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Entries in family (8)


Memorial Events on the 10th Anniversary of Sept. 11

In place of the “Weekend Spotlight” today, I wanted to bring you a list of events that area towns, organizations and churches are holding to remember the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Photo by lars hammar on Flickr.But in my opinion, another wonderful way to honor their memories will be to spend quality time with your family and close friends. The Go West Calendar has more than three dozen events on it this weekend, including the Sandwich Fair in Sandwich, Festival of the Vine in Geneva, a free outdoor showing of “The Rookie” in Elgin, horse-drawn hayrides in Wheaton and a star party in Geneva. And of course staying home, or taking a walk or bike ride around your neighborhood, counts as quality time, too.

However you choose to spend this weekend, I hope you find some time to spend it with the people you hold dear.

REMEMBRANCE CEREMONY: The city of Aurora will hold a commemoration ceremony at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, at Aurora’s Central Fire Station, 75 N. Broadway Ave. The ceremony will honor families who lost loved ones and salute the bravery of the emergency responders during the tragedy. The special guest speaker will be Tom Jones, who was at the World Trade Center when the planes hit. 

SUNRISE SERVICE: Metea Valley High School invites community members to a sunrise service on Sunday, Sept. 11, at 6:30 a.m. in the courtyard of the school, located at 1801 N. Eola Road in Aurora. The morning will feature prose, song, interpretative dance and patriotic tributes.

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Spring Memories: Many Mays and the Who

The purpose of Memorial Day, of course, is to remember the sacrifices of the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. But it's also a day that prompts many of us to think about beloved family and friends who are no longer with us. In this guest column, Jennifer Downing of Nourish reminisces about a series of special days spent with her grandmother. 

Twenty years ago, I imagine a long-distance phone call between mom and grandma, making plans for my brother and I to visit. Every year in June, or so it seemed, we visited our favorite grandparents for a week. Between history-based day trips, holly hock dolls and walks to Maggio’s for candy, we went strawberry picking. The field was a short drive down Route 45 from their post-war Cape Cod and as I recall, adjacent to a trailer park. Grandma always took the effort seriously, explaining the how-to’s of the task at hand. Most important was to remember to move the flag, signifying what row had been picked and to what point. Still, the scent of tiny, local strawberries warm with the sun renews wonderfully fragrant memories. I attribute some of my passion for food to those experiences.

Photo by nij4 on Flickr.This month, Doug and I are celebrating our 16th anniversary. The blooming of the lilacs usually coincides with our celebration and that May many years ago they were stunning. I cut a huge bouquet to dress the dining table to welcome my grandparents. Well into their eighties, they drove from Champaign to be at our wedding. We dined on fancy hors d’oeuvres and champagne. Grandpa had beer even though his doctor said he shouldn’t. The cake was ridiculously expensive – and perfect.

Fifteen years ago this month I was pregnant with our first child due in July. My grandmother, a widow by then, and I had made plans for a weekend together and it included strawberry picking. While it would be June until the berries were ready plans were at hand. Just beginning to have more time in the kitchen I wanted to make homemade jam use a hot water bath process. Grandma bestowed the virtues of paraffin wax and freezer jam.

Last week, I was in the attic putting up winter clothes and came across a bin of our wedding keepsakes and family things. Like the pile of pictures one stumbles upon at an odd moment that brings the day to a screeching halt – so this discovery left me. Teetering on the edge of a Christmas decoration box, pile of boots and sweaters at my feet, something fluttered in my chest – the joy of nostalgia. Stuck in a pile of cards and wedding announcement clippings I found a letter from my Grandma. Light blue with a deckled edge, I received many letters upon this stationary through our years of correspondence.

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She'sWrite: My Mother-in-Law, Myself

Here’s a multiple choice question for you. My mother-in-law is A) meddling B) critical C) not understanding D) none of the above. If you answered D, you are correct.

The writer with her son Logan and mother-in-law.My mother-in-law lives in Norway, but we’re quite close. She’s very nice, yet also very strong-willed and opinionated. I’m also strong-willed and not shy on sharing my opinion, but what makes our relationship work so well is that we have a healthy dose of respect for each other.

Relationships with mother-in-laws can be tricky. It’s like a tale of two queens in one kingdom. They’re the mother, they’ve watched your partner grow up, guiding them along the way. When you come into the picture it’s like there’s a new queen in the castle, new rules and now your partner is listening to someone else’s guidance: yours. (Well, at least we hope our partners are listening to us …)

I remember the first defining moment between me and my MIL. It was shortly after Hubby and I married and she and I were hanging out in her kitchen. She turned to me in her sweet accent and eagerly asked if we were going to start having kids. I told her no, we were going to wait a bit.

She frowned and asked if I was sure, because it would be nice to start a family. I paused to ponder how to phrase my answer. One of the great things about Norwegians is their brutal honesty, so I told the truth. We wanted to have kids, but I wanted to spend time working on my career first, so babies had to wait. She frowned again and then said: “Well that makes sense. I tell (my daughter) to wait to have kids, so why shouldn’t it be the same for you?”

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