Season’s Greetings 2006
The 60’s are back!

 

Yes, the 60’s are back with free love, rock n’ roll and war protests . . . . well sort of . . . “My” 60’s are here. This year I turned 60, and subtract the free love and war protests for me, but I am 60, happy to be 60, healthy and I still enjoy rock n’ roll.

2006 was a good year for me, a year of family and fun, reconnecting with old friends and family, and making new friends. January started with two roommates in my home: Angela, a student from Korea, and Amanda a young American recent college graduate and personal trainer. Hosting an international student broadened my world and gave me an opportunity to see my city and country through her eyes. She was a wonderful guest, and we continue to stay in touch.

In February I reconnected with my former brother and sister-in-law traveling through California on their vacation. I hadn’t seen them in over 20 years. We had no idea that Dale, my x-husband, would die while they were on their cruise. I was amazed how much his early death affected me. At about the same time I had a reunion luncheon of high school friends in Ramona where we collectively celebrated turning 60 together. Also in February, I flew to San Francisco, then drove back to San Diego with Tara, my daughter, and my 3 grandchildren, Eleanor, Dietrich and Eva. We spent the week in San Diego seeing friends, and going to the beach and the zoo. I flew up to San Francisco again in April to celebrate Eva’s third birthday and to help while Bob and Tara moved into a new neighborhood. I went again in May to spend Memorial Day week end with the kids while Tara and Bob spent some time away. The kids and I went to a Mardi Gras parade and carnival, San Francisco-style; quite an experience!!!

Walter Farm in Pennsylvania

Also in May I went back to Pennsylvania for a family reunion. Every year my cousin Wynn, on my mother’s side, has a family reunion. I went for the first time this year, encouraged by three other West coast Walter cousins, Bruce, Sandy and Rosann. We flew to Pa. separately but merged in Cincinnati, arriving together in State College, Pa. We stayed in Wynn’s home, and I met and got reacquainted with cousins and aunts I hadn’t seen for 30 years or more, if ever. We took a side trip to the Walter farm in Claysburg, traveling through beautiful farmland and Amish country. My mother lived on the farm from age two until she left home. My sister was born in the farmhouse. It was so wonderful being around my mother’s two living sisters, their Pennsylvania accent sounding so much like my mother. I enjoyed being with Rosann and Sandy again; getting the giggles and laughing so hard we almost fell over, like when we were kids. Wynn has a wonderful home and yard. A house filled with antiques and homemade crafts, a yard filled with flowers, bursting with the colors of spring. She was a wonderful host and the food at the reunion picnic was great.

In July, I was treated with little visitors. Tara, Eleanor, Dietrich and Eva came to San Diego for five weeks. It was the best summer of my life since I fell in love with Gary L. at Hume Lake when I was 16, ha! I worked part time and spent a lot of time with the children. Eleanor, at 7, is theatrical, intense, creative and curious. Dietrich is 5 and ALL BOY, needing lots of space, has lots of energy, needing to express his swings of emotion and bursts of energy. Eva is a curly-headed sweet baby doll with a sunny disposition, a strong foot that she stomps down to get her way, laughing and creating laughter wherever she goes. My patio was transformed from boredom into a playroom full of life. I made a train platform for Dietrich and his trains just “his height.” There was a little pink picnic table covered with butterflies and flowers, just the right size for eating or doing crafts. There were bins of all types of craft tools and supplies for the children to enjoy. On my lawn next to my outside umbrella-covered table was a child sized picnic table covered with a small umbrella and 3 small chairs.

Dietrich with his trains on my patio

We used our yearly passes we purchased in February and went to the Zoo, Wild Animal Park, Balboa Park, the beach, museums, and spent time in parks with friends. Eleanor was taking classes at Jr. Theatre in Balboa Park, so we spent a lot of time in the park. Dietrich and Eva and I found pirates among the trees and sea dragons in the fountains as we became our own heroes and frolicked and played all summer. We chased waves at the beach, laughed at the orangutans, and stared at the thick wrinkles of the elephants at the Wild Animal Park. We discovered Legoland, and spent the hottest day of the summer there (128 in the shade near my house). We rode horses, watched pirate shows, played water games and dodged squirt guns and rode roller coasters over and over and over again. And then again, yelling and laughing and losing our voices. We played in my swimming pool and splashed and chased each other. The Saturday they left to drive back to San Francisco, we practically had to drain the pool, to get the kids out of it so they could get in the car to leave. Amanda had moved out that month so the house seemed so quiet and empty when they left. It was the most wonderful, fulfilling visit.

Dietrich, Eva and Eleanor

On September 18, this baby boomer turned 60, just like President Clinton and Bush did this year (I am in good company!) For the first time since I was a teenager, my sister, Dana, was able to celebrate my birthday with me. I celebrated with my friends at a luncheon in Old Town, and a surprise treat of a concert in Horton Plaza, “Ella.” A wonderful intimate evening with Tina Fabrique playing Ella Fitzgerald, sharing with us Ella’s life and music as if she were Ella. It was a remarkable performance, made especially memorable because I was with my favorite people and my sister.


Me on my birthday

My domestic situation changed in September also, as I began hosting a married couple from Thailand who will be here until May. My house is filled with new sounds and new smells; an interesting and broadening experience.

In October I traveled to Arkansas for a Blevins’ family reunion. I got the first e-mail in May from a cousin inquiring if there was an interest in a family reunion, as the last one had been in 1960. I volunteered to be part of the planning and became the e-mail co-coordinator. I made the e-mail list and sent out notices as needed. After many months of planning and many e-mails and reminders, we had the family reunion in Daisy, Ark., on the banks of Lake Greeson on a beautiful Indian summer weekend. With the sun shining and sparkling as diamonds dancing on the water, and the leaves just promising to turn into nature’s painted glory, I reconnected with family. I saw my father for the first time in 17 years, plus two of my brothers who I hadn’t seen since our mother’s death 9 years ago and lots and lots of cousins. My father, at almost 93 years old, is the last one alive of his generation, a family of 9 boys and and two girls. As we met under the trees, we looked at old photos, listened to some good country music jamming, listened to stories, and studied the family tree and tried to see how we were all connected to one another within such a large family. My father treated us with singing Hank Williams’, “Love Sick Blues.” We came from all corners of the nation: Oregon, Massachusetts, Southern California and Florida, and merged in Arkansas, where my father grew up; the roots of the Blevins family are planted deeply. The Blevins’ roots go back to the 1700’s in America. My first cousin Vicky who lives in Joshua Tree met me in Dallas and we rented a car together and drove to the reunion. Just the fun of the car trip with Vicky was worth the whole trip. We were impressed with all the Southern hospitality we received at gas stations and food stops.

My dad and I in Ark

As my hobby is photography, I have had so much opportunity to take photos this year, of my grandchildren, Pennsylvania farmland, relatives, San Diego beaches, the Lavender Fields in Valley Center, Arkansas country roads. All of my photos are on line and if anyone wants to see any of them, just e-mail me. I am learning new skills, learning to work with video and making a slide show/DVD for my Blevins cousins. Sorry for the clichés, but the slide show is a labor of love and a work in progress. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a new year filled with peace and reconnecting with old friends and family roots. 2007 sounds like a lucky year, and that’s what I am hoping for everyone I know and love.