Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Margaret Miller, Our 9th Great Grandmother, Died at Sea. (Williamson Line)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove,

Hello Williamsons!
A cold fall day in Utah Valley. We are grateful the strong winds that hit much of southern California and northern Utah spared us. The weather in Utah Valley is usually quiet boring year round, which is how you want your weather.

Today we learn about our 9th Great Grandmother Margaret Miller (Muller). We begin with the Relationship Chart, a new feature I've discovered on Ancestry.com. I'm spared the tedious typing of every name down to my generation.


Johann Michael MULLER
(1702 - 1753)
is your 10th great grandfather

Daughter of Johann Michael. Margaret died on May 10, 1773 on the ship Brittania while crossing the Atlantic Ocean. She was married to Michael Kieffer.
James Peter, Master, from Rotterdam, last from Cowes. 250 passengers.

Son of Margaret

Son of Jacob

Son of Hans Leonhardt

Daughter of Johann Caspar

Son of Anna Maria Margretha
Daughter of Abraham
Daughter of Arabella
Son of Margaret Ann
Son of William Jonathan
Son of Charles
You are the son of Charles

You'll notice that our 9th Great Grandmother Margaret died during the Atlantic crossing in 1773.
Her death is listed as May 10th. The ship Brittania docked in Pennsylvania in September of that same year. This means their crossing lasted at least 5 months! One can only imagine their hardships on such journeys.

The following information makes an excellent read to understand the terrible trails our ancestors faced when crossing the Atlantic.

The following excerpt from Pennsylvania Germans, A Persistent Minority by William T. Parsons is posted for its excellent discussion of conditions confronting early 18th century German immigrants on the voyage to America and upon arrival at the Port of Philadelphia. It is probable that these or similar conditions were experienced by our Miller (Muller) immigrant ancestors.
Large numbers of prospective migrants to America met at Rotterdam, a site very suitable for travelers who had come down the Rhine from their towns and farms upstream. The Neckar River valley had been home for many of them. Rotterdam was a sizable flourishing trade center, one of the two major shipping centers in the Low Countries. In many ways, Rotterdam was the typical trading port of its time. Cluttered dock and shipping facilities and bustling street markets with crowded living quarters were an indication of its prosperous condition. The addition of thousands of Germans, fleeing from districts their families had inhabited for generations, placed a great strain on the city. Merchants and shippers looked upon them as living cargo, to be accommodated the same way any cargo was.

Germans found the surroundings strange yet congenial, although for most of them this was merely a stopping place on the way to America. Some remained in Rotterdam, becoming a part of the varied population of that trading center; but most of the Rhineland travelers, on their way to the promise of the New World, found it too commercial or too worldly. The little substance that these poor wanderers had gathered for the voyage to America was dissipated by even a brief spell in or near the port. Many who left their German homes in a solvent financial condition departed Rotterdam without any funds (and very few goods) at all.

From the several detailed accounts of the ocean crossing which have come down to us, it seems quite evident that the voyage was the chief hazard or obstacle of the flight from Europe to America. Many who had never sailed before crowded the small vessels with poor sailors and rotten accommodations. They lived for six to eight weeks in cramped space on board, holding fast to the trunks, chests or baggage which contained all their worldly wealth. They were fortunate to find deck space.

Many of the families on their way to Pennsylvania were crowded onto ships that carried double the number of passengers the vessels could theoretically accommodate. In those cramped and crowded conditions, numerous passengers died at sea. So extensive was the list of casualties that ship captains finally settled upon a formula on how to avoid an excessive number of deaths which reduced their cargo. Occasionally fatalities also made them subject to quarantine regulations in the American ports. They agreed (and by the 1740s made it part of the verbal contract with prospective passengers) that the halfway point of the voyage was the critical time. If a passenger died before the vessel had traveled half the distance to Pennsylvania, then the captain would bear the expense and the corpse was reckoned as no fare. If, on the other hand a passenger died after the halfway point of the voyage, then his family must pay full fare to America, even though he was buried at sea.

Various accounts of the passage have survived, leaving a literature of frustration and suffering. Few of the accounts make the experience appear pleasurable; most of them summarize weeks and months of hardship and deprivation. One such description by John George Jungmann of a sea voyage of the ship Love and Unity, in the years 1731-32, relates the problems in detail. Originating at Rotterdam the vessel made port in Falmouth, adding supplies and food there. Twelve days out of Falmouth, the captain declared half the journey had been completed; five months later, the ship had not yet sighted land in America, but after nearly six months on the high seas, they came ashore at Martha's Vineyard. The emaciated passengers told tales of intense suffering. After eight weeks their bread and water had to be rationed, but during the last six weeks before Christmas, no bread ration was distributed and water was apportioned at a pint per family per day. Ship rats sold at a shilling sixpence and mice at sixpence each, when available. Deaths on this terrible voyage ran exceptionally high. Only four dozen persons reached American soil of an original passenger list of one hundred fifty-six. Barely forty, represented by a mere thirteen heads of families, eventually reached the original destination of Philadelphia, and that by the compassion of a Quaker master who happened upon them at Boston. The survivors claimed the only final choice they had was mutiny, whereby they forced the ship to make a landfall.

Ordinarily, for a six- to eight-week voyage, the captain's costs were modest. To feed hundreds of passengers cost him a few pennies per week. In return for the food he supplied, the master was ordinarily well reimbursed. Cash customers paid from three to five pounds when they landed. In 1750 adults paid ten pounds for passage. Ten to 20 percent of the passengers paid cash fares. Time of the year, conditions in Rotterdam, and the particular individuals transported determined passenger distribution. Prospective employers (or occasionally, prospective husbands) bought up indentures or contracts of the remaining mature arrivals, at profits which exceeded the cash fares for the masters or ship captains. Underage passengers without families were nearly always apprenticed or bound out. Philadelphia ship captains late in the 1740s generally agreed that human cargo was more profitable that cloth or hemp. Many captains could scarcely restrain themselves as the shipped from Rotterdam with a 100 percent overload of such human cargo.

The ocean passage required six weeks under favorable conditions, but even then preliminaries at Rotterdam and Cowes added days or weeks to the voyage. Debarkation at Philadelphia was sometimes delayed because of wind and tide, or due to mercantile or port requirements and official red tape. Food consumption from the traveler's own stock was apportioned for a six weeks' crossing. When that was gone, they subsisted on meager rations from the ship's stores, at inflated prices. Occasional suffering from storm delays or navigational miscalculations, as described above, affected both crew and passengers, but especially the latter.

Journey's end caused loud celebrations and extended rejoicing among the weary passengers. Those who had, weeks earlier, given up all hope of ever reaching port, now offered up thanks to God for their safe arrival after their journey across "the very big sea." Even the broad Delaware River reminded many of them of the familiar Rhine River in its lower reaches, broad, smooth-flowing, and bordered by impressive natural growth on both banks, with occasional dwellings and out-buildings visible.

Read more: http://www.delmars.com/family/migration.htm

The Following are two descriptions of Germans arriving in Pennsylvania after a harrowing journey across the Atlantic.

In a letter sent by Christoph Sauer of Germantown to friends in Wittgenstein who were eagerly awaiting news of several emigrants form Elsoff. Sauer wrote: “The Elsoffers have not yet arrived. Everybody wonders where their ship I, and besides that vessel, 3 to 4 ships with people are still expected. According to all reports, they have been at sea now for a quarter of a year.” As to the vessels that had come in, Sauer remarked: “The throngs of people who let themselves be seduced this year to come into the country are raising much lament here. Besides, as so many hundreds died from sickness aboard ships at sea, the survivors, if there is any left of a family, must pay or go into service which causes so much indigence and privation among a people which is hard to describe. This ship lost near 160 persons, and another one that arrived the day before, more than 150, and on one that came in the following day, only 13 healthy people are said to remain. Still another one arrived meanwhile on which out of 300 freights only 50 are left. Most of them died from dysentery, head sickness and violent fever also some captains and many seamen. Altogether of 15 passenger ships only 2 seem to have arrived with people tolerably healthy and well.”

Harrowing were the experiences of people who risked their lives and property to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Europe to America during the Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries. The season for passage began in early May and ended in late October with each westerly voyage from England requiring at least seven to eight weeks with good tail winds, and often ten to twelve weeks if the winds were not favorable. A typical journey for refugees fleeing religious persecution in Europe or indentured servants contracting years of labor for the cost of passage would often begin in Rotterdam or Amsterdam and then proceed to England for supplies.

Sailing Ship
18th Century Sailing Ship
Accommodations were sparse. Personal living space was limited to just barely enough room for a person to lay down to sleeping. Most ships would dock in England for several days while cargo and provisions were loaded. Passengers would spend money or eat some of what little food they had brought for the journey, only to later discover on the open sea that those few morsels would have eased the hunger that will haunt them for most of the voyage. Far too many people did not realize, nor were they prepared for the actual degree of human misery that lay before them. Sailing vessels of this period were grossly unsanitary because of the accumulation of repeated vomitings, dysentery, sweat, mildew, and rot. The lower decks were usually filled with stench. People suffered from ill preserved food stores, constipation, headaches, infestations of lice, a multitude of maladies resulting from impure water, and of course the ubiquitous affliction of seasickness. Add to this the emotional fatigue of unrelenting weather conditions such as cold, dampness, heat, and storms that would rage for days. Passengers were repeatedly thrown against each other in step with the rhythmic pounding of each wave. Homesickness began to plague many because they remembered all too well the comfort of even the most humble dwelling. So bad did the conditions become after many weeks, that people longed to be home, if even to sleep in a barnyard. Psychological factors then begin to play through manifestations of impatience and unceasing frustration. Curses and threats of harm were frequently exchanged, and occasionally tensions escalated into brawls, even between members of the same family. They cursed and berated each other. Stole from one another. Constant anxiety for life and safety began to turn into hopelessness,

This is another description of the terrors of the Atlantic crossing

The Migration and Expansion of the Brethren in America
Written by
Ronald J. Gordon
Death was a steadfast companion of both passengers and crew for many would perish. Burial at sea can be an especially difficult and trying experience. One does not have the expected proper time for remorse because the body must be cast overboard in a short period of time. The sea does not allow family members to return to an exact spot in order to grieve as is true of a land based cemetery where people can repeatedly return, where flowers can serve as a visible closure, and the certainty that graves usually remain unmolested. Death at sea can be a cruel experience. You cannot return. There is the haunting reality that the body will probably be eaten. Family members reproach each other for persuading them to make the journey. Wives reproached their husbands for children that were lost. Husbands lamented most piteously for convincing their family to make the journey. Children bemoaned parents for their helplessness. Witness accounts record unbelievable despair and misery. As more and more people die, it becomes almost impossible to console the relatives.

"Many hundred people necessarily die and perish in such misery, and must be cast into the sea, which drives their relatives or those that persuaded them to undertake the journey, to such despair that it is almost impossible to pacify or console them. In a word the sighing and crying and lamenting on board the ship continues day and night, so as to cause the hearts of even the most hardened to bleed when they hear it."

On the Misfortune of Indentured Servants, Gottlieb Mittelberger, 1754.

Holiday Greetings from the Hastie Family, Our 3rd Cousins (Vercellino Line).

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons / Vercellinos!
Today we get to wear our Vercellino family caps and meet our 3rd cousins. David Hastie found us through this blog and made contact. In his last email he sent a family picture for the blog.

We begin with our Relationship Chart to help you see how we are related through the Vercellino line.
Relationship Chart
Click to Enlarge
The Hastie children (Diane, David and Suzanne) are our 3rd cousins. Their father Robert is our 2nd cousin once removed. Robert is Dad's (Charles Williamson's) 2nd cousin. We are all the Great Great Grandchildren of Giovanni Vercellino and Catterina Gianetto.

I am always on the search for relatives both alive and deceased. Particularly I'm searching for our Vercellino ancestors here in America and in Italy. Please send an email introducing yourself if you have stumbled across this blog and see a relationship or have information on our Vercellino family.


TheThe Hastie Family. Christmas 2009

Front Row (left to right)
Antonia Stahlbuhk (Grandaughter). Robert Hastie (Father). Betty Lu Haake Hastie (Mother). Diane Hastie Hoover (daughter). Suzanne Hastie Stahlbuhk (daughter).

Back Row (left to right)
Heidi (Joshua's Fiance). Robert Hoover (Diane's Husband). Birger Stahlbuhk (Suzanne's Husband). Joshua Hoover (son of Diane and Bob). David Hastie (son). Thomas Stahlbuhk (Suzanne's son).

In his email David wrote:
Enclosed is our family picture of John and Mabel's only son Robert Benjamin Hastie born in Lead SD 24 April 1924. All alive and doing fine this season.

Our family is fine with posting the attached copy of our family under the Vercellino listing. I've also contacted other Vercellinos: Carol (Srack) teaching high school in TX and Dave both graduates of TA&MU, and Susan Vercellino a screen writer in Santa Monica CA. She co-wrote Quiet Cool. I've directed them to your website and I hope they will get in touch.

I also have other family pictures and items to post for Vercellino/ Hastie/ etc. Note that our Hastie line goes back to Pehr (Pietari or Peter) HASTI who died in Tervola, Finland. He was possibly from Kemi and was a horse trader. Youngest son Matti born in Tervola 1835 and I have so much more... I need to show this site to parents and be able to load stuff onto the blog. Not sure the connection with the Hastie in the British Islands, but must read and research more. Please pass a copy to Leslie and Evelyn Configliacco and the Hastie's wish them Happy Holidays. We don't get back to the Hills much.

With Love to all -
David John Hastie

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Great Grandmother Ida Tornberg's Home in Karungi, Sweden.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Today two pictures from a cousin living in Sweden. The first is a picture of the Tornberg House in Karungi. This was most likely the home of our Great Grandmother Ida Tornberg before she immigrated to the United States near the turn of the Century.

Click to Enlarge

The home is no longer there. According to our cousin Vigert, there is a new Tornberg home sitting on this site occupied by our third cousins.

The home you see below is a home built at the same time as the original Tornberg home and still standing next door.
Click to Enlarge


Friday, November 25, 2011

Our Williamson Thanksgiving. 2011

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
It was a very Williamson Thanksgiving. Kinsfolk arrived from all parts of the big woods to celebrate the gathered harvest, meet the new offspring, compare aches and pains, enjoy Grandma's newest remedies from the still down by the draw, shoot up the neighbor's fence posts, reminisce about loved ones who've gone to Jesus and pray for those whom we are mighty sure haven't.

I had my secretary type formal invitations to Autumn and Derek's "A Thanksgiving With All the Trimmins" for those in the family who could read and who had access to the mail. Sometimes the mailman can't get to the dark side of the woods on account of treacherous mountain roads this time of year. Others in our extended family who find reading a challenge got a simple postcard (shown below) with Autumn's telephone number (Filmore 3-4710) written on the back. A picture of someone dialing a phone printed on the back of the post card was their clue to call the family Hot Line Answering Machine the next time they could get to a phone.

The day before Thanksgiving Uncle Brandon and Aunt Monica's oldest boy sharpened an axe and went out searching for the Tom Turkey. Cameron had been learned well by Brandon on the proper method of killin a Tom Turkey. He hid the weapon of Tom's demise behind his back until he was close enough to grab the bird and administer the fatal blows.

"The boy made us proud," Brandon said. "He done well."

"That boy is a credit to his upbringing and he's got book smarts. You should see him do his ciphers," Monica added as she plucked the bird and admired her son as he stood near the pantry counting cans.

Some members of the family arrived by train. Forrest learned to drive a few years back and got to use the pick up and go down to the station to fetch them to Autumn and Derek's. We passed the hat during the meal and collected enough money to help cover the gas. Forrest was appreciative.

Autumn was a bit ruffled tryin to get the cabin ready for company and all. Derek pondered her problem and wouldn't you know, conjured up a solution within half an hour. He went and fetched the neighbor's two eldest and paid them both a nickel to help get the washing and iron done. Autumn was appreciative.

"If a man can't spare a dime to lighten his wife's load then he ain't much of a man," Derek boasted during the meal when Grandma Luella landed on the fact that the table clothes were so nicely pressed.

Knowing the Clan would be gathering at their home, Derek and Autumn decided to upgrade their facilities. The days of running outside to take care of your business were over.

The former Turley facilities before the upgrade.

The new facilities

"Gettin use to the smell is the hardest thing about having yer facilities inside the house," Derek confessed. Autumn makes me hang a red sock on a nail she drove into the bathroom door whenever I use the facilities. I'm suppose to take it down in 30 minutes but keep forgettin."

Derek pulled me aside before everyone arrived.

"You've had one of these for awhile, right?" he asked.

"Nearly twenty years," I answered.

"Ya think this plummin will be up to the load?" He looked worried.

"Our kin don't know about yer new facilities," I reminded him. "They know that if they have to go they'll be usin the outhouse. They'll be sure to go before they leave."

"Yer right. I rarely use someone else's. My ma says I'm bladder shy," Derek confessed.

"Yer ma is a smart woman."

"That she is. That she is."

Uncle Steve and Aunt Janice were the first to arrive at Autumn and Derek's. There is one thing you can be sure of - Steve and Janice are always the first to arrive when a meal is in the offering.

Their eldest Nicole and her husband stayed with Autumn and Derek. Janice and Steve have seven daughters. A few are married off. The others are either too young or ain't interested at the moment.

"We keep makin matches but them girls ain't bitin," Steve said while bouncing his new baby grandson on his knee. We're pondering offering a dowry to move the older ones along. Anything that will take a few plates off the dinner table will help Janice. She's been feelin mighty poorly lately." Janice looked confused, pulled on Steve's sleeve and pointed to the room we sat in.

"I done told you we are at Autumn and Derek's house, now don't make me have ta tell ya again. It's an embarrassment," he said as he checked to see if the boy's diaper was soiled.

"I done got me a sword," Ammon showed off his glow in the dark sword. I realized at once it was no sword at all. I could tell by the shape of the handle. It was one of them Tridents you see the Greek Gods carrin around.

"Ammon, don't you know you ain't got no sword. That there is a Tri-dent. I'm figuring ya kill fish with it." I demonstrated by stabbing he boy with it in the shoulder. He still looked confused.

I noticed his ma was standing nearby. "Ashley, ain't you learned this boy of your's nothin?" Ashley shrugged her shoulders wondering what I was on about.

"What don't he know?" she asked.

"He don't know what a Tri-dent is."

"Oh Lord give me strength, I don't even know what a Tri-dent is," she answered. "How is knowin that gonna put food on the table?"

Little London was so proud of her new Calico dress and was showing it off to everyone as they arrived. She was also happy because her Uncle Steve had just bought her a bag of Starbusts.

Later in the afternoon London nearly got a wippin with a willow switch for messin around in the dirt in her new Calico dress. Autumn explained to her that Calico wasn't cheap.

"My momma would have locked me in the root cellar for a week If I had gone and done what you did when I was little," Autumn explained. London wasn't bothered. She knew they didn't have a root cellar. Autumn thought for a moment. In the corner of the yard sat the two maiden aunts Dorkis and Della Williamson. They despise children, finding them a burden on patience and entirely untrustworthy in the bathroom.

"Look yonder," Autumn said pointing to Aunts Dorkis and Della. "You get your nice Sunday Meetin' dress dirty again and I'm sending you to live with Aunt Dorkis and Della!"

London sobbed uncontrollably.

"Can't you quiet that child?" Dorkis demanded with a scowl while pulling her scented handkerchief up to her nose as if the very sound of London's crying soured the air.

Della nodded. "Monstrous children. Oh and when you're finished with her, come and get this one." Della pointed to the animal pen in the far corner of the yard.

Autumn looked over and saw young Enoch peering out through the bars.

"He used my dress as a depository for his nasal drippings," Della explained. The crow squawked. "No No Abner. Leave the boy be."


"How many more of the young ins' have you got locked up?" Autumn asked.

"Well, there's that one over there," Dorkis pointed toward the clothes line to the side of the cabin. "There is no redemption for the parents that produced that monstrosity."

"Yes sister, the spawn of Satan."

Autumn unpinned young cousin Ned, took him to the well and washed both he and London from head to toe. Dorkis and Della watched with satisfaction as young Foxton emerged from the cabin on the hunt for adventure.

"Squawk," questioned Abner.

"Yes, Abner. This one, but remember, spare the eyes."

The Fortesque Family live Next door to Autumn and Derek. Notice their curtains are drawn. This is the side of their home facing the Turley's. The children are forbidden to play on that side of the house.

Both the Fortesques and the The Williamson's (in all their variations) enjoyed a well cooked meal at 3:30 P.M. While the adults sat in the great room......

........the children had their own room. Wait, where are the children?

Little Martha was upstairs in London's room. She and London disagree over who can play with who's dolls every time the family gathers. Martha was determined to put an end to it once and for all.

Cousin Hank was released from county supervised care to enjoy Thanksgiving with the family. He quietly escaped the child's room and was found in the garage looking for spiders. It's good to see his eyebrows are growing back from his last altercation with a Daddy Long Leg.

Little Enoch was still in the pen. Out of sight and out of mind. He wasn't too bothered. He knew there would be sweet potatoes lurking on his plate and he hated sweet potatoes.

Young cousin Wilbur was found having a conversation with a new friend he'd just met at the end of the bedroom hallway.

"That boy is rude," he explained to his mother. "He won't let me get a word in edgewise."

London and Cannon escaped from the meal when no one was watching. London, fearful she would be adopted out to her two Great Aunts for messing up her new Calico dress, convinced cousin Cannon to take her far away. They jumped into the backyard "Imaginary All In One".

"Garbble, bubble Jibberish," Cannon said (Translation. "Fasten your seat belt. This get away might be a bit bumpy")

Cousin Eugenia, not one to miss a great meal, left the child's table to save a few of London's dolls from the clutches of Cousin Martha. Once the dolls were hidden, she returned to the table to enjoy what was left on her plate, and her cousin's plates as well. She is definitely a Williamson.

The rest of the cousins, nieces and nephews were outside watching Abner the crow have his way with young Foxton. It was a gruesome spectacle and a great diversion for Aunt's Dorkis and Della. It gave the adults extra time to visit in piece and quiet.

Grandma Kim enjoyed her meal, making sure not to leave a thing on her plate. Grandma Kim is the oldest child of Luella and Charles and the one with the most Grandchildren.

"Why they keep comin and comin," she replied when asked how many she had. "How's a Grandma suppose to keep up. My these candy yams are a true delight."

Between helpings, Grandma Kim let the food digest by doing Grandbaby lifts. Up goes one then up goes the other.

"Grandbaby lifting is an excellent way to burn off those stuffing calories," she said breathlessly.

"Are they both yours?" I asked.

"J.D. Darling. Are these two ours?" Grandpa J.D. shrugged his shoulders, hesitant to step away from the serving table and have a look, having been given strict instructions by Grandma Kim to be seen and not heard.

Not to be outdone. Grandma Janice kept looking over at the serving table to see how often Kim returned for second and third helpings. She matched every helping and then some. Occasionally she leaned over to her husband to whisper. And every time he responded the same way, "Autumn and Derek's."

Grandpa J.D. was allowed to eat in the serving area. Normally Kim makes him take his meals outside when the family gets together. J.D. didn't abuse the privilege. In fact, Kim was so impressed with his behavior she told him he might get to eat indoors at Christmas for the first time since 1988.

J.D. is awesome and the perfect companion for Grandma Kim.

Grandpa Steve wasn't a stranger in the kitchen. He jumped right in without being asked to contribute to the combined effort of feeding the 5000.

Great Aunt Esmeralda wasn't allowed anywhere near the table. Kim insisted she eat outdoors. She stood near the window and watched the festivities from outside. She is use to having her tea and smokes outside as is evident by her worn appearance. We all wish Aunt Lisa was there to keep her company. Lisa and Esmeralda are two peas in a pod and get along quite nicely.

Great Grandmother Luella was in excellent spirits. Crowds aren't a bother to this mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother as long as you turn a blind eye to the Pepsi can she keeps nearby.

"Grandma, What you got in that can of yours?" asked one of the sons in law. "You always got a can of something where ever you go."

"Just something to keep me regular." Her speech was slurred as she tapped her forefinger to the side of her nose.

Later in the evening we gathered all the grandkids together in the front room and arranged them in order of height.

"Grandma Luella. it's time honey," Grandma Kim escorted her mother to a nice comfortable chair in the front room. "Its time to name all your grandkids by memory. Start at the top and work your way down."

Every year at Thanksgiving, Luella's two eldest have Power of Attorney papers drawn up. T he papers are put away if she passes the Grandchild test. If not, we step in and start thinking for her. Luckily she passed giving us pause to celebrate. Great Grandmother is certified functional and aware of her surroundings.

"I thought for sure this was the year we had her," Grandma Kim confided to me. "Did you hear what she said to everyone that passed the serving table?" I nodded.

"Did you get a slice of that Honey Baked Ham? What do you think of that Honey baked ham? Wasn't that ham delicious? Did you know what I had to spend on that Honey Baked Ham? It was $60.00. Imagine that!"

I agreed. Luella was a bit 'over the top' about the ham.

"I didn't year you bragging about the brand name cranberries you brought." Kim remembered.

"I'm not one to boast about sacrifice," I said humbly.

Pictures were mandatory before everyone left for home.

Kai, Aspen and Cannon

Enoch, Jace and Foxton

Alivia and Stevie

Jordan and Baby #623-67-7706. The baby had yet to be churched blessed and given a name so we knew it only by its number. The baby blessing was conducted later in the evening in the Turley living room where the name of Kellen Scott Tolley was given to the joy of all gathered.

Amber with new niece Naomi

Brock sees his wife googling over her new infant neice. Yes, that is a worried look on his face.

And finally brothers (yes they are brothers so don't read anything else into this picture) Brock and Chaz Bodily with cousin Lydia.

At the end of the day, we had a nice neighborhood send off as our families left Autumn and Derek's for home. It was a great Thanksgiving. Here's hoping yours was as as forgiving.