Sunday, April 10, 2016

Happy Siblings Day! April 10, 2016

Friends are the siblings
God never gave us.

Today is National Siblings Day, a fairly new holiday that celebrates brothers and sisters. It is not one of the more popular holidays on the calendar but it is one that has special relevance to families, and therefore to family blogs like this one.

On this special day I must offer my deepest gratitude for my 4 Washington siblings: Gary, Darrell, Barb and Russ. They all live near our mother Maida Shepard in Anacortes, Washington and are helping to care for her as her needs grow greater the more she moves into her 90s. Kudos to them for their love and dedication to our mom. 

Mason and Logan on Easter Sunday
Junior Siblings. On this Siblings Day we celebrate the junior siblings among us, who have a combined age of just 3: Mason Shepard (1 year old) and his brother Logan J. Shepard (2 years old) of Bothell, Washington. They are the sons of Nicole and Patrick Shepard, and 2 of the grandchildren of my brother Darrell and his wife Mary Shepard. This first picture shows Mason and Logan enjoying a happy moment on Easter Sunday.

Senior Siblings. The senior siblings among us are my mother Maida Gower Shepard of Anacortes, Washington and her sister Vicki Gower Johnston of Chandler, Arizona. Their combined ages are 173 years. There are no other siblings in our midst, who I know of, whose combined ages come even close to that number. We honor them for their longevity and for their special place in our hearts. Do any of you know of siblings in our extended families whose combined ages total more than 173? If so, please let me know.

Maida and Vicki in Chandler, Arizona
This second picture shows Maida (on the left) and Vicki when they were reminiscing recently over a family photo album, enjoying a very special visit with one another. This picture was taken last month when my mom Maida came to San Diego and we made a trip to Arizona to see her sister. Vicki lives in a beautiful home in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, very near her daughter Paula and husband Frank Tuzzolino. 

Family History Trivia Question. Here is a family history trivia question appropriate for Siblings Day: Has there ever been two siblings in our family whose ages at any particular moment in history have totaled more than 173 years? Thing about it. The answer is below. 

Happy Birthday to my niece Rachel Shepard this coming Thursday, April 14. Rachel is the aunt of the above mentioned junior siblings, Mason and Logan Shepard. Rachel and her son Kellan live in Bothell, Washington. Best wishes to Rachel for a wonderful 29th birthday.

Rachel and Kellan Shepard
This third picture shows Rachel with son Kellan. This was taken in front of a Halloween scarecrow when their family was out pumpkin hunting this past October.

Jerry and Cathrina, Celebrating 10 Years! This past Friday Jerry and Cathrina Clark of Lubbock, Texas celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. Jerry is also one of my siblings, something of a "secret sibling". No, I did not say "pseudo sibling". That would suggest he has not really been incorporated into our family. The fact is that he became one of us back in 1970 when he married my late sister Linda, and we have refused over the years to let him go! Congratulations to my brother-by-another-mother Jerry and his wife Cathrina on 10 years of marriage, and best wishes for many more years together. 

Back to the trivia question... There have been a number of individuals in our family who lived a long time: Elmer Shepard, William Shepard, Marjorie Davis, Nola Shannon Gower, and Finetta Dearien to name just a few. But to find siblings whose combined ages totaled more than 173 you have to go back to my Grandmother Bura Davis Shepard (1896-1986). In 1986, the last year of Bura's life, she was 89 years old and, at that time, her younger brother Lawrence Davis was 88 years old. Their combined ages that year were 177, four years more than the combined ages of Maida and Vicki today.

In 1999, however, the last year of uncle Lawrence Davis' life, he was 101 years old, and his younger sister Marjorie Davis Millikan Williams was 91 years old. That year the combined ages of siblings Lawrence and Marjorie was an astounding 192 years, a total that has never been matched in our family history. In the year 2026 -- God willing! -- Maida and Vicki will break that record.

This is a bit of trivia to be sure, but it points to something quite significant. In our family there are instances of significant longevity. We and our ancestors seem to age pretty well. There are, of course, some in our family who died way too young. But looking at the big picture, we have a large number of relatives who lived long lives. Why do you think that is so?
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Steve Shepard

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