Tuesday, December 19, 2006


The year was 1976 and our entire family gathered together to celebrate my mother’s 80th birthday. This was quite an undertaking since I am one of 5 girls and we were all married and living in different parts of the world.

The actual idea for the party was sparked by one of the British sailors that we had entertained during World War II. His name was Bert Entwistle and he and his wife Dora had kept up with my mother over the years. In a birthday card they had written that they would love to come from England and help her celebrate her 80th.

Some of my older sisters ran with the idea and, after a multitude of phone calls and letters, the arrangements were made. We met in June at the “Chatham Crest” on Cape Cod, Massachusetts for two days and a night of festivities. Family members came from as far as Italy, Denmark and Chile. The others came from California, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. There were 29 of us in all, which included our honorary family members, Bert and Dora from England.

This is the only gathering that we ever had that included my entire family. I have very fond memories of that time. My brother-in-law from California brought one of those “test your coordination” games where you have to get all the little steel balls into the right holes. He offered a prize of $25 for the winner and our son Matthew won. It didn’t last long as he spent every last cent on art supplies on our way home.

Of course Mother received many gifts but one of the nicest ones was the Prayer Plant that our daughter Jody had raised for her. It’s leaves closed at night.

The weather was very accommodating, as I recall. Each family had a small cottage and they were grouped around an open field where games could be played and picnics enjoyed. One larger building was a type of conference center and it was there that we had our evening banquet. The walls were festooned with photo enlargements of special family events and party balloons.

It was an event to remember...my Mother’s 80th birthday. I can’t believe that, as I write this, I am less than 7 years away from that


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ginnie,

That's a very nice story. It's a dividing line in my head, and I am kind of in awe of people over 80. Imagine an 80-year-old pair of shoes.

Here's what's funny about the photo: did everyone look so generic in the 70s? For a moment I thought I was looking at a photo of MY OWN family!

Finally, yes! Please come visit the museum. It is called Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay, New York. You can call up the website (horrible website) or here's the map: http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?searchtype=address&country=US&addtohistory=&searchtab=home&formtype=address&popflag=0&latitude=&longitude=&name=&phone=&level=&cat=&address=&city=oyster+bay+&state=ny&zipcode=

5:54 PM  
Blogger Chancy said...

I enjoyed your post about your Mom's 80th. I am not far from it myself and I agree that hardly seems possible but I know we are the lucky ones to have lived so long.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wonderful photo. I love visiting your blog as it is always filled with such interesting stories.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Sounds great. Not many of us will get such a wonderful party. Some of us won't even make it that far, so good on the old gal. :)

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is amazing that even one of those sailors kept in touch. That was one of the first stories you shared with us after starting your blog and I won't forget it because I thought that was a tremendous thing your family did welcoming them into your home. And I know what that mean't to the sailors.

That is really great that you all were able to collect so many for the birthday celebration.

With regard to your approximation to that grand age....doesn't time just fly when your having fun...!! :)

3:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As always, a great story. The picture is wonderful. And time is fleeting.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice story Ginnie. Eee! That's a good old Lancashire name is 'Entwistle'. Not too many 'Berts' about these days are there ?

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful celebration for your mother and to think that sailor kept in touch with her all those years!
She certainly looks fabulous for 80 and if I were you, I don't think I'd worry about how close 80 is....looks like you got your mother's wonderful genes!

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part of the reason why I love reading over here is that I truly get a sense of what "family" is supposed to be. Thanks for that. :)



11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last line gave me a chill. Time goes so fast and is so inevitable. My mom is 81. It's her first year ever living on her own.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Ginnie

Was your mum Ruth Lee?


4:07 PM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Yes, Nick, my "mum" was Ruth Lee. I post my email on my profile. Please contact me and tell me if you knew my mother and how. I am very interested. Ginnie

6:16 PM  

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