“Smile a while, and while you smile, another smiles. And soon, there are miles and miles of smiles. And life’s worthwhile because you smile.”
I spent last weekend at my son’s wedding celebration, surrounded by similar smiles. Genetics and orthodontia have collaborated to give my kids what I believe (in the most unbiased way) are the most beautiful smiles on Earth. My hobby and therapy is collecting as many as I can to look at when they’re not around.
The Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes, known to 2-year old Josie as the “Die Bees Walk”, took place on a gorgeous fall day in Chicago. The route was a three mile circle around Lincoln Park and just a mile and a half from my daughter Emily’s home. By a great miracle, all four of my children were able to attend, plus my eldest’s best friend Katie (the mother of little Josie), my son-in-law Andy, and my middle daughter’s boyfriend Jake. I took lots of pictures, got some exercise (seven miles of walking total, I figure), ate a delicious gluten-free vegan meal, and collected hugs and kisses from my children. Totally satisfying! Here’s the gallery:
In this blog project, I’ve posted digital copies of my family photo album snaps and a chronological narrative to share with my family in California and my grown children in Illinois and Wisconsin. I’ve gone from 1985 to 2008 so far.
Some time around 2009, my sister Dharam and niece Amrit came out to the Midwest for some winter fun. I admit that I don’t remember exactly when this was.
In March of 2010, after seven years of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, my father passed on to a new life. My brother-in-law John put together a beautiful slide show of pictures of George.
After the memorial service, we gathered in the Parish Hall of St. Luke’s (where my wedding reception was held in 1984) and shared our memories with Dad’s best friend Tim, his sister Judy, and others. Then we went back to the house, and of course, we ended up singing silly songs around the piano – a very Heigho way to celebrate. (And you’ll notice who ended up wearing The Hat that I mentioned in Part One of this series.)
In July of 2003, Grandpa George celebrated his 70th birthday at the historic Benbow Inn in Garberville, California. This was one of his favorite places. He first took me there in 1985, when we were traveling to Oregon for my sister Sarah’s wedding with my 9-month-old daughter, Susan. I was quite impressed and loved feeling pampered. There was a decanter full of sherry in my room. That was the absolute clincher!
It is easy to see why he liked it so well. It’s just his style: elegant and close to nature. He spent the days hiking the redwood trails and the beach…And in the evening, he’d dress for cocktails and dinner. On his special day, the dining room packed us a picnic to take into the forest. How perfect to celebrate his life in the company of tall redwood trees, “Humbolt Fog Goats”, and the magnificent coast!
My brother grew very fond of this place as well. It was one of the first places he vacationed with his wife. He has a pretty interesting story about that trip, too…..
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”