Sunday, February 8, 2015

2015 Week 6: Travels and Memories

Two family deaths this week, both nonagenarians and both family historians. I feel like we are on our own now to reconstruct the past from what they left behind. More later.

Several times this week we gazed out our windows at life in our wintry woods. How many deer can you spot?

Most Monday evenings on our way to Stephan's meal we enjoy beautiful lingering sunsets.

I should clarify that this week it was a Karen et al meal. Stephan was driving back from Ottawa, Canada, where he got a First Place award in the one-man competition for "Joie de Vivre."

He made it back safely in the night, 3 a.m.Tuesday, after passing many a winter travel misfortune.

Fresh snow beautified our surroundings while making driving more hazardous.

Wednesday, February 4th, was Leah's birthday. I stopped by with lunch and gifts. She immediately tried on the new t-shirt. Which gift was she most excited about: book; window markers; heart dishes; meaningful T? Or, which ones elicited the loudest exclamations?

The same day we heard that Aunt Gerry passed away and realized that was exactly eleven years after her sister, Mike's mother. We visited her two years ago in March and took her out for her favorite meal: a bowl of chili and a cup of chocolate ice cream. Then we walked across the road for her favorite shopping experience--Goodwill.

Thursday was taken up preparing to travel to the funeral in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
Mike spent the day working on the robot, making a long list of tasks to be accomplished in his absence. After the students arrived for their work-evening, he explained everything, made sure they understood what to do, and headed for home. I was waiting with everything packed and ready to leave.
We arrived at cousin Rosie's in Chicago around 10 p.m., had a wonderful visit, slept a few hours, and continued our journey the next morning.
We arrived a half hour into the visitation hour, not intentionally, but were able to talk to everyone there. At age 95 there were not too many left to mourn her passing.

Geraldine Hensel, 1919-2015
She had been a widow for nearly 40 years. Wilbur died in 1976. They had no children so Gerry greatly appreciated her nephews Terry and Mike.

After the short burial ceremony, two tasks remained: clean out her room and have a celebratory meal at Tucker's--her favorites chili and chocolate ice cream.

Brothers Terry and Mike, and Sandy
Two important visits remained: to sister Carol in Winneconne, and old friends the McMullins in Omro.

Step sister Carol and Mike were best buddies growing up. As a boy, Mike spent summers at his Dad's and the two of them, closest in age. had many adventures together.

 We are so grateful for the brief opportunity to visit Carol in spite of having just been through a second round of chemo for the cancer she's been fighting the last few months.

As we drove through Omro we spotted the little church we attended the year we lived there.

 The people there were very good to us when Sam was born and we left to join the ship Doulos shortly after.

Our dear friends, Randy and Marlene McMullin and their boys became like second family to us. They have been gone now over five years. But we had a sweet visit with two of the sons in the old homestead and also a couple of their kids and little grandchild.

 We could not linger, however, as Mike needed to get back for the Saturday robotics work day as the deadline for completion is only days away and he is the only mechanical mentor.

We received news today of Uncle Bob's peaceful passing Saturday after two days in the hospital.
He was my father's sister's husband, a well-known theologian. I last saw him in June of 2013 and wrote about it here. The Old Man and His Big Book is a wonderful article that tells his story.

Of course, the post would not be complete without a Rebecca-sighting. I did not get to see her so again I am borrowing from Facebook, and thrilled that the photo includes Daddy-Matt.

A techie like Daddy?
In the days and weeks ahead I have many photos and things to sort through and process.
Perhaps my blogging commitment will make it easier for Rebecca to look back and make sense of her family background.


Kimberly Hoyt said...

I wonder if Uncle Bob left any type of memoir? Or if someone recorded his stories? He was such a wealth of information! We were amazed at how sharp his memory was when we saw him in 2013. He could look at old photos and tell you the circumstances surrounding the photo (and who was there but not in the picture)! Blew us away.

Stephan's work is spectacular, as always. Too bad he missed meeting our friends. Maybe next time he goes to Ottawa.

I'm guessing the T-shirt elicited the loudest response. Although, since I don't know what the book is, I can't say for sure :)

Karen Kay said...

Our condolences Mike and Rita on the loss of your loved ones. Our reunion in heaven will be a 'wonderful' time.

Stephen's sculpture was amazing!



The Bug said...

I love that t-shirt! I should find one like it for my niece...

So sorry for your double-losses, but glad of the long lives and many memories...