Sunday, September 12, 2010

Grandparents Day 2010



Robbins-Valk Wedding, Bride and Groom and Their Parents. Photograph. 25 Jun 1965. Original photograph in the possession of Miriam Robbins Midkiff, Spokane, Washington. 2008.

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Above is shown one of my favorite photos in my possession, because it depicts all three sets of my grandparents at the wedding of my parents.  My mother is the only child of the marriage of her parents, and after their divorce, each remarried; thus I was blessed with three--rather than the traditional two--sets of grandparents

On the left are my paternal grandparents, Robert Lewis and Jeanne Marie (HOLST) ROBBINS. My grandfather passed in 2003; my grandmother is still living, but has Alzheimer's. I have not seen her in about four years when she last visited Washington State.

The couple on the far right are my maternal grandfather, William VALK, and his wife Elaine Estelle (SEIF). My grandfather passed in 1989, but my step-grandmother is still living. I saw her on my last trip to Michigan in 2000. The woman to the right of my mother (the bride) is my maternal grandmother, Ruth Lillian (HOEKSTRA). Behind her is her husband, Adrian DeVRIES. My grandmother passed in 2001 and Grandpa DeVRIES passed in 2007.

Growing up, my grandparents were like superheroes or fairy godparents! They lived in Western Michigan, 3,000 miles away from my home in Southeast Alaska, and I rarely got a chance to visit them. When they did visit us or we got to visit them, it was always a Big Deal! There were presents and stories and lots of hugs and kisses. Even after we moved to Eastern Washington when I was 12, we rarely saw them, although traveling was a bit easier and cheaper for both parties than when we lived in Alaska. My ROBBINS grandparents came to my high school graduation and both they and my DeVRIES grandparents attended my wedding. My Grandfather VALK visited Washington State shortly before his death and got to meet my husband. Both my ROBBINS and my DeVRIES grandparents as well as my Grandma VALK got to meet my children at least once.

All of them encouraged my forays into genealogy by sharing stories of their ancestors and memories of their childhoods with me. I was fortunate to inherit many documents, photographs, and some artifacts from the estates of my Grandfather ROBBINS and my DeVRIES grandparents. Thanks to the photographs they took and writings they created, I have a rich family history from which to research.

I dearly miss all my departed grandparents as well as my living grandmothers who I am no longer in contact with because of their health issues. I hope that my life and my research honor their lives and make them proud.
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