Sunday, August 2, 2015


 I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the meaning of family?  There are many ways to describe family.  What comes to mind first are blood relatives, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and all the extended family.  There are times when people who are not blood relatives are family.  It’s untraditional, but family nonetheless.  My mom wasn’t raised by her parents, but by her widowed grandmother.  She never knew her own mother.  When we were young she became close to a woman in our ward who lived the next street over.  This woman had moved here with her husband and kids from Holland.  She had family, but they were still back in Holland.  Mom and Ann created a “family unit” that was closer than blood ties at times.  I often think it was their way of making a family to take the place of a void in their lives.  I found a few pictures from Facebook for this post.  This picture shows my parents in the middle, my grandparents on the left (my dad’s parents), and Ann and Walt on the right.  This picture is so special to me because it shows my heritage, my family.

There was a special bond between our family and the De Haan family.  Their house was where we spent holidays.  It’s were we celebrated being family.  When I think of the special moments in my young life, it’s always with them.  Camping trips, dinners, getting together on Sunday nights, playing games on New Year’s Eve.   Ann would take one child at a time for a week during the summer.  We felt so special to spend time in their home.  She would share her Dutch chocolate and salt licorice with us.  Walt was an excellent carpenter.  He made cedar chests for the older girls until his health didn't allow him to work with wood anymore.  
 We were close with their 2 youngest children, Lavada and Ken, who were still at home.
(Nann getting birthday spankings)
Tracy, Jenny (??), and Walt
(Ken and Bryan) 
 (Camping trip to Fallen Leaf Lake)
(Walt, Kathy, and Kyle) 
 (Walt and Dena "making a picture")
 A few weeks ago Lavada, came for a visit.  It was fun to sit back in my parent’s house and hear everyone reminiscing about the good times we had.  Even though our lives are full with our own children and grandchildren now, we are still family.  I feel like I am who I am because of the foundation that was formed years ago between our two families.  I feel a connection with their Dutch heritage through their stories of Holland and how they lived through the war.  They taught me to love salt licorice and Dutch pastries.  Even though Ann and Walt have been gone for many years now, I still hold them close in my heart


Nann said...

You captured our growing up years and family. And I remember Nasi Goreng, cucumbers in oil and vinegar, strawberry sandwiches, driving to SLC to go shopping (and the break test!), bowling on Thanksgiving, real Gouda and Edam cheese, knitting needles and yarn, camping at Fallen Leaf lake, Hummel's on the shelf, the smell of wood in the garage, and being loved.

Lavada said...

Okay, slow day at the library. Thought I'd check out your blog. Now I'm crying. Love you too! You are my family.

Pat said...

You made me cry too.