Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ocean Grove with our Neely cousins

From Ballarat, we headed back to the coast for a couple of nights with my cousins, the Neely family.  My mom's mom, Mary Neely, immigrated to Canada as a war bride in 1946 from Glascow, Scotland.  Her youngest brother Billy headed to warmer climes and the shores of Australia with his wife Rachel and her family, the MacDonald's.  So my mom has an aunt and a raft of first cousins in Melbourne, and they are the best people imagined!

John and his wife Rachel (sorry, this is where the story might get confusing) met us at the beach, along with their boys Scott and Matt, ages with Travis and Derek.  John's sister, Leslie and her son Dion (also 15) were there to meet us as well. The five boys instantly bonded as they were off to catch the waves - it is so great to see our kids connect with our extended family, as the generations reconnect.  I am sure my grandma as well as Uncle Billy would have had huge grins on their faces watching their children's children (and in our case, add another " 's children") play and laugh over the same video games and movies.  On the Racine side, Donna and Mark spent time here in the early 80's, then Rick and I, then Donna's Tyler, and now Mom and our second trip have made the connection.  I would encourage the Neely side to pay us all a visit back - we would love to have the chance to introduce you to more of your Canadian family, anytime.

John cooked up a feast on the barbeque, which the pack of teenage boys managed to wipe out almost completely.  And yes, there were shrimps on the barby, too.  We had a great time catching up since our original meeting at Christmas 92, and my Mom had just been visiting in January so John was able to fill us in on some of their trip stories too.

We spent the night at Ocean Grove, a little deja vu there.  John's caravan site is at the same park as our friend  Peter's, so Rick and I recognized the place as we pulled in.  We had spent New Years there with Craig and Kirsty, Peter and Kirsty's sister Fiona, once upon a time.  It is across from a great surf beach, with the river flowing on the other side creating a sandspit several miles long, excellent sunrise and sunset over the water, too.    We found Peter's caravan, but no one was there for the weekend, but it reminded us again we need to find a number for Peter before we leave the area, to see if we can connect.

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