Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Special 80th Birthday

The weekend before Grandma's marathon our family made a special trip back to Tracy, MN for Wayne's dad's 80th birthday. Wayne's sister Laurie flew in from NYC for the event, as she had back in April when Millie turned 80.

And while Laurie's arrival makes the visit special, this trip was made all the more special by a surprise guest: granddaughter Rita and her son Jacob flew in from New Mexico for the party! That was a fabulous surprise.

We also had a baby shower for Wayne's nephew Darin and his wife Emily's first child, Aubrey (pictured above). She is the third great-grandchild for Neil and Millie. So now the family consists of Neil and Millie and their five kids and spouses, 10 grandkids and four spouses and three great grandchildren. They have spread out all the way from New York City to California, with points north and south all between.

That's quite a family.

I could go on to describe all the shenanigans, the card playing, the poking fun and joking around, the philosophical conversations, the baby passing, the gift passing, the toddler talk, the blocks, toys, clothes, diapers and best of all, the air mattresses.

But instead, I will leave you with one story.

On Friday night I was at Neil & Millie's with our girls while others were out dining. We gathered around and sat outside as the sun had made an appearance in time to set and it was a beautiful evening.  Soon a train came up through the fields, making its way out into the open where it would eventually gain speed on its way west.

Millie began talking about the trolley that she used to take when she was going to school in Minneapolis. She had broken up with Neil for a time to get herself an education, something that not many women in her generation did. She was living in Minneapolis and he was living out on the farm. Eventually her schooling finished up, she returned to Tracy, they got back together and the rest is history.

Millie was talking about the different places she could take the trolley and was trying to remember where exactly she had to catch the trolley from when suddenly Neil says, "1507 University Avenue Southeast."

I asked, "What's that?"

"Her address," he says. "That's where she lived -- I wrote her many a letter there." And then he looks at me with an impish grin on his face. "And you know what? She answered those letters, too."

All these years later, with 80 years of people, places and things for him to remember, he still remembered her college address.

Now that's love.


  1. That is a very special story. Do you know if they kept the letters? That would be very sweet to pass to the family.

  2. Good question -- knowing them, they probably did. I should ask.