Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Truly Trotter

The majority of my life has been spent surrounded by my mother’s family, the Rehfeldts.

Since there were 12 Rehfeldt children and many, many second and third generation Rehfeldts, it’s obvious I grew up with a healthy respect for family and saw aspects of my own personality reflected back in my Rehfeldt relatives.

But, in truth, I’m only half-Rehfeldt. I’m also half-Trotter.

My dad’s family was much smaller. Only three brothers. Dad’s story reads more like Cinderella – a mother who died young, a gambling father, and an evil stepmother.

Seriously, an evil stepmother.

It’s a long, drawn out tale and most of Dad’s growing up life still makes me very sad when I reflect on it. But in truth, it was the hardship growing up that made Dad resolve to be a better father than the one he had. I benefited from that resolution, as I had the most caring, sensitive, truly funny, and simply wonderful man in the world for my very own father.

Okay, I’m a little biased.

Anyway, back to the Trotter’s – I never knew my grandmother, for who I am named. She died when Dad was a teenager. I never met the grandfather who gambled his life away and died alone in a hotel room. I never knew my Uncle Phil who committed suicide when he was only 21.

I only knew my Uncle Jimmy. And he was in the FBI. And that was SO cool; it made up for everything else.

Do you have any idea how awesome it was to say, “Yeah, my uncle’s in the FBI.”?

My father and my uncle were never very close, although I knew my dad loved his brother. For some reason, they weren’t connected by the closeness I had come to expect from my mother’s family.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit my Trotter relatives only a handful of times. I barely remember a visit when I was toddler. Another visit was when I was about eleven or twelve, and the most recent was when Mom, Brett, and I went to my cousin Suzanna’s wedding.

My Uncle Jimmy graciously agreed to give me away at my wedding, and my cousin Will attended the wedding. In fact, Will was standing next to me in a couple of photos, and everybody wanted to know, “Is THAT your husband? He’s GORGEOUS.” And so he is. Soft-spoken, southern accented and very handsome.

But, I had to inform everyone, I was actually marrying the tall Swede over there getting sunburned in the shade.

Still, admitting I was related to GORGEOUS, wasn’t exactly horrible.

My Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Susie have four children. Suzanna (my only other girl cousin on the Trotter side), Jimmy Jr. (Dad always called him “Bubba”), Andrew (all I remember is tall and nice-looking), and Will.

Will was the reason I wanted to name my first kid Will – I thought he was so cool when we were kids. I still do, even though I haven’t seen him for years now.

Since they live in Virginia and Florida, mostly, I don’t much get the chance to keep up with my Trotter cousins. However, Mom sent Uncle Jimmy an e-mail directing him to our blogs.

Uncle Jimmy decided to set up a Trotter blog (with my cousins) so we could all keep in touch. I hope to be frequent contributor, and I hope you’ll stop by and take a look.

After all, we all knew I couldn’t get this crazy with just one family involved!

Please read the first post by Uncle Jimmy (Pappy – as he’s known to his kids and grandkids). It’s about my blog and one of the sweetest things I’ve ever read.


Juliet said...

I'm so glad that the TROTTER CLAN has started their own blog. Now we can see pictures of the whole family. Especially the new babies.
Love, Mom

WendyJanelle said...

Wow. Neat. And sad, too. I'm so glad that your fam set this up. Wish someone in my family would do that... wait, both of my sisters did. But it would be nice if some extended family would get involved.

Ann-Marie said...

Thanks Wendy. If I wrote anybody's "life story," it would be my dad's. It shows what God can do in how He turned Dad's life around to glorify Himself. It's a very sad tale, but it has a happy ending!

Robin Hayes said...

That was really sweet what your uncle wrote about your picture.

Jimmy Jr. said...

Hi Ann-marie! I loved reading your story about our shared family. I remember being so impressed that you all made it down to Nanny's wedding with moments to spare. The pictures I saw from your wedding were beautiful! I'm glad we're reconnecting in cyberspace. Talk to you soon. Love, Bubba

The Beard Bunch said...

Even though I only get to be related to half of you---I am very thankful for that :0 I checked out the Trotter family blog, and it was very cool----I think God really likes blogs. They are good at helping people keep in touch. Love ya, cuz!

Pappy said...

I did it! I followed your instructions and was able to add your "Truly Trotter" post to the Trotter Family Blog. Thank you.
Incidentally, and confidentially (yeah, right), I think Will always thought that you were something of a "fox" too. I've always suspected that there were more than only one reason why he wanted to come to your wedding. But then again, you two were the closest cousins in age...
When he calls, he often asks if I've heard from you.