Saturday, July 19, 2008

Last week we went to Wisconsin for a family reunion.  It was lovely.  

(It's not often that those two terms, family reunion and lovely are used in the same sentence.)

We were celebrating my grandfather's 93rd birthday.  He was born in 1915.  

The cottages were old, and fairly well cared for - linoleum tiles on the walls

 (baby blue and dark brown in the kitchen, yellow and red in the bath), kno

tty pine cupboards and trim, gawd-awful beds with fitted sheets that didn't hold, and feather pillows with no support. I'd go back in a minute though. It was so nice to live in that leave-it-to-beaver kind of way - I'd send L to my aunt's house to get coffee, or butter. We'd take turns feeding the lot of us (15-20) at our respective cabins and then sit around and ask my grandfather questions about his early life.  The kids and I sent him a book called "me and My grandfather" or something like that. It has lots of questions followed by blank pages to write in. we learned how he met my grandmother, (during a stomach surgery - she was a student nurse, he was a resident), their first date (in which they both held down a patient during electric-shock therapy), where he proposed to her (the garden of a mental hospital), why he decided to be a doctor, pranks he pulled. It was very very fun. 

As my mom is dealing with cancer and the bitter aftermath of chemo, she couldn't come to the reunion. (too many germs for her suppressed immune system) So it was bitter-sweet to spend time with her sisters without her there. My mom has 4 sisters - I did get to look at each one and appre

ciate those parts of them that are like and not-like my mom. I really am so lucky to know (and be related to) so many interesting people.

 and my girl-cousins were there, and they are wonderful and supportive and huggy, which is just what I needed. (one brother, and a few boy cousins were also there. They too are huggable, and creative, and super cool - gives me hope)

My kids loved spending time with those relatives.  M fell in love with my aunt Sara.  It came as no surprise, as Sara and M are cut from similar cloth: the youngest, very girly-girls.  My aunt looks a bit older than me, but not much.  She's fit, tan, and dresses the part.  She and M were squealing over in the corner about being twins (they both had lip-shaped band-aids on), being the babies, etc.  Sara said, “M, you'll have to come visit me”  and a little while later, M came over to me and said “I have a new Mama now.  You can come visit us.”  and she was serious!  When we finally figured out that M was planning on moving to Colorado (she is only 4!) it took us awhile to talk her down.  So funny/cute/etc.  

We came back home through the Upper Peninsula.  What beautiful country!  I can see why I-27/I-75 is packed every Friday.  Who wouldn't want to run away to that?