Saturday, September 19, 2015

Celebrating Life and Family Reunions

Today is my mother's 82nd birthday and she has been gone for over two years. So much has happened in those two years that I am still trying to recover. This year we sold her home, bought a new to us home and are in the process of selling our home from before. Each step of the way there is always the thought that I should call my mother as she would enjoy knowing about the changes. My children say she already knows and is keeping track. This spring my mother-in-law passed away, so we adapt once more to having a loved in a better place. The older one becomes the shorter this life seems to be. While children, grandchildren and possibly great grandchildren seem to extend the joy we know, in the end we will all pass on to the better place.

Today we will attend the Olsen Family Picnic. This has been an event for many years, at least as far back as I can remember. While looking over the descendancy chart, that I take each year, there are now 102 of us living descendants. At the picnic there will be anywhere from 20-30 people. The original seven siblings are all in the better place, as are most of their children. Most of the third, fourth and fifth generations are scattered, but mostly in Oregon.

In packing up our home of 24 years, after 37 years of marriage, my daughter was amazed at how many family heirlooms that we have. She is adamant that in the unpacking we place these items where they can be enjoyed and appreciated by the family. That is the part I love about moving, being able to put things where we will have better access to them, in a more organized manner. There are 14 small U-Haul boxes in my office containing my collection of research that need to be dealt with. Along with personal items from the various family branches this will be what my children will someday inherit. With six children there is a need to format what we leave behind.

There has been some culling of our things in the process of moving, but family heirlooms will remain with us until we are no longer able to keep them. Over the years some have been shared at the family picnics, but once things are settled my hope is to invite people here to share more. There is the steamer trunk the family brought from Norway that is filled with family linens. The china used by our great grandparents. Things from both of my grandmothers, mother, great aunts and others. Yes, I could probably have a museum in our home.

When we moved to Scappoose, Oregon, we became residents of the area where most of the Olsen family history occurred after they settled here in the 1880s. My father grew up in Linnton and my mother in St. Johns, and I spent my younger years living in both places. Every time we drive through these places my thoughts turn to our family and the homes that they lived in for many years. The Genealogical Society of Washington County holds some family gems that need to be explored further. It is interesting that the resources for our family history that are closest are the ones we have yet to pursue.

Attending the family picnic provides the opportunity to share in memories and stories from the varied family branches. We celebrate those who have gone on before us and the legacies they left for us to enjoy. Serendipity is discovering how much we really relate to one another. Life is short, so enjoy the moments of true joy with your families.

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