Monday, July 21, 2008

Starbucks for the Ages

On June 3rd, the day before Aunt Jen arrived, I felt it wise to inform Mom that Aunt Jen was coming, so as not to *shock* her at the birthday party the next day. Of course, Mom's short term memory isn't what it used to be, so it was still somewhat of a surprise :) !! But I digress.....
Anyway, after I told Mom that Aunt Jen was coming....what she said next was unexpected! She looked up and with tears in her eyes, looked out the window of her room, across the street to Starbucks and said "when MY sister gets here, we're going to go over THERE for coffee!" Mom just loves to get out of Bethany Home..... even if it's just across the street! On Thursday, June 5th we all gathered at Starbucks and had coffee. Wish fulfilled :)

June Begins with a Party!!

June 4th was the day they celebrated all the June birthdays at Bethany Home. They do this once a month....celebrating all the birthdays for that month with cake, coffee and a little program which includes singing and the reading of each person's biography. The biography's are the best part....hearing how each one met their wife or husband, and other significant happenings in their life. They then each choose a favorite song to sing and this is done at the end of the program and led by the pastor. It's a fun time for everyone. This year though was a bit extra special for Mom. She has a special place in her heart for her only living sister Jennie. Aunt Jen flew out from Sioux Falls, SD and arrived just in time to hear Mom's biography. This is their first look at each other. You need to be there when it happens....but it's so sweet, and there is so much joy in their meeting once again. Each time they say good bye...they think it will be the last time they lay eyes on each other on this earth. So......when they are able to see each other, well, it's special....a tangible kind of special that you feel when you are there. You hear the intake of breath, the quiver in the voice, the shining in their eyes....and then we all have a shine in our eyes too as we struggle not to puddle up ourselves. Aunt Jen's son Merlyn and his wife Kathy accompanied Aunt Jen on the plane and were able to greet Mom too.
Mom's Biography as read on June 4th
Dora Fredriks was born on June 7,1918 in Siebert, Colorado in a sod house on property that her father homesteaded. dora was the oldest of four children. Dora's father farmed crops and Dora helped with milking cows, gathering eggs and housework. Dora also remembers collecting buffalo chips to burn for heat and going to church in the neighbor's barn. Dora was also a "Mother's helper" - she helped mothers with their babies and housework. Dora's family moved to So. Dakota. In her early 20's Dora and a cousin moved to Artesia, CA and lived with other cousins. Dora's California cousins told her that "they had a guy for her to meet". She met Herman Van Laar at a church function. Dora and her cousin saw Herman sitting in his car. Dora's cousin said, "I'll sit in the front with him", and Dora said, "No, you won't". Dora sat in the front seat. She dated Herman and 18 months later became engaged, then married.
They lived in Artesia and their first three children were born there. Dora was a good housewife and mother. They moved to Waterford where they had a diary. Here two more children were born. Then they moved to Salida where they had another dairy and added another child to the family. During this time, Herman fell off a haystack and broke his back- at this time they started farming almonds. Dora also helped out financially at this time by cleaning apartments.
Herman and Dora eventually retired and moved to Ripon. Six months later Herman passed away (Oct. 15th 1980) A year later, dora married Gerald Fredriks and they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary before Gerald passed away (2007).
Dora remembers some trips her family took- to Yosemite and also salmon fishing on the Klamath River. Gerald and Dora also did some traveling and camped in the desert of So. CA.
Dora's hobbies are crocheting and embroidery. She also enjoyed canning fruits and vegetables for her family.
Dora is also known by her family as having a saying for everything-
Here are just a few- "Be not simply good, but be good for something"
"once a task is first begun, never leave it till it's done, be it large or be it small, do it well or not at all"
"Kindness is to do and say the kindest thing in the kindest way"
Dora has 23 grandchildren, and 41 great grandchildren.
Dora has been a resident here at Bethany Home since February, 2007.
Happy Birthday, Dora!

Friday, July 18, 2008

May 2008

Ah, May 2008 seems so long ago! And it is!! A lot has gone on since's been a very busy time. So, I'm just going to touch on the high points to get myself up to date and up to speed to current day :) The highlight of May for us, was a much anticipated visit from our little James. Uh yes....Jerry, Bernice and Marie too :)..... But James.....such a little cutie and a trooper too. Jerry, Bernice and James flew out from Chicagoland to be here for the annual Van Laar Wiener Roast. We also began to celebrate Mom's 90th birthday then. I say began....because the celebration lasted for nearly a month! We had a wonderful time together....and this was a momentous occasion for Les as this was the first time he had opportunity to lay eyes on his little namesake. We just spent the entire time relaxing, visiting, and preparing desserts for the wiener roast. Bernice and Marie made us a fantastic dinner on brined bbq'd porkchops, stuffed baked potatoes, asparagus done on the grill and topped off by a spectacular and VERY yummy raspberry cheesecake made by none other than Ri!