If it’s Tuesday I can expect an email from my sister-in-law with what has been happening in her life in an unincorporated town just south of Door County, Wisconsin. Actually, I am on the distribution list by request, as the weekly letter is designed to keep her eight children, five of whom have families and children of their own, feeling as a family.
This is something I am very supportive of, as those of you who have read my book “Harnessing a Heritage” ( www.deefitzgerald.com ) would fully appreciate. I have been telling her that the content is of general interest and could be a successful Blog, but she continues to feel it is more private.
Last week’s was so entertaining that I am going to risk going public with what could easily have been a David Letterman 10 best auction items from the Saint Louis Church annual auction:
10. A beautiful hanging basket, just in time for Mother's Day! A serenity plaque and 10 pounds of ground beef.
9. Pick your own raspberries. We will call you mid-July when they are ripe for the picking! Also, take home as many fresh cut flowers as you like and fresh vegetables from my garden.
8. 3 pound package of homemade Tripp, 5 jars canned tomatoes, 2 pints homemade salsa, one gallon of delicious hearty chicken Booyah and homemade white bread.
7. Music basket with Johnny Cash and George Jones CDs, popcorn for a home movie night and two jars of secret recipe chocolate sauce.
6. Blue Hawaiian basket filled with 15 polka dot cups, green and blue serving bowl, blue glass jar lantern, 4 bug candles, sesame sticks and margarita glasses, Blue Hawaiian malt, 2 Tiki lights, 20 plates, napkins and a light-up lei.
5. (Unfortunately this one went for only $22) Yoga Party, a $200 value.
4. One gallon of hearty chicken Booyah and homemade white bread. Four packages of garden seeds, 3 garden tools, pair of gloves, garden tool rack, carry-all tub and 2 faux stained glass window panels with flowers.
3. One hour of “old time” gospel music: vocals and mandolins. Great for an event, dinner party, campfire or your choice; please contact Scooter to make arrangements. Ten pounds of ground beef.
2. Your spring planting all taken care of! Julie Renier will plant your planters, either 4 large planters or 6 small planters, after May 23. She will come to your home and supply the annuals and perennials. Please allow one week notice.
And the hit of the evening, going for $500:
1. Kohler elongated comfort height white toilet with seat! Includes installation at buyer’s home.
Three of Kathleen’s eight daughters live “local” and so most of the weekly letters are filled with activities the geographically close family members are doing: the annual pumpkin patch hunt, Easter-egg hunt, deer and turkey hunting, Packer games, grandkid’s sporting endeavors, health issues, births, deaths and First Communions, business and occupation changes. Being Wisconsin, season, and climate provide content. Everyday activity provides the stories.
What is not included are petty references of what is “good”, “bad”, “right” or “wrong”. Opinions are rarely expressed, and what is left is a feeling of togetherness, of commonality, family cohesiveness.
When I left home to go to college, I called my parents weekly and wrote a letter every Sunday evening. I’m sure there was nothing of great interest to them in either communication vehicle, but we remained close until their deaths, largely because we shared how I was growing up.
The Wall Street Journal had an article yesterday on how grandparents are communicating, primarily on Facebook, with their grandchildren, leaving the parents outside the loop. You see, the grandparents and the grandchildren have the time to text. They also have the money to buy the gadgets necessary for social networking. Most importantly, they have the desire and interest to care about someone outside themselves.
Although Kathleen aims her Letter directly at her children, I have the feeling that it also reaches the next generation and will bear fruit for many years to come.
Next Saturday I think I’ll do my Blog on some aspects of being a military dependent. There was an article in the OC Register that got me thinking...