Thursday, August 07, 2014


Long story, culminating in this past weekend which was both lovely and poignant.
My dad went to high school with a fellow named Ralph. 
When I was little, Ralph and Dad reconnected when Ralph’s wife Faye was pregnant for their fourth child, and my mom was pregnant for her third child. 
I have three brothers and no sisters. Ralph and Faye had three girls and one boy. 
Our families spent holidays and weekends together through summer and winter all the years we grew up. Beth Anne was smart, and the coolest person I ever knew (in tiny town Ohio in the 1960’s/70’s she had a crush on Michael Jackson.) 
Robynn was close to my age, and the sweetest being I have ever met. I never heard her say a mean thing about anyone, no matter how angry she got. Julie was younger than I am, and sparkled and bubbled her way through life. She had a temper, but it passed like a summer storm. 
Kent was always up for fun, and had a combination of Beth’s coolness and Robynn’s sweetness. Anyway, Ralph and Faye were like a second set of parents, and their kids as much my siblings as my birth brothers. 
I still remember the camping trip when BethAnne announced she’d met the man she was going to marry (she was 15.) 
She was offered a scholarship to attend university when she was a junior in high school, but she knew what she wanted. She wanted Bob, and kids. And she got them.
When Beth got sick in the mid 1980s she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She lived 12 years. 
Robynn died soon afterward, it is still somewhat of a mystery but it is believed her husband set fire to the house. She and her son, Josh died. David died of skin cancer while awaiting trial. 
Soon afterward, Bob and Beth’s eldest son died while crossing a rail road track. 
Then a few years ago, we lost Faye to a very quick cancer battle. 
Ralph died in February, and we lost Dad in May.
Mom decided that it was time Ralph’s family and our family reconnected for something other than funerals, and invited everyone to her house this past weekend. It was so wonderful to see Julie again (Kent will be there next time, he was sick) 
I really got to know Julie’s three daughters and it was lovely rediscovering traits I first observed in BethAnne and Robynn. Grace, Beth’s daughter was there, too with her little girl (who is the spitting image of Beth Anne at the same age) and Bob was there too. 
Julie and I are sisters, and it was great re-weaving those bonds. We talked about the wonderful times we shared together growing up (like the time Beth tried hiding a HUGE dog in her parent’s bedroom closet, just long enough to convince Ralph the family needed a dog.. Jasper stayed with them the rest of his life LOL) 
It was fun telling the old stories to the next generation.
Thanks for listening.
(Photo is of the girls looking out over the creek in Mom's back yard)


AlisonH said...

Wow. I'm so sorry for all they went through in adulthood and so glad they and you all had such a deep bond.

We had a family like that growing up and the one my age flew to our coast a year ago and we got to see each other and meet each other's husbands and it was an incredible afternoon of reconnection--of that sense of belonging being as permanent as it ever was.

Good for your mom for pulling everyone back together. Wishing the best to all of you.

Kym said...

What wonderful memories you have -- and what a gift that you've been able to share them with the "next generation." Life takes some amazing twists and turns; it's important to hold on to those things that are constant. XO