This last Saturday was filled with the joy of Don’s birthday party. A wonderful mixture of family and friends ranging from age two to eighty-something, showed up for this gala event and shared in food, laughter, music and dancing. People have gathered for generations to bond, heal or to share in the wonderful gift of life, and I believe this weekend was no exception. My experience of sharing Don’s birthday with him deepened our own bond, but also reminded me of the gatherings in my own family, both large and small, and how they have helped to shape me into who I am today.
I have wonderful memories of Thanksgiving at my grandparent’s house in Cloverdale, where my parents, my brothers and myself would meet my aunts, uncle ad cousins. Along with the wonderful food, and many hours of play, we would look at photographs and talk about old family legends. My favorites were stories about my mother growing up at a Sawmill Camp and sneaking pickles from the over sized pickle barrels. Along with the happy, funny stories were the difficult, sad experiences of my grandparents growing up during the great depression.
This Thursday, January 11, will be one year since my grandmother passed away. Over the years, she and I have shared a love of creative writing. I used to love to spend time with her talking about writing, and I was even given the privilege of reading one of her journals from the 1940’s. Her other passion was researching our ancestors, and then sharing her experience of finding relatives who lived in our family history. After my grandmother died, my aunts asked me to be in charge of her family history research and writings. I can’t tell you what an honor and gift it is to have my grandmother’s writing and family research.
Today, the gatherings in my family feel different without my grandmother. My grandfather and I have carried on a long standing tradition with of monthly lunches, including Don and other family members, where my grandmother’s presence is still strong.
(c) 2007 by Susan Littlefield