Thursday, July 19, 2007

Q: What is a "PRE-UNION"?

A: It's the name of the event at which family generations who haven't yet met are brought together for the first time -- and Dad and Lou are hosting one at a mountain lake resort in Oregon this summer! (My creative dad coined the term.)

My parents had four children between 1952 and 1960; Lou and her husband had three children during those years, so between them there are seven adult children hovering around or just past 50 (and I'm the only grrrrl of the bunch). The many grandchildren aren't so close in age -- but that's only because my parents' grandchildren now range from 2 to 26! And Lou -- who doesn't look a day over 62 -- is a GREAT-grandmother to a few kidlets!

So for a long weekend at the end of July about 25 descendants of Dad and Lou will get together for fun and festivities. Just getting there will be an adventure for my family: I'm flying down a week early to help with planning, cooking, etc. (see note about being the only daughter of the bunch, above). Elisabeth is flying three days later because she has accounts in that area and will work a bit before and after. Tom and a kid or two will drive the nine hours it takes to get there in the middle of the night and Peter, Danelle and anyone left over will follow a few hours later.

The rest of Dad's descendants (and his sister and her meschpoche) will arrive from the San Francisco Bay Area, and Lou's sons and their kids will arrive from as far away as Texas. It should be a blast for all.

But, as much as I'm looking forward to the hoopla of the event, I'm probably looking forward at least as much to the week previous when I will live alone in the cottage that Dad and Mom built a few years before Mom died. This cozy cottage sits at the end of a short, meandering path from Dad's house (which is actually five geodesic domes put together -- a whole different post), but it feels to me like a completely separate world from anything outside it. I'm not sure whether this is because I lived there alone for the month previous to Mom's death and so it feels that it harbors many very personal and intense emotions... or if it's just such a cozy, quaint place that everyone feels so at home there. But I can hardly wait to be back home in "my" cottage.

And... I am meeting the author of this book for coffee and a walk in the park! Her book touched me deeply because, not only did her mother die of ovarian cancer as mine did, but because she lives in the same town that Mom did, everything she describes touched me that much more personally. I wrote to her when I finished her book, tears streaming down my face, and she and I have been in touch since, so finally meeting her will be poignant and wonderful!

But before I fly out of Seattle on Saturday, there is much to do! Before my interview this afternoon, I need to do some (pro-bono) work for Learning Friends. Tomorrow Elisabeth wants me to accompany her again as she looks at more condos, hoping to buy before we go to Germany. And tomorrow night I'll be cooking a farewell dinner before Eva heads back to Germany on Saturday (but we'll see her there in September).

And of course, if I don't get the camping gear together before I leave the family might show up without sleeping bags! Or maybe I'm just deluding myself into thinking that I'm still that much needed...

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