Yesterday was a visit day....sitting on my Aunt Wilma and Uncle Ray's patio. Aunt Wilma and Uncle Ray (on left) are the owners of the family home that was my Grandmother's. My Mom (center) and her twin (right) were born in this house. The house has three bedrooms and one bathroom...They were child number 10 and 11 to my Grandma Goldie :-) Mom likes people to know that she is the youngest....I understand that :-)
It's interesting to sit and listen to the sisters telling stories of old....they each have a different memories of most stories! Occasionally I would have to throw out there that " its interesting how kids all remember things differently even when brought up in the same household"....it does help end the debate :-) On this particular day I learned that Aunt Wilma made a doll house upstairs for the twins and even made sure they had water for bathing their dolls....evidently Grandma wasn't real pleased with the water being transported up the stairs. It's not as if they could have occupied the bathroom to bathe their dolls, not with 11 kids!
Gene at one time lived in the house next door to the family home, so he was around all of our Aunts and Uncles early on. Evidently Gene was responsible for setting several small fires on the property and I believe I heard something about him rubbing chocolate into an area of carpeting??? Gene of course put the blame on his Uncles as they provided the fire crackers that started all the fires. Gene grew up to be a Forest Ranger!!!! Coincidence??? I let the reader decide :-) So though not perfect, he is a very special man to all of us......
Much was said about the family garden that they all evidently put way too many hours into. Most vowed to never have a garden when they grew up and didn't. Obviously with all those children a garden was a smart choice when the cost of feeding them came up! In conjunction with the garden they canned most everything and stored it all in a very organized fashion down in the root cellar. The root cellar, has the lift up door just like the one Dorthy's family lifted to get to safety from the tornado that touched down in Kansas and left poor Dorthy on her way to Oz :-) (My favorite movie).
I loved going down in the cellar as a child, but only if an adult or several cousins went with me...A very damp, dark place...and geeze we were underground! Many dark little corners down there and who knew what was hiding back in them! So many memories for me in this house....mostly those of sliding down the stairs from upstairs on our rear ends...well I guess it was more like bouncing down and they were steep! A talent I passed on to my sons when they were little :-)
As we sat and visited, what started out as a group of 8 to 10 gradually built to 20 and higher. Family just keeps pulling in from all over the states. I had told Bob on the way here, half joking, "wonder if I will meet any relatives I haven't met yet?" Trust me its never ending! Sure enough I met two new cousins, Terry and Susie my Uncle Shorty's(Everett's) children. Its really cool to meet a new family member, and you can tell in the eyes of the "new" one your being introduced to that they are generally happy to meet yet another Herndon too! I love it!
With what seemed like an hour to agree on how many to make a dinner reservation for I called Sir Scott's Oasis the local steak house, just across the dirt road from the family home, it would be 20 for dinner. Sir Scott's really is a great little place to eat and a bit of a family tradition. In past years with family reunion's we tend to eat a meal or two there. One year Sir Scott's put on a barbecue behind the place for the family of probably 90 of us, including a band playing country on a flat bed truck :-) That same year they were building onto the little place and it wasn't quite finished, drywall was up and that's as far as it got before the mass of Herndon's arrived. All were given markers and we all got to writing our names on the drywall, some left little thank you notes to the proprietors. Great memories :-)
The main reason so many are coming into town at once is that we lost our sweet, sweet Aunt Rosevea, Mom's oldest sister a couple months back and on the 12th (today) we are all here to attend a celebration of her life service. That means there are still family members I anxiously look forward to seeing today that I haven't yet.
My favorite part of today was each time the train rolled through this little town of Manhattan, not a
blocks stretch from the house patio, blowing its horn. Its a sound and sight I loved as a child and still do today. Not only did my Mom and Dad work on the railroad, so did three of my Uncles and one Aunt that I know of. It's as if those that are no longer with us, in view of where we sit on this patio, occasionally pass through in a form and sound one couldn't miss, to remind us they are still with us.......
Words cannot describe the love I have for every member of the Herndon family. Of the eleven Herndon children, only the three girls remain, but the memories and stories of how each touched our lives are ever present. I count myself blessed to be a part of of all of them....