Great Aunt Mary’s memorial gathering

Great Aunt Mary has died.  We went to a memorial gathering and I took a few pictures of some historic pictures.  

Here are 13 of the 15 Whitmore children, on the occasion of their parents’ fiftieth anniversary.  My grandmother, Helen, is in the second row, second from the right.

My mother was a champ and told me all the names and even included their birth order (in parenthesis) (11/12 are twins)

Back L-R: Raymond (11/12); James (2); Raymond (father); Beatrice (4)
Middle: Dorothy (5); Robert (12/11); Helen (mother); Janet (13);  Helen (1) Mary (7)
Front: Elizabeth (6); Margaret (10); Thomas (14); Joanne (15); Luecreita (9)
Missing: George (3); Harold (8)

There are currently two of the original fifteen still alive: Aunts Margaret and Janet are still hanging on.

Aunt Mary was the other one of the Whitmores–aside from my grandmother–to marry a Greek.  Here’s Aunt Mary and her eventual husband Art Demetrikikus.

And here’s a picture of my Aunt Janet at the first big family picnic we had in 1988 or so. She was walking around in a bikini saying, “Don’t you wish you looked like this at 60?”  Reactions to this photograph varied based on people’s view of Aunt Janet and exhibitionism in general. I think it’s a great example of how much of one’s weight is genetic, as one of Janet’s sisters is the woman in the striped muumuu. The Whitmore children had a skinny dad and a plump mom and they took after one or or the other.

Dead Relatives Tour 2018

It’s time for another tour of some of the family grave sites.

The Anastases were my grandfather’s grandparents. “What do we know about these people?” I asked this year. Both of them had been dead nearly a decade by the time my oldest aunt was born and I was curious what had filtered down through the ages.

“I know that he just coughed once in the middle of the night, and then died,” my mother said.  “I’m not sure why I remember that.” Good to know.  Other things: they lived in Southeast Portland and their neighbors behind them were a very large family.  That would be my grandmother’s family, the Whitmores, with 15 children.  I asked to see if anyone knew what their jobs were, or such things, but no one did.

That is what’s come down through the ages. If I had more time, it would be fun to research them a little and see if anything comes up.

I don’t know Gene Wesley Hinds, but I do like the pinecone decorations someone used to decorate his grave.

This year’s entry into the Dead Relatives Tour grave decoration.

Then we ate at the delicious Verde Cochia.

Great Aunt Virginia’s Obituary

More of the old gaurd passing away.  This is my Great Aunt Virginia, who married into the Whitmore clan and had the most children in that generation.  Nine!  Her husband came from a family with fifteen children and she from a family with seven, so they were quite familiar with large families.

She always had a cheery smile and wave at all Whitmore family functions.

Manhattan Project Hanford

The Manhattan Project National Historic Park is made up of three sites:  Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford, Washington.  Fun fact:  If you collect National Park Stamps, the stamp for the Manhattan Project is in three parts.

There are two tours offered at the Hanford Site.  Here is the link to register. We took the Historic B Reactor Tour, but had I known the Pre-Manhattan Tour existed, it would have been my choice.  Each tour takes up a big chunk of the day and involves a bus ride to the site, a guide and a lot of time to look around.  All for free.  Thank you, National Park Service.

We met outside of Richland, where we looked at some exhibits, like this newspaper. Our guide showed us an introductory video and then we loaded up the bus and were off.

Our guide was great.  She also teaches Biology to college students.  She was very good at repeating the questions asked so everyone could hear them and knowledgeable overall.

Headed out to the site.  At a certain point in history this road would have been closed to the general pubic.

It wasn’t a long trip, but did allow for a short nap.

And here it is!  The historic reactor.  What you are looking at are the caps on the rods.  Scientists changed the amount of plutonium produced by moving the rods in a very big cube. [Science!  Not my strong suit.  Go watch a video or something if you want to know more]

As usual with science things, I was more interested in the people part of the equation. A whole bunch of people had to be recruited to this desert to build the reactor.  They weren’t told what they were doing, just that things needed to be built.  And the people needed to be fed.

The site was full of all sorts of repeating colorful patterns.

And some good vintage and modern signs.

Here’s the view from the outside.  Once everything was built, the construction camps were taken down.  The town of Richland was rebuilt so the workers at Hanford had nice places to live. That’s where the Alphabet Houses came in.  The population of Richland was 300 before residents were evicted in 1943.  Then workers for the Hanford Engineering Project arrived and there were 25,000 people in Richland by 1945 Spokane Architect Albin Pherson designed most of the city. He designed a variety of single family homes, duplexes, apartment buildings and dormitories.  Each design was designated with a letter of the alphabet.  If you visit Richland, you can walk through the Gold Coast Historic District and see a selection of the Alphabet Houses.

I greatly enjoyed my tour of the Hanford site and recommend it for anyone visiting the area.

REACH museum

We were in Richland to experience the Hanford tour with Matt’s mother, but we stopped at the REACH museum first.

I’m still uncertain just what the REACH museum is, even after having visited and after looking at their website. I think it’s talking about how the Columbia River sustains a large area around it.  Here’s a big picture of the Columbia and how it reaches so very far, as indicated by the green patches.  I think that big brown area where the word “irrigated” is might be the Hanford site.

The REACH had some nice displays of how the Tri-Cities area developed, geologically and with human influence.  It’s also the first place I learned about the 2300 people kicked off their land with 30 days notice so the Manhattan Project could build a nuclear power plant.  Also about Alphabet Houses.

Other people displaced by the Manhattan project?  Native Americans.  They had lived in the area for thousands of years.

Dead Relatives Tour 2017: snowball bush

The snowball bush didn’t do so well during the hard winter, it’s being propped up here and there. My grandmother loved snowballs, and when it’s in bloom and also Memorial Day, she gets a bunch on her gravestone.

We made the tour as usual this year, despite my Aunt Pat being under the weather.  Basil and Basiliki and George and Helen were visited, and then Matt met up with us at Verde Cocina for a delicious lunch.

XMas Eve Eve

We celebrated Xmas Eve Eve early this year.  Normally, we celebrate on 12/23 (the Eve of Christmas Eve) but moving it up allowed us to have more things to chat about.  When we have three days in a row of hanging out with the fam, we’ve exhausted all conversation.

We celebrated with the traditional soups and bread.  And Mom brought along this fun decorating kit purchased at Trader Joe’s.

I made these white chocolate peppermint covered brownies for dessert, which were delicious.

Our decorated sweaters.They were great fun.  Good choice, mom!