Monday, January 01, 2007

Some Really Good Years!

The above photo - a collection of photos actually - represents to me, some of my favorite things about my Mother's family.

Starting with the photograph on the bottom - which obviously is also the oldest picture of the group - this is one of my favorite pictures! This is my cousin Ray Eld, who never fails to harrass me about how very much older I am than him - all of three whole days, you know! This was taken on the front steps of the house where his family lived back in the 40's on Blackadore Street in Pittsburgh. I'm not sure how old we were exactly on this picture but I think we were three, maybe four years old. Ray figures that most likely it was taken shortly before my grandparents, my Mom and I were getting ready to leave there and return to our home in Clearfield County, which is pretty much dead-center in the state of Pennsylvania. His reasoning behind that is because I am dressed up a bit, cleaned up, whereas he is looking a bit on the ragamuffin side on this shot! Therefore, he says that means I was about to go for a long ride and he was staying put, no need then to get him all decked out in Sunday-go-meeting clothes if he wasn't going anyplace. Yeah Ray, your logic makes sense to me for sure!

The couple on the right hand side of this grouping is my Mom's baby sister and her husband - Edward David and Marian Theresa Eld Bird! Uncle Ed was originally from Niagara Falls, NY and was Irish in ethnicity and of the Roman Catholic faith too - all things which normally, by my grandmother's standards for one to marry a child of hers should have made him absolutely TABU! By comparison to the rest of the children in the family, Aunt Mamie was a bit of a rip - not bad, but she sure didn't live a quiet, calm, staid lifestyle like her siblings and their spouses did! Not by a long shot! Of the girls in the family, she was the most fun-loving. My Mom and the older sister, Aunt Ethel, were by comparison "houseworkaholics"!!! Aunt Mamie liked to dance, sing, play the piano and not just church music either and go out, have a few beers and enjoy life! Uncle Ed operated much in the same vein. I spent the summer of 1951 living with them and my Mom just outside Fort Niagara, along the Niagara River. The best thing about where we lived there - it was a huge old farm house and the second floor had been converted into an apartment of very nice proportions - was that they had a beautiful full-blooded collie -named Coral - who was smart as a whip and just a really great dog for a seven-year-old to romp around the yard and play with. The next best thing was that they had a tv set too and since the location was fairly close to Buffalo, NY, we got quite a few good stations and Uncle Ed and I used to love to watch the equivalent of that era to today's World-Wide Wrestling matches! Ah, such fun!

The photo to the left in the middle is one of my favorites for the people in it and the occasion of the event. It was taken by my cousin Ken Eld on the day I graduated from Penn State University (May 14, 1994) with my B.S. in Rehabilitation Education. And those around me are my daughters, my oldest, Carrie, on the left, then me, then my Aunt Mary Mawk Eld and Amanda (or Mandy), who is my baby. She was probably the one who, next to me, was the happiest to see that day finally arrive! She and her late husband, my Mom's yonger brother (Uncle Cookie) had always wanted to see me go to college but I never was able to get around to going to school until 1990, eight years after my uncle's death. When I told Aunt Mary of my decision to go to college, fulltime, while working fulltime, and with two teenage kids at home too, she was probably also my strongest supporter, giving me loads of encouragement every step of the way over those four long years! I'm so grateful that I had her beside me while trying to achieve that goal of my college degree. I just wish that things would have worked differently and I had been able to find employment in the area of my major to show her that I really had learned a lot in college after all!

And finally, the top photo was taken at one of the Annual Eld Reunions! We have been having this family reunion since July of 1950 and since 1967, we hold it at a very small private park about five miles from where I live in the village of Lanse, PA. It's a very pretty, quiet little secluded place with a very nice sized enclosed shelter that also has indoor bathroom facilities (a bonus in parks) and also a nice sized kitchen with an electric range and refrigerators too. Today, it even has a microwave oven in the kitchen. And it has always been large enough to accomodate some of the largest reunions our family has ever held but sadly, the past few years, it seems to dwarf those few of us who still faithfully attend this annual picnic.

Those on this photo are all grandchildren of the Adolph and Ellen Johnson Eld branch of the family tree and those on this picture - around our Aunt Mary Mawk Eld are as follows from left to right (sort of): Becky Eld Reid, daughter of Clarence "Cookie" and Mary Eld and the youngest of my grandparents grandchildren, next there is Carl B. Eld and his older sister, Nancy Eld Lang - children of Bertrum and Nellie Simpson Eld. Carl was the first grandson and Nancy was the first Grandchild in the family. The next cousin is Barbara Eld Donaldson, Daughter of Ralph and Hazel Stoughton Eld, followed by Aunt Mary Mawk Eld, then me and my cousin, Kenneth A. Eld, oldest of Clarence and Mary Mawk Eld's children is directly behind me.

I wish I had a photo now of all the children of those of the six of us in that picture. Beck and her husband have four children, all adopted from Korea; Carl and his wife have two daughters and a son and now have 8 grandchildren as well as a great-granddaughter; Nancy and her husband Howard have three children - two boys and a girl and 3 grandchildren; Barb has a daughter and a son and three grandsons; I have three children, two girls and a boy and two grandsons and a granddaughter plus two stepgranddaughters and a stepgrandson and Ken - he's the late bloomer I guess, with two daughters and his first grandchild due in May of 2007! I keep telling him that he and his wife Laura have no idea how great kids really are until they finally have their own grandchildren - who in my opinion, are soooo very much better than the first edition! Probably only because the full responsiblity of raising those kids falls onto someone else's lap other than your own, you know!

There were 11 grandchildren born to Adolph and Ellen Johnson Eld - my Mom's parents but today, there are only ten of us left. One cousin, David Eld, took his own life back in March of 1982, which probably was the last time all but perhaps one of my first cousins and I were together for Dave's funeral. The other four of my cousins still around but not at the reunion that year are: Joan Eld Kujava, Ray Eld, Tom Eld and Sue Eld Gerecke. Maybe one of these years I will get all my cousins together once again at this gathering spot. However, because we're all getting old way to fast, our kids are now almost all grown, married, on their own, and several of us have had some major health issues the past couple of years that make it really difficult now for us to get together once more as a strong family unit, but it's still a nice thought to think about anyway.

1 comment:

Skittles said...

When I was growing up I always knew my cousins, aunts and uncles. We'd all gather once or twice a year at my grandma's house for a feast of good southern cooking.

Now, there's only one cousin I still keep in touch with through email.

My kids never had that experience as my family was too spread out. Me here in Michigan, my brother in Texas, and my sister in SC, and my mom in Florida.