|[Denise Smith first contacted the website on 15th January, 2003, researching her Parker family ancestors of Wrington, who lived at Havyat Farm. On 2nd June, John King, of Alveston, Glos. wrote for the same reason. After further correspondence, Denise brought the story up-to-date with this fascinating and touching entry on the Schmoose page on 15th August, 2011. It is archived here as a fitting contribution to the Personal Quest section of the website - Ed]
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On Shaky Ground 25th Feb 2011
It’s amazing how things come about. It’s unsettling the feeling of butterflies in the stomach. I hadn’t expected that. I hadn’t really thought about it from that angle. It all started so long ago. How time has flown.
It’s funny really, how you raise your kids and keep a watchful eye on them as far as internet use goes. How you warn them about the dangers. How you hope they won’t fall prey to undesirable characters, or form a possibly precarious relationship with someone on the net whom they really don’t know. You spend all that time & worry on your kids, and it doesn’t come onto your radar that you could also be sucked into the vortex of the internet.
It all starts so easily somehow. You learn a few basics, develop your confidence, become curious, investigate, become even more curious, and before you know it you are hooked. Hook, line and sinker. An addiction really.
Who me? An addict? I wouldn’t really say that, or admit it to others but yes, I guess I am, and now look where it has led me.
I’ve been awake during the night, contemplating my actions. I’ve gone over all aspects of my decisions. I’ve justified them all to myself, to my kids, to my friends, and just to reassure myself, I justify it all over again to myself. Really, if it was any of my children doing this I would be questioning their sanity, questioning their level of responsibility, and questioning them again. I’d ask them to reconsider, think of others, don’t do anything foolish. But this is my decision. This is me being selfish. I’ve been sensible and made safe decisions for decades. While not throwing caution to the winds completely, I am throwing away the shackles. I want to live, to be alive, follow my heart's desires, my deepest desires. I want to put some excitement and adventure into my life. I want to let the winds of the unknown blow the cobwebs from my staid & safe existence.
Yes I am nervous, and the butterflies are wreaking havoc in my stomach. It is such a long way. Some have tried to convince me not to come, not to flirt with danger. However my yearning to fulfill a dream from my bucket list has made me steadfastly determined. There are too many undone things on my bucket list, and time is not on my side. The grey hairs and creaking knees are testament to that. But why should age and its unwelcome accompaniments stop me from following my heart and achieving a dream?
I dress carefully. Pity I hadn’t continued that diet and exercise regime I promised at New Year. A few less bulges would have been a big improvement. I double check my hair, my makeup, my shoes. Too late now. I will have to pass muster as I am.
I’m finally on the threshold, clutching gifts in my arms. I have come all the way from Australia to New Zealand. Will we recognize each other? Photos we exchanged on the net weren’t all that clear. Our one phone call was brief, very brief, but the accent was charming.
The butterflies swarm. After years of emails will we like each other in the flesh? We do have some things in common, the village of Wrington in Somerset where our ancestors came from, a love of research, a desire to meet. Will it be enough? One hears of love at first sight, or hearing bells, but when the crucial moment comes I had not expected this…to be greeted by a hug during the seismic activity of Christchurch, New Zealand.
“Hello John King”.
“Hello Denise Smith”
I finally meet my distant cousin, and present him with a copy of my Parker Family research.
Note: At the time of sending this, unfortunately, the earthquake activity continues, and our thoughts go out to all those who have been so badly affected.