Family Gatherings

Mabell at Novato Parade

Two holidays and one hurricane brought our family members together in the summer of 2017. Independence Day attracted most of our family to Novato, California.  Shelby was the instigator, but the Eidsons were unable to come, as Sean started a new job at Southern Methodist University Business School that first week of July. We were all glad that Leslie’s mother, Mabell, could come; Margot, Nina, and Violet seemed to enjoy having two grandmothers present. Uncle Joe generously turned his house over to the rest of us while he stayed with a friend. We visited museums in San Francisco and Sausalito, collaborated on tasty dinners, and celebrated the Fourth of July watching the annual Novato parade.  After the parade, we explored nearby Petaluma and had an outdoor lunch. Some even went on to the Marin County Fair. Later in the week, we visited Muir Woods and the Exploratorium. A special pleasure was to have dinner with our old friend Alyce Boster and Joe’s son Hayden and his wife, Melissa. At this link is an album of 147 photos that give some idea of the activities we enjoyed together. Thank you, Joe, for a terrific week!

For Labor Day, Shelby suggested Chicago. Lilli found a comfortable and convenient Air BnB in the Lincoln Park section of Chicago. David got us all tickets to see the Chicago Cubs play the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field. He was the sole representative of his family, as Leslie had already planned a get-together with her high school girlfriends, while Mabell and Fernando took care of Margot and Nina. We explored Cloudgate and Pritzker Stage in Millennium Park, then had a relaxing lunch listening to a good jazz quartet. On Sunday afternoon we all went to see Hamilton, at the PrivateBank Theater downtown. The kids knew the lyrics to many of the songs and were on the edge of their seats for three hours. We kept discussing aspects of the musical through dinner and beyond. Here are 35+ photos from a wonderful family weekend.

And now, while I enjoy a long-planned visit with Marjo in Dayton, Ohio, Steve and David’s extended family are gathered in Quail Ridge to ride out Hurricane Irma. David:

Our 92-year-old house in Coral Gables is a little cinder block box with storm shutters all around. It is strong and I expect/hope it will survive. After all, it’s survived everything that’s been thrown at it to date. But, we decided to evacuate an hour north due to the risk of tree damage. Specifically, the idea that either the large oaks in the back and side yards or the elderly ficus out front could fall and split the house in two during a violent windstorm was enough to get us the heck out of there. We are now ensconced at my parents’ house in Palm Beach Co. in an 11-person, 3-generation, 2-language hurricane party. This house is younger and stronger and the trees are excessively pruned, much to our delight.

Facing Irma together

Update: On September 10, while Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida, Marjo and I headed for Michigan, praying for the safety of all in Florida. I kept in close touch with Steve, David, Leslie, and all those gathered at our house to face the storm together. Leslie’s mother Mabell, her sister Cindy, and Cindy’s mother-in-law Michelle all brought food from their freezers. Steve reported being well-fed and royally entertained. Thank goodness we had had a refrigerator leak repaired before the storm and had resupplied our wine cellar.

Margot and Nina enjoyed all the toys I have on hand and the attention of nine adults. With inflatable mattresses, everyone had a place to sleep. Our house had electric power the whole time, with only a few days without cable and internet service. By the time Marjo and I boarded the Manitou on the 12th, I knew that all were safe and their homes were undamaged. In fact, it sounded like they had had a great party without me!

Here’s David’s post on Facebook on Tuesday evening, September 12, which reassured me:

Now that I finally have some reliable cell service, I want to thank everybody for the well wishes and offers of assistance prior to the storm. We’re feeling thankful that we dodged a major bullet when many others have not been as lucky. The big trees shed a lot of limbs but resisted the temptation to fall on the house. The old house still doesn’t have power, and may not for a while, but it’s got a new story to add to its 92-year history. If only it could talk. #Irma

Image may contain: tree, plant, sky, outdoor and nature
Image may contain: tree, plant, house, outdoor and nature
Image may contain: tree, plant, sky, outdoor and nature



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