Today as we mark the sixth anniversary of the day after her passing, this post came to mind. So I will start here.
This is an archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” it was first published Saturday, 16 Jun 2012.
Time is moving so quickly. Here it is another Saturday, another weekend. A moment when life can slow down a bit, and we can think about a leisurely breakfast as opposed to a quick bowl of cereal as everyone runs out the door. Or maybe a special dessert to serve at dinner.
It has been almost a month since our family gathered to honor Marie with an “Irish Wake,” and it was five months yesterday since her passing. Time passing.
Marie was known for her baked goods. I mean, she was KNOWN for her baked goods. People looked for her donations at church functions and funeral lunches. A testament to this, is a photo we found. It was taken by the Van Abels in March 1977 when Helen Baumann died. Baked goods, so prized that they found time to take a photo of them.
My strongest memory of her baked goods occurred the day after she passed away. Gary was already down in the kitchen making coffee when I headed down the stairs. I was almost to the landing when the most amazing aroma came wafting out of the kitchen – sweet rolls! As I hit the landing and turned to go down into the kitchen, I said to Gary, “I smell baked goods!” Gary looked at me in amazement, and said, “You smell it too!!?” We took that as a sign that Marie was home, and as we later joked with the cousins, baking for her first Newcomers Meeting.
What is your favorite memory of the wonderful baked goods that came out of her kitchen? We would love for you to share your story.
Twenty years ago we were in the final countdown to the 1996 Fassbender Family Reunion.
My husband and I planned and held a family reunion back in the early days of home computers, before home internet was common, and “You’ve Got Mail” was the welcome message. Using Creative Writer, a program our children used, and whatever word processing program we were using at the time, I started creating reunion documents.
Never having planned a party of this magnitude, and having no idea how large the task was that we were taking on, Gary and I jumped enthusiastically into planning. The reunion was to celebrate the children, grand-children, great-grandchildren, etc., of Henry and Ida Fassbender. 51 letters were sent out to the families descending from this couple and their eight children: Harold (Fat) b. 1907, Laurine (Ena) b. 1909, Norbert (Red) b. 1911, Bernard (Butch) b. 1912, Mildred (Hunce) b. 1914, Hubert (Cub) b. 1917, Ann (Hank) b. 1921, and Rosemary (Rosie/Foos) b. 1926. 21 responses were returned, and with that, the date was set: July 20, 1996. With the date selected I got busy creating a cute “reunion t-shirt” note using a Creative Writer template, and developing a survey to be included in the mailing. What was asked in the survey? I sadly do not have a copy. But my mother-in-law thankfully saved the t-shirt page.
With the date set, we reserved the Hollandtown Community Park and pavilion, a photographer was asked to take group pictures, we finalized the activities for the kids, the tour of White Clover Dairy, the place to share photos and memories of past reunions, and the dinner which was catered from Van Abels. Chicken, ham, German potato salad and rolls. The family was then broken up into two categories, one group was to bring dessert, the other a snack/munchie of their choice. As the surveys and reservations came in, I diligently worked on compiling the information that I received, into a family directory, preparing to have a copy available for every attendee. Looking back, I am amazed that my curiosity about family, and desire for a sense of order were apparent even then. I color coded the name tags by family, seven different colors adorned the tags, and helped cousins who in some cases had not seen each other in years, quickly identify, and recognize old friends.
As the event drew closer, Butch and Marie, Cub and Dolores, Hank (Ann), and Hunce, the four remaining siblings, and Stella, the widow of Red, began to make their plans. Cub and Hank were coming from out of town, and would stay for the weekend; making it a true reunion, and allowing lots of time for chats and memories. And a bit of cheese and crackers with their evening beer.
We planned the best we could, but sometimes the “best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” On July 5th Butch not feeling well, went into the hospital, and it was discovered he needed surgery. The surgery was successful, but his tolerance for the morphine they gave him for pain was not. He ended up falling out of bed and breaking his arm. This set his homecoming back a few days. His younger sister, Hank, who had been battling cancer for many years, still was planning on driving up for the reunion. Sadly, she passed away, Saturday, July 13th. Her funeral was held July 16.
The date was set, the planning complete, and these events rocked our world a bit, but we moved forward towards reunion day.
The day was a perfect July day. While we only had 21 people respond with an opinion as to the choice of a date, we had almost a 100% RSVP a response of “yes, we are coming!” The day went off without a hitch, and Butch, just home from the hospital, was able to attend for a short period of time. A good time was had by all. For that I am thankful, because I am not sure I would do it again. But I do have to say, looking at the materials that were saved, we did an amazing job. 20 years later, we surprise ourselves.
This post was not part of the original blog “The Aroma of Bread,” but I think that it belongs catalogued with these posts.
As we continue to work on preparing my in-laws home for sale, rooms are cleaned out and items tossed or prepared for the estate sale. Last night I attacked a box of sheet music that had resided in the attic for decades. Not being able to resist, I started sorting through the pages. I hadn’t gone too deeply into the box when I hit gold! My mother-in-laws piano report card from when she was 16 years old and taking lessons back to back with her brother Arthur. Marie on piano, Arthur on violin.
The next item to make my heart sing was the 1945 piano music for “Till the End of Time.” I had chosen this song to end the video I made about two years ago to honor my in-laws. How many people are lucky enough to possess moving images from a wedding that took place in 1946? I chose the song hoping that it had been a favorite, but figuring that I would never know. But last night I learned that they did enjoy this song. I still think it is a perfect way to end the video.