Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Spencer Jack Visits His Greatest Family Member For The First Time

Yester evening I got a few incoming emails from Spencer Jack's dad, FNJ (Favorite Nephew Jason).

One of the emails had a picture of Spencer Jack at Birch Bay. I blogged about that and Birch Bay on one of my other blogs in a blogging titled Spencer Jack Takes Me Back To Washington To Birch Bay.

There is nothing in Texas remotely like Washington's Birch Bay. How can I say that? Well, from Birch Bay you can clearly see a volcano. And mountains in Canada.

The first email of yester evening, prior to the two with pictures said, in part....


Spencer and I are currently en route to visit his greatest family member.

We will send you photo documentation upon arrival this late afternoon.


Greatest family member? I had no idea what that meant. Were Spencer and Jason arriving in D/FW in the late afternoon? Well, it was already well past late afternoon at my location, so I figured we were talking about a late Washington afternoon.

About three hours after the email about visiting Spencer's greatest family member I got an email with the picture you see above, with the subject line of the email saying "Spencer Jack meets his great great grandmother."

I had not seen this before. The gravestone for my Grandma Vera. Grandma Vera is my mom's mom.

Vera Sundean Porter 
December 26, 1910 - September 23, 2003

To be totally accurate the gravestone should say Vera Sundean Wilder Porter Huntley.

LaVerne Wilder was Grandma's first husband, and the father of my mother Shirley. Yes, that's right, LaVerne and Shirley. Grandma's second husband, Dr. Jim Porter, is who I always thought of as my Grandpa. It was at Grandma and Grandpa's 25th wedding anniversary party, attended by my actual Grandpa, that led me to learn I had another Grandpa.

That night I asked my brother how can mom be 31 when Grandma and Grandpa have only been married 25 years. Young and naive little boys were we. My brother and I decided the next morning I would ask at breakfast. It was then we learned about our other Grandpa, who we never actually knew.

It's a complicated story.

This was the morning we learned why mom's maiden name was Wilder, not Porter. And that Aunt Mike and Uncle Jim were mom's half-sister and half-brother. And that Uncle Willard was mom's full brother, or whatever one calls a sibling ones shares a mom and dad with.

When I saw Grandma Vera's gravestone I thought how can it be that long ago that Grandma died? 2003? I remember like it was yesterday, I was walking with the Village Creek Indian Ghosts, talking to my Arizona sister. We knew Grandma was not doing well. I asked my sister if she would be flying north for the funeral when that eventuality came to pass. As we had this conversation we did not know that Grandma had died that morning.

There was no funeral. Grandma Vera did not like them and did not want one.

It would please Grandma Vera immensely to know her Great Great Grandson, Spencer Jack had come to visit her. It would also please Grandma Vera to know how much we still all think of her. Looking around the room I am in right now I can see several things that remind me of Grandma Vera. Including two afghans, a knit cap and a pillow case.

It would not please Grandma Vera to know that only a few short years after her passing Uncle Jim, Aunt Mike and Uncle Willard would be joining her in the Great Beyond. Grandma Vera would have been most shocked at the passing of Aunt Mike. We all were. Alzheimer's.

It has been years since I've been to the Custer Cemetery where so many of my relatives now live. I don't remember how to get there. Let alone find gravesites once I am there. My last time being there was for the burial of Grandma Vera's little brother, Uncle Pete. The first time was for the burial of Grandpa Porter. That was one big funeral. I remember an overflowing church, somewhere in the Custer zone.

I wish we'd thought to take video of Grandma Vera. But she likely would have objected. Grandma Vera was a character. Funny. What little personality I have likely came in large part from Grandma Vera....

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