful luncheon last summer while many of us were on the east coast. Brian, Donna, Auntie Kay, daughter Kathy, Greg O’Brien and I had a wonderful time getting to know each other. It seems that we can all trace our history (hee, hee, see that Brian....I tried to take credit!) yes, thanks to Brian and grandmother was Mary Theresa Winston and her siblings are Rita, Maureen’s etc etc grandparents also.

So the conversation with the Ward/Martin family was delightful, educational (I hope for them also) and so comfortable and quite funny.....great senses of humor. I loved it! Thank you all for such a lovely time. I am anxious to chat with you again. We must do it when Maureen Pheley and her daughter Meg are here and some of our boys when they come for a visit.

The conversation ended with Diarmuid telling me all about his unfortunate mishap and how he would up with a hook for a hand and now was a member of the pirate life. He also ended with an Irish good Irish!