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Saturday, April 25, 2009


It was Sunday night and we were coming home from one of our weekend camping trips around Southern Illinois. It was dark and as we turned the corner onto our street, the headlights shone on a car parked in front of our house. It was a station wagon. None of the people we knew had a station wagon.

As we got closer to the house, I heard my mom say under her breath, "oh dear." The station wagon had Maryland license plates. Or, maybe West Virginia. It was too dark to see who was inside that car.

We pulled into the driveway, got out of the car, and went in the backdoor. But, instead of the usual routine of going to the bathroom, then going back outside to unload everything, my dad went ahead to the front door, and my mom stood at the kitchen door strangely blocking me and my brother.

Soon we were all crowded into the dining room: My mom, my dad, my brother, me, a lady, a man, and five boys. No one was saying anything until, for some unknown reason, the lady looked right at me and said, "I'm your father's niece and these are your cousins. What's your name?"

Niece? Cousins? My head was spinning. Before that, I knew his parents and brothers and sisters had all died before I was born. But that's all I knew. I never considered there could be others. Before I could say a word, my dad pointed to the back and told me and my brother to take the five boys outside.

So, the seven of us stood on the patio in a circle in the dark while the adults were inside in the light. We stood there in awkward silence. Then, my brother somehow produced a softball and said, "anybody want to play catch?"

And before anyone could answer, the lady came to the back door and said, "say goodbye, boys. We're leaving." And they left. And we unloaded the camping gear and put it all away. That was about 45 years ago (maybe a little less) and I never saw or heard from those people again.

Posted by Marie at April 25, 2009 8:56 PM


Is there more to the story? Did your dad mention them ever? Were they on their way to witness protection?

Posted by: delmer at April 25, 2009 9:38 PM

Delmer, Yes, there is more to the story, but that's another story for another day, I guess. No witness protection. LOL.

Posted by: Marie at April 25, 2009 9:48 PM

Wow, what a strange thing to have happen.

Posted by: Joe at April 27, 2009 8:25 PM

Please make today the day for the rest. I'd like to know why they were there and why they waited so long for you to arrive and then just took off.

Posted by: Kem White Author Profile Page at April 28, 2009 11:32 AM

A few days late, but I'm with Kem. Though I well understand many reasons why the rest might be difficult to relate. Great tale, in any case.

Posted by: Dan at May 2, 2009 10:45 AM

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