The Smiley 360 "Capture Your Summer" Contest

I think I once calculated that in the first 21 years of my life, I moved 26 times. This was due in part to my dad being in the Air Force when I was little, my first husband being in the Marine Corp, and just life in general in between those two stages of my life and after. It is hard for me to believe that I have lived here in southern Ohio for 21 years now, but it still doesn't feel like "home".

 It is said that "home is where the heart is" and if that is true, then "home" for me would have to be in Vincennes, Indiana.  

Vincennes is a town richly steeped in our family's history since before the Revolutionary War. It is where my dad was born and raised, where my mother and I lived with my grandparents while my dad was serving in Vietnam, and also where we moved to when my dad got out of the service and returned to civilian life.

This is me when I was probably around 1 year old or so, with my grandpa, "putting my dukes up". lol He died when I was 4 but I have some great memories of him. I still miss him!
This is where I spent summers with my cousin Beatrice. Not sure what my mom was thinking putting me in such a short dress! lol (Then)
Now (about 38 years later)! I am on the right. I can't believe I'm posting this picture. I didn't have any makeup on yet and my hair wasn't fixed!
Vincennes is where much of my family still resides. Family that I don't get to see often enough.

So, what does all that have to do with my summer? Simple! I got to go to Vincennes with my children twice this past July! My children learned more about their heritage and we all made wonderful family memories that will last a lifetime!
In early July, we attended the Joyce Family reunion. I must say, it was a bit strange when I ran into people who knew me, but I had no clue as to who they were. Can't really expect me to remember people I haven't seen since I was 2 though, right? lol
(Second) Cousin time!
Photographs (that I had never seen before) of my dad & his twin brother and of my grandparents.

My Uncle Danny (my dad's twin brother), Uncle Jim, Uncle Bob, and my dad. All very dear to me.

(Sadly, my Uncle Bill wasn't able to make the trip from Mississippi.)

My daughter, Mamaw (my mom), and my niece Jess enjoying a very cold smoothie on a very hot day, in downtown Vincennes.

Here are some photos that my daughter took while exploring   downtown, before and after the smoothie break.

Inside the George Rogers Clark Memorial.

This past winter, the old Gimbel's Department store building,  where my grandfather worked as a young man, caught on fire and burned down. Family story is that while working here, he carried a rather heavy set woman across the street which caused him to develop a hernia, which in turn resulted in him being turned down for enlistment into the military.

More pictures of downtown Vincennes and the Wabash River. Cross the bridge, and you enter Illinois!

My cousin Judy and I, together again at last!

When we went back towards the end of July, I got to reconnect with one of my cousins whom I had not seen in probably 25 years. Judy made a spur of the moment trip from El Paso, TX (almost a 30 hour drive) with two of her girls to Vincennes, so I made a spur of the moment trip as well from Ohio (a 5 & 1/2 hour drive) to see her again after all these long years. She is like a sister to me and the 24 hours my family spent with hers was the highlight of our summer! 

We spent part of the day playing with the kids at the Ouabache (Wabash) Trails Park. Our family used to have family picnics and get-togethers here when I was growing up.

Two of my kids, with three of their second cousins (Jamie, Nat, and Hannah)! It was the first time we had ever met them, and everybody got along great!

To swim, or not to swim? Cooling off in the hotel pool after enduring 112 degree heat! 

She finally decided to swim! This is Baby C with my oldest daughter Nanny.
Mr. B was finally convinced as well. 

My twin daughter Miss M with (second) cousin Dani. She was such a sweetie!

Nanny, braiding Princess Wuwu's (Dani's) hair. Nanny is learning Korean and for some reason, after being around her for awhile, Dani decided to dubbed herself Wuwu. :)

Ending the day with pizza and ice cream. Besides spending time with family, what could be better than that?

My kids (minus my 2 youngest who were already in their car seats), my cousin Judy's kids, and my cousin Jimmy's kids in front of the Marriott where we stayed during our visit. This photo was taken right before we were getting ready to leave and head back home to Ohio. What a wonderful visit, and one none of us will soon forget! It was truly the pinnacle of our summer!

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