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.