Archive for the ‘Relatives’ Category

Polishing and Fluffing in Anticipation

Friday, June 4th, 2021

Willard’s  four great-grandsons with their mom, Kathleen – 2004

I’ve been tidying up — polishing silver, directing Cinderella, and even doing a bit of dusting here and there — while Nyel has been planning menus and ordering last minute food items!  Charlie is on his way up from Los Angeles and the Willard Espy cousins are headed our way from points east and north.  The family (or at least a part of it) is gathering!  I am beside myself with excitement.

Willard and Dale, August 1914

We haven’t seen Charlie since Christmas 2019.  And, I suddenly realized, Willard’s grands and greats were here in January 2020, shortly after Charlie left.  They just missed one another that time so it will be the first time that Willard’s grandson Alex and my son Charlie (2nd cousins) have ever met.  Charlie and Alex’s sons — Max, Sam, Jack and Ben — did meet back in 2004 at Oysterville’s sesquicentennial, though it’s doubtful that any of them remember.  However, Charlie will meet Max’s wife, Micah, and Alex’s young daughter, Maddie, for the first time Monday.  Most of them will be staying here until a week from today.  Missing due to a health problem will be Alex’s mother, Mona, Willard’s oldest (by six minutes?) daughter and my beloved first cousin.  Damn!

Helen and Harry Espy on their 50th Wedding Anniversary, 1947

And oh how I wish Willard and my mother were here for this get-together.  They would both be so pleased.  And my grandparents, Harry Albert and Helen Richardson Espy — great-grandgrands to Charlie and Alex and  great-greats to the rest!  Oh my!  If their ears could burn, I’m sure they would do so.  I expect that we’ll be telling and re-telling all sorts of familty stories, some familiar to us all and some not so much.

I can hardly wait!

Here come the holidays!

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

Nyel (who follows these sorts of things) tells me that roast chicken is going to be the centerpiece of most Thanksgiving meals this year  So says the internet. That won’t be a change from “the usual” for us.  We’ve been a family of two for Thanksgiving for many years now.  But, I am just a tad concerned that whole chickens will become the new shortage — the déjà vu of the run on toilet paper last Spring.

Just in case the girls are catching wind of the trends on the chicken telegraph, I’ve reassured them that we won’t be looking in their direction should we run into a problem.  Too old and too tough — although I didn’t put the news in those terms.  I don’t know that Chef Nyel has a back-up position, but I’m sure he’ll come up with something festive no matter what.  Something to be thankful about — along with so many other blessings this November 2020!

And, from my cousin Lina Biegl in Austria, we have received our first Christmas gift of the year!  It’s a darling Advent Calendar featuring a glittery carousel with Santa and all the sugar plums and surprises anyone could wish for!  And, about the glittery part, it says on the back: “Hadebeglittert in Deutschland – Glittered manually in Germany.”  I love that!

This is our second-ever Advent Calendar.  The first was last year from Lina’s sister, Eva Legerer, who wanted us to share in a tradition that they have enjoyed since childhood.  (And actually, last year’s calendar was sent by Eva but she said it was from the two of them; I think that’s probably true this year, as well, though Lina didn’t mention it.)

We can scarcely wait for Advent to begin.  November 29th is the date!  Last year we opened a little window each morning during our pre-dawn Coffee Hour.  It brightened the start of every wintery day until Christmas Eve and we wondered how we had grown so old without experiencing such a pleasurable tradition before!  Thank you so much, my beloved Austrian Cousins, for introducing this wonderful custom!  And for remembering again!

From Fauerbach to Oysterville!

Sunday, July 5th, 2020

Tucker and Manfred

This morning I woke up to a lovely greeting from Manfred Marx who lives in Fauerbach, Germany.  He was writing in response to my blog of yesterday regarding his cousin Tucker’s story about Camp Tagum.  This is what Manfred said:  A Great Story from Oysterville:  Years ago Tucker, Carol, my wife Anni and I were at this place and Tucker told us this story from his youth… But he knew even more what they did with a skunk.

“Even more.”  Hmmm.  My curiosity was certainly piqued and I called Tucker to ask.  Right now, his internet is down so he hadn’t seen Manfred’s post and when I read it to him, he laughed and told me a couple of other Camp Tagum skunk stories — stories I’ll leave for him to share another time.

Manfred’s Daughter, Ute, at Our Grand Affair – September 2019

Meanwhile, I was so pleased to hear from Manfred.  He is Tucker’s cousin — second cousin once removed, I believe.  Tucker and I are seventh cousins once removed but on the other side of Tucker’s family, so Manfred and I are probably not even “shirttail relatives.”  (However, if we were all part of the Ilwaco Williams family, I think even those distant connections might count to get us to an annual Family Reunion if we had such a thing!)

I’ve met Manfred several times.  He comes to Oysterville every few years and Tucker and Carol go to Fauerbach every few years.  Manfred last came this way in September 2019 with his daughter, Ute.  They were here for Our Grand Affair celebrating the 150th birthday of our  house and it was Ute who opened the ceremonies with her German hunting horn.  It was very special and we felt honored that she participated.

Tucker has told us many wonderful stories about his visits to Fauerbach and we’ve met severral of his relatives (in addition to Manfred and Ute) who have visited here in Oysterville — including a Fauerbach cousin from the other side of Tucker’s family, Mariana, who actually stayed here at our house for a few days!  I would dearly love to visit them all in Fauerbach, though that seems unlikely to happen.  But how lucky we are to have access to the internet!  It makes “travelling” possible on a daily basis.  Almost!


Voilà! Valentine Visitors!

Friday, February 14th, 2020

I do believe they are our closest cousins — not relationship-wise, but residence-wise.*  But only for part of the year which accounts for a big part of why we don’t see them as much as we’d like.

Virg and Cheryl Kocher (she’s the relative — sister of Ralph who does lots of research for me — which makes her a 2nd cousin three times removed… maybe!) are arriving this afternoon!  I think the last time we saw them was just about a year ago.  I remember that Cheryl brought chicken painted rocks, a bookmark, and a bright red dish towel for the kitchen — all of which I still use and/or enjoy!

We used to go to Lacey where they live (mostly) from October through April.  And once we went to Lake Chelan where they live (read: play) the rest of the year.  Now that travelling is no longer an option for Nyel, we don’t see them as often and we are grateful that they are willing to come to us even now and then.

For several years, Virg and Cheryl lived over in Surfside — just a spit and a holler away.  We saw a lot of each other then and we still lament that family care situations resulted in their move five or six years ago.  (They’ll probably tell me it’s been more like ten…)

One of the hardest (and most unexpected) parts of aging is the limitations it can put on travel.  If this were an advice column, I’d say travel while you can, both near and far.  In fact, it’s those nearest and dearest you’ll find you miss the most should you become (God forbid!) housebound.

Hooray for Valentine’s Day 2020!  Once again, we feel blessed!

*P.S.  Come to think of it, my cousin Pat Wollner is closer all the way around!  She lives in Gearhart, OR and is my second cousin twice removed.  I think.  (What say you, Ralph?)