About a week ago I received an email from KQED - the local PBS station. They invited me to order free tickets for a taping of a new series - Genealogy Roadshow. I ordered two tickets and when I got my confirmation I asked my friend Marina to drive up to San Francisco to watch the taping. She said yes so we planned to drive up on Sunday morning.
Two days later I heard from my second cousin Bonnie. She and I have never met in person but her dad and I met at my grandmother's funeral 15 years ago. We've emailed and done Christmas cards for years and of course we connected as soon as we could on Facebook. Bonnie introduced me to yet another second cousin who is working on - you got it - the family genealogy of my grandmother's family. Patrick and I started emailing and we had a wonderful dispute over my grandfather's name. He kept insisting it was James and I kept telling him that was not possible since I was actually named Jerri after my grandfather. He double checked and confirmed I was right (and thanks to my cousin Nancy who checked with her mom to confirm my grandfather's middle name was John and not James). So much genealogy stuff in one week - who would have thought it?
Anyway, yesterday Marina and I hopped in the car and off to SF we went. We were early - we'd been told to get there about an hour early. Taping was taking place in the old Mint Building - which now a very cool museum. We stopped to chat with one of the KQED folks and he told us we could wait in the waiting room or if we had questions for a genealogist we could ask. I looked into the room and I saw what looked like my friend Jean Hibben. Jean and I met back in 1999 - when I had first moved to California. We had friends in common and we had all decided to meet up in Tahoe. I drove in through a horrendous late season storm. Thank god I had rented an SUV since some of our friends were coming from the UK with a skiing tour group (even though none of them skied). Jean, our dear friend Wendy and I shared one room at the hotel and we had a blast that weekend.
Anyway, I know Jean lives in LA and I couldn't figure out if it was here or I was seeing one of those doppelgangers we all have roaming around. I asked the man who she was - he said - Oh that's Jean , the chief genealogist for the show. I immediately went towards her with a big smile on my face. Poor Jean, I could see she could not place me right away (context is everything when it comes to facial recognition) and she said, "are you with the McCormick Family?" I told her no and my name and she jumped up and hugged me. She had had the same problem I had - she knew she knew me but not in the context we were in.
We had a wonderful reunion, chatted about old friends, she told me about the show and how much prep work it is to gather the information which looks so easy on TV. She did finally have to get to work, but I'm hoping we can see each other again soon. Marina and I managed to get in on one episode's taping. Amazing how much work it is, especially when everything has to stop every time a vehicle with a siren goes whizzing by (which in San Francisco seemed to be about once every 10 minutes). I learned a lot watching and we had a wonderful time.
The episodes of Genealogy Roadshow will be airing in September and October. If it does well they'll do a season 2. Like Antiques Roadshow they will be coming to different cities so if you want it to come to your hometown you better watch it.
Here are Jean and I with big grins on our faces.
And yes, Bizz did have to be left home. Yes he was a maniac when I got back. He did have Kelvin doing work around the house for company so he could have hung out and had a guy's day but he chose to spend it sleeping amongst his stuffed buddies.