I come from a large family, as many families are. I grew up with four
brothers and three sisters. I had cousins, nieces, and nephews I had never
met, all over the country. In our part of the world, a family event or celebration was always handled the
same way -- lots of food, lots of people, lots of fun! Being the eldest of eight, I
know firsthand about sharing, loving, and the celebration of life. No matter if money was
tight, or if our clothes were hand-me-downs, our mom taught us to keep on going, and to do
it with a song. Attitude, it changes everything! Ours was like most families in those
times. Life was simple, needs were basic and the human spirit was
unconquerable!! Of course, with eight children, we had our share of sibling
troubles! But those times form the basis for some wonderful memories
also. Our favorite sing-along when the family would be traveling in the car
together was Side by Side. This said it all.
We all sang, off key, hot and tired, but we sang lustily.
Now, our family is quite extensive so like
most people, we only kept in touch with a few uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces
who lived near us throughout
the years. My brothers and sisters are separated in different parts of the
U.S.A. and have really meant to keep closer contact, but, then,
you know how it is.
But on the days an event happens and we all get together, it's like we never left home.
And our hearts are full. And we are joyful!
I will mention just a few of the relatives that have made lasting impressions on me, that have shared of themselves, given me hope, guided me, and who have always loved me. Loved me from the time I was a kooky twelve-year old playing with hula hoops, to an adult, creating a home up in the mountains with my husband, while discovering the beauty of nature.
Some of the relatives I most admire are my aunt and uncle who live in Idaho, Aunt Clara and Uncle Ron. During a rough time in my teen years, they took me in and loved me as their own, asking nothing in return. I will be forever grateful for, in fact, they taught me through their example, the true meaning of unconditional love. And of course, Uncle Ron's fried oysters and great banana pancakes made the living just primo! Living in their home was a relaxed, fruitful time in my turbulent teen life. They have four grown children, Kim, Karen, Eric ( the young, cute guy!) and John. John lives in California has two beautiful daughters and is a proud grandpa of a beautiful little boy, Jordan. Ron and Clara are happy great-grandparents of a little girl, Morgan who is three years old. She already studies the bible and memorizes scripture! Uncle Ron is the kindest, humorous person I know!! Besides my Tim. I hope they spend some time together one day. My auntie Clara is such a neat person. She is very loving and a source of strength (Thank you, Jesus!) to our families. She taught me diligence, honor and forgiveness, which are sometimes painful lessons. I think I get my air-headedness from her! hahaha I love you so much auntie!!
A wonderful lady, my Aunt Gloria and her hubby, Uncle Jess, are truly special people to me. She has taught me much about life during the summer she took me in for an extended visit. This is where I first learned of my Indian heritage, and how to be proud of my Mexican ancestry. They are a loving, proud people with a great respect for Life. Auntie taught me to make tortillas from scratch, to make the wonderful Mexican soup, Menudo, and gave me the secrets of her famous, moist fruitcake. She is a great cook, and her enchiladas are truly inspired, learned from Grandma Mary's kitchen!
Always a wealth of ancestral information, she told me tales of our family, my mom and their brothers, and of her high school antics in such a humorous way, I was sad to end my visit. Uncle Jess introduced me to Funny Car racing at the race tracks, and Demolition Derbies when I was a teenager visiting during the summer. He had favorites and, to this day, he still loves to watch the races. Of course, he is a big football fan! And loves baseball! I cherished my private times with them, learning about gardening with auntie, and watching the pleasure a dynamic football game gave to my uncle, getting him to his feet to jump up and down in excitement!
Aunt Gloria suffered three strokes and the last one has left her disabled and without speech, although she is taking therapy, but now lives in a nursing home. Uncle is loving and patient and visits her every single day, often twice a day. I miss her so much!
I have a terrific aunt, Tina, and her husband, Al. He barbecues the best steak in the world. No kidding! His steak, ribs, and chicken melt in your mouth, with a savory, succulent flavor that is heaven. This is a very cool guy besides! Charmingly good-looking, with a great sense of humor and a heart of gold, Tina is #1 in his book! He always goes first class for her. Tina (she's Lou Lou to me) has been like a sister, a mother, and a dear friend to me for as long as I can remember!
When she came to live with us in Europe in 1958, I loved the long talks we would have walking through the countryside and how amazed I was that she really understood me and so an everlasting friendship was formed. I love her dearly; she has such a free, wonderful spirit and her love has always been unconditional. She is full of life, free and happy, with the joy and charm of an eternal child within her spirit.
She gave me my first hair perm when I was ten. I felt so beautiful!! I felt like a movie star!! My hair was Big, curly, and long! She is my best friend. She is just wonderful!! Nothing could ever get her down, she was first to answer to a dare, which at ten really impressed me, and the first one to do the unthinkable! We visited her and Al, and of course, Charley at Christmas, 1998 in Florida!! We fell in love with Charley!! What a sweet dog!! He was family, and they loved him so much!! But the great event of our trip was when Al sang, 'Peel Me a Grape'. It was hilarious!! We laughed til we hurt!! He is so much fun! We are looking forward to seeing them again soon! It would mean a trip to Mexico because that is where they live now, for most of the year. They have a big house not too far from the beach, so I am looking forward to the visit sometime in the near future!
My sister, Linda, is a sweet inspiration to me. Of all my sisters, her soul is the gentlest, kindest, and purest. She has always been there for me, practical, honest, supportive, yet gentle. It is so uncanny how, when I need strength and a touch so badly, I will either receive a call from her, or one of her lovely letters in the mail, addressed to 'My beautiful sister'. It will always have a word from the Lord which is His perfect timing. And it always makes me see myself through His eyes, as a Beloved, as a special person with a special purpose. Sometimes I wonder how she can be a mother of five, a loving wife, an active church elder, and a working woman, and still find time for me, her big sister. To me, she is the goodness in my life, and will be for all my days. She tells me all I need is Jesus, He has a plan, a great plan, for my life and she is right, I trust Him completely. And this past year, He is closer than ever, through health problems and financial problems, He is always there, making miracles in my life!
When I was little the world was so exciting! Make-believe, drawing, paper dolls, and roller skating were my most favorite things. My little brother, Sami, loved forts, bugs, and mud. I loved him with all my heart and we were inseparable! He joined me in all sorts of adventures! Such a tender heart even at that young age! He had the most beautiful smile; his eyes would twinkle merrily and that smile would warm your heart. He still has that same enchanting smile today! And he loves women. Loves them in a wonderfully refreshing way, with admiration, as priceless gems. I am so proud of the man he is today and his many achievements. I just wish he didn't live so far away. And isn't it fitting that he has two daughters, the most important women in his life. I treasure our memories together and I especially love this photo of my son, Keith, when he was less than a year old, with my dear brother, Sami . Here is an early picture of Sami with my son when he was less than one year old.
We have recently been doing business together, I help create and design graphics for the web sites we create together. He has advanced so much, even learning Flash program on his own and an expert now in databases and setting up E-commerce sites for the clients. I have also branched out and have started doing web design. My latest is a garden center site.
Of course, all of our family is not represented here or on the Family Album page. We have relatives in Los Angeles, San Jose, Fresno, Mexico, Santa Cruz, Oakland, Santa Rosa and even some in Texas and New Mexico.
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