October 10, 2009
From left: Dale, Betty, Don, Dave, Carsten, Heather, Mark, Donna, Camden, Brian, Mom, Robin, Nathan, Jennifer, Karen, Dayna, Richard, Dianna, Gisele, Daryl (Early Saturday morning, Devon & Derek were still sleeping)
I grew up in a big family: 4 brothers and me, the only girl. We had a lot of fun as kids, taking lots of family camping trips, swimming in the back yard Doughboy pool, chasing dust devils across vacant lots, getting ice cream sundaes at the local Dairy Queen, and celebrating homemade holidays. When we reached adulthood, we all married, had kids and scattered across the country. Amazingly, we have not all been back together in one place at one time in 40 years! This weekend, that changed. From the four corners of the earth (well, maybe just four regions of the country), we came. Richard and Dianna, Don and Betty, and Devon came from California; Dayna came from Texas; Robin came from Idaho; Dale, Jennifer and Dave came from New York; and Karen came from Pennsylvania. We converged here in the Mesa/Tempe area (with Mom, Brian, Carrie, Lauren, Nathan, Andrew, Daryl, Gisele, Derek, Heather, Mark, Camden, Carsten, and me) and had the time of our lives.
Donnie, Dale, Dick, Daryl, Donna behind Mom
It began about six months ago when Mom connected with Dale’s oldest, Karen, on Facebook. We have not had much contact with Dale’s family over the years, so it was a delightful surprise for Mom to hear from her. In quick succession, we all “friended” Karen, then Dale and Dave. (Jennifer is in school full time, and as a dedicated student, has resisted the time waster called Facebook). Karen soon announced she wanted to make a trip to Arizona to meet her grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins she had never known. Through wall posts, FB inbox messages, and email, we began to put together plans for a long weekend in mid-October. When Karen wrote that “we are all four coming”, we were ecstatic.
I didn’t even ask Robin if there would be any possibility of her coming because she had just been here in August. But she had other ideas and secretly made plans to join us … and surprise me.
Dave, Heather, Brian, Robin, Jennifer, Karen, Dayna behind Grandma
Starting Saturday morning, our mouths didn’t stop for the next two and a half days. We ate. We talked. We watched old home movies. We ate. We talked. We toured L.I.F.E. We ate. We talked. We slept a tiny bit. Did I mention we ate and talked? We compared jobs, iPhone apps, bald heads, musical passions; and patiently smiled while Daryl’s neighbor s-l-o-w-l-y focused 12 cameras, one by one, taking our group photos.
It was a wonderful weekend. Here are some pictures. As you can see, we spent a lot of time around the table. Did I mention we ate and talked?