Sunday, May 1, 2016

Family tree

The other day I went on Facebook to see what's going on in the world: Underhill Rose, my favorite band, is touring the United Kingdom; one of my friends posted a picture of a cake she baked; another friend posted a picture of a cake he ate.

Big stuff.

Then I scrolled down and saw a fuzzy color picture of me. Actually, it was of me, my brothers and my parents, and in the "What's on your mind?" box, my youngest brother, Scott (the poster), had written "This might be the last photo of all of us together, c.1982."

Long ago and far away...

Because Scott had shared it on my Facebook wall (as well as on our brother David's, who lives in Alaska), the photo was collecting "likes" as fast as the city collects parking tickets.

The photo was snapped by my wife, Kim, in Sister Bay, Wisconsin, where Dad was the pastor of the Moravian church there.

Five years later, he was dead from the prostate cancer that had found its way to his bones. He was only 58. Mom passed away four years after that from breast cancer. That simple family picture is now worth more than gold bars to me.

Anyway, within a half hour of posting the family photo, Scott went on a genealogy jag, posting picture after picture of not only the Wehrles, but of the Kesslers, too. The Kesslers were my mom's side of the family, and suddenly, aunts, uncles and cousins were showing up on Facebook as fast as Scott could post them.

And I mean real cousins, not just pictures. Cousins Deb and Char started leaving comments under the pictures, and so were their children. Scott, David and myself responded to questions with questions of our own.

Uncle Eugene, holding Scott, with Deb and Char. Dave is too cool to touch.
Suddenly, we were having a cyberspace reunion. Oooing and ahhing all over the place. The conversation went on all morning, and into the next day. All that was missing were the hot dogs and beer.

It's kind of amusing to think I haven't touched base with Deb and Char in decades — probably not since we were kids ourselves — and now suddenly we were having extended and informative Facebook conversations.

I always thought Char, incidentally, had an interesting name: Charmayne (Shar-maine). It would be the best name in the family tree, if not for her mother, Adelaide.

 At any rate, there is some discussion about having a what's-left-of-the-family reunion. That would be cool. We think it should be in Bethlehem, PA., where both the Wehrles and the Kesslers originally germinated (or, if your prefer, German-ated, what with last names like those).

It's been a tasty couple of days. It's even been better than cake.

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