Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Family Reunion

When Annie Clare McFadden and James Elmer Wells married, they could hardly have known what that union would produce, entail, have to endure, or even how they would inspire so many generations to follow.

My Grandparents ~ Jim & Annie Clare

Annie & Jim gave birth to ten children:  Frank, Martin, Edith, Elmer, Dan, Hugh, Jimmy, Ed, Evelyn, Helen.  Jimmy is my Father, who went on to marry my mother ~ yet another "Helen".

The Rawson Clan
Tim (died in a car crash at the age of 20),
John, Helen, Mary Ann, Bob, Richard & Hank
The Wells Clan
Carol, Jimmy, Me, Barbara, Helen & Dolores

When the youngest, Helen, was just a toddler her Dad (my grandfather) was working far from home with several of the older sons.  In a sad twist & due to the lack of good dental care and/or anti-biotics in that day, he died rather suddenly of an abscessed tooth in 1919 ... only 50 at the time.

(Left to right:  Frank, unknown, unknown, Martin, unknown,
James Elmer/Grandpa, unknown, unknown & unknown) 

An indomitable woman, Annie continued to homestead & raise her brood alone until, one-by-one, they left home to begin a life of their own.   Eventually she moved from the farm into town, where she continued a life of family devotion & community service until her death in 1956. 

Annie Clare & her sister, Bridget (circa 1945)
Since I was born in 1948, this is how
I remember my grandmother.

Jim & Annie Clare are long buried and so too all of their children.  My cousins, sisters & I are now the "Oldsters", having taken the baton passed to us with the departure of our beloved fore bearers.  Beyond us extend a vast & growing sea of children, grandchildren and ~ now ~ even a few great-grandchildren.   

Last weekend many of these generations gathered for a Family Reunion.  It was a tradition established a long, long time ago, when the children of siblings Jimmy & Helen often got together in similar fashion halfway between our locales (they lived on the East side of the Cascade Mountains; we lived on the West side), either at a campsite near Leavenworth, or at a park on the old Blewett Pass.  

My family represented the citified folk; theirs the country cowboys.  Our times weren't limited to reunions, for often each family would travel to visit the other.  Many of "we kids" would be left to stay for weeks on end with the cousins.  

How I loved leaving the all-things-girly realm for the all-things-gritty one.  Afterall, the Rawson Clan had four boys & one girl (who the brothers continue to affectionately torment to this day); and those boys meant plenty of baseball, tree-climbing, Snipe hunts, sleeping under the stars, scrapping & teasing.  I cried every time my parents came to collect me, not wanting to leave.

Much of this is a distant memory now, which is why we endeavor to make new ones.  Moreover, we seek to honor Jim & Annie-Clare, Jimmy & Helen, and Bob & Helen.  They left us a treasure so rich, so deep, & so vast we are blessed to this very day.

As we oldsters seek to pass the baton ourselves, there continues to be an emphasis on family that makes that passing a true delight.  Besides, we've got big shoes to fill, and so will the coming generations.

Reunion June 2013   

A blend of Rawson & Wells cousins
and their progeny.
This represents about 40 % of us;
the remaining 60% were
not able to join us this time.  
P.S.  It is our hope to share this tradition in 2018 with the other descendants of James & Annie Clare ~ other cousins that derive from their noble stock.


Sharon said...

I loved reading about your family! I talked about one of my grandfathers this week on my blog, too. It's so special, isn't it, to have such a rich history of memories. Good, bad, or ugly - there's nothing like family!


Renee Regnier said...

Thanks for sharing Kathleen!


manthano said...

Isn't God good giving us loving caring families?
Especially those we can look to with pride.

Thanks for the post.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

While reading this, I'm chuckling, thinking about a show I've been enjoying - "Alaska Frontier" (or something like that). It follows the lives of the Kilcher family as they homestead in Alaska. Their grandfather fled there from Switzerland when Hitler began his terror. It's been fascinating to see this rugged, rough and tumble lifestyle. I imagine your family having some of the same inclinations.

God bless those Rawson/Wells women. Tough stuff - the stuff of pioneering. Keep to it, Sassy one.

Cheryl Barker said...

We were part of the citified folk in my family, too :) That's great that you keep the family reunions going. It takes effort, that's for sure. We've got a family reunion coming up in a few weeks. Really looking forward to it.

Sonja Goodson said...

Our roots go deep, and we have both come from strong families. What a lot to be thankful for.

I love family reunions, our last one was when my mil died a few years ago. Everyone gathered and it was such a special group. We all knew it. I like your idea of gathering at something other than a wedding or funeral!

I can't wait for that special family reunion up there, with all of those who are already there! :)

Debbie said...

I love to read of stories like this where the roots run deep and have been nurtured and encouraged to grow. Family is everything but it takes real effort to keep it connected. Looks like you all have done a great job. Glad you got to go.

Peggy said...

Family reuions are so much fun.

skin peels said...

This is awesome! Family reunions really are fun and I am just amazed that you were able to trace your family tree and still have old pictures of your descendants. Great job in sharing your family history.

Denise said...

Really liked this post.

Just a little something from Judy said...

my mother's grandpa passed away at age 50 from the same thing yours did. How sad! And, my granddaughter's name is the same as your grandma's name. First and middle names. How special! This is so interesting to me! What treasures we have in our family history. Once again, you have a way of making it all sound so interesting. I enjoy family reunions too.

Maryann said...

I love these stories and all the old photos. Reunions are wonderful especially as so many families are spread throughout the country...it helps keep connected and it's a time to share all those wonderful memories (important for the generations that are following) Glad you have made this tradition