Welcome to the 12th installment of The Grandparent Project! This is an endeavor to revisit family memories with my relatives in California and my children in the Midwest by posting digital copies of my old snapshots and piecing together our shared history. It’s been a great adventure in itself as well as a reminder of the incredible journey we’ve already had.
Today’s episode takes place in the year 2002 at Mammoth Lakes in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California. Grandpa George was 69 years old and an avid hiker. My siblings and I can probably all agree that his model inspired us. I am glad to say that he may also have inspired my children. At the time of this visit, they were 17, 15, 13, and 11 and their cousin Cristina was 9. My mom and my husband were physically not up to hiking the trail we chose this time, so they stayed back at the condo (with Susan and Emily?) while the rest of us went to find Lake George. My father was always the leader, a very strong presence and authority and a keen map-reader. This was the first time I saw him falter in his sense of direction. What is now apparent is that he was beginning to come under the grip of Alzheimer’s disease. I am very glad to have pictures of him on this day. It was a gorgeous trek and fitting that it centered on a destination that shares his name.
We went through Yosemite National Park as well on the way back to the Bay Area. My husband and I had gone there on a date way back when I was still in High School. He picked me up at four in the morning and returned me to my parents’ house by midnight. I was thrilled to go, but it was a lot of driving. Returning to the park with my children two decades later, I couldn’t help feeling sad and disappointed at how much smog and congestion were visible. It makes sense that my California family avoids that particular area and chooses less well-known sites in the Sierras to hike.
I would love to arrange future family hikes in the Sierras. Let’s see how many of us can get out on the trail when we’re 69!
“Explore the classical elements of earth, air, water, and fire. How do you capture something invisible like air, or the movement of water? Or, more personally, is there a place you go to feel connected to the earth?”
Air, water and fire form a double rainbow touching Earth.
Connected to the earth, from head to toe.
This online family photo album is all about visits between my family on the West Coast and my family in the Midwest. So far, I’ve chronicled 1985 through 2000.
In the summer of 2001, we took a road trip to the East Coast. While we were away, my mother-in-law passed away in her apartment. Three months later, the World Trade Center towers were attacked. We did not visit with our California family that year.
The next summer, though, we had a marvelous visit! I found a trove of photos of the gang of seven cousins enjoying the Bay Area and each other. Here we are at the San Francisco zoo:
(I know I took one that has all the grandkids together on this beach plus Jim and John and Sarah, too, but I can’t seem to find it.) * My sister Sarah found it!
…and bumming around San Francisco.
And as if that wasn’t enough, we also spent time hiking and horseback riding in the Sierra Nevadas near Mammoth Lakes with the grandparents. I’ll share those pictures in the next post.
Such a sweet deal having relatives to visit in northern California!
This online family photo project allows me to pool and share snapshots with my children here in the Midwest and my family of origin in California. Yesterday, my sister in San Francisco sent more photos of our visits up to the year 2000.
I love her caption to this one: “desperate characters skulk at the airport –in 1995, way before TSA”
One year later…
Our basement became the slumber party headquarters, and our two cats got lots of attention. Here’s Phantom in the spotlight:
The next year, the Galassos went west again. Here’s Rebecca celebrating her birthday in San Francisco in 1997, showing off new front teeth and a Kids’ Klub membership card. Cousin Amrit’s birthday was the next day. The Kids Klub was quite creative. Here’s the Headless Emily costume they made:Visits to the Khalsas’ place always included board games, music-making, neighborhood visits to Haight-Ashbury shops, and lots and lots of laughter. I’m so glad and proud that our kids created a safe, happy place of interaction with each other. Having the skill to develop a trustworthy social circle is very important and became life-saving as they grew into their teen years.
Thanks, Dharam, for sending these great photos!
The Grandparent Project is my online family photo album, connecting my West Coast family and my Midwest grown children in shared memories. GranneLouise has seven grandchildren in all, spanning eight years. Here’s how they all looked in the year 2000. So, this is the Millennial generation of our family.
Like many families, we also have a coincidental grouping of birthdays. Our “Cluster Month” is August. My husband and I, my brother, my brother-in-law, my grandmother…and I think my grandfather, too…all have birthdays in August. I’m going to take a stab at assigning the exact dates, and I’ll let my family correct me where I’m wrong. Jim’s is the 26th, mine is the 21st, David’s is the 18th, John’s is the 25th, Grandma Marion’s was the 1st…and Grandpa David’s was the 23rd. (*confirmed by GranneLouise)
I also have a cluster of photos from these middle years of our kids’ lives up to the year 2000. If you want to see the gallery of pictures in a slide show of full-sized images, just click on the first one and advance one by one.
This concludes the first 15 years of grandparenting. The next 17 years saw fewer cross country visits as all our lives got more complicated, so my photo records of those years are pretty sparse, but the stories are pivotal. Moving toward adulthood brought challenges and opportunities that shaped the character and personality of each of these young people. I think they’re all super special, and I’ll share that in the next Grandparent Project post.
Nature loves to combine textures with remarkable contrast.
Cold, smooth, and rough:
Fuzzy and rigid:
Wet slippery, dry and grainy: