Friday, September 25, 2009

Shepard Family Update, Sept. 25, 2009

The family. We were a strange little band of characters
trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste,
borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms,
inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant,
and trying to figure out the common thread
that bound us all together.

~Erma Bombeck

Hello Shepard Family and Friends,

Kairestismoi semeira! (Greetings yet again!) from the beautiful Greek Island of Santorini, on this first Friday of fall, which began this past Tuesday. At least according to the calendar. Where we are it arrived a few days earlier when the wind started to blow this past Sunday and shorts and sandals gave way to pants and a light coat. Where did summer go? Cindy and I and our traveling companions Yorgos and Dionysios have enjoyed ourselves immensely, but we are now ready to conclude our trip and will be heading home this coming Tuesday.

On that very day, as we speed our way westward across the U.S. at 35,000 feet, we will gaze down at the Texas panhandle with birthday wishes for Cathrina (Helms) Clark. Cathrina, who is married to Jerry Clark of Lubbock, Texas, works for a large Cotton Cooperative in Lubbock. She spends time when she can with her kids and grandkids, of whom she is very proud. She and Jerry were married 3 1/2 years ago in Santa Fe, N.M., and have 7 grandkids between the two of them. The first picture I am including shows Cathrina and Jerry earlier this month at a Texas Tech football game.

Jerry has been a part of our family since 1970 when he married my sister Linda Shepard, who died in a car accident in 1971. The second picture I am including is an oldie and was taken in 1972 when Jerry graduated from Lubbock Christian University in Lubbock, Texas. In the picture with graduate Jerry are a couple of members of our family who made the trip from San Diego to Lubbock to celebrate his graduation. Maida Shepard is on the far left, while the taller of the two boys on the right is Russell Shepard, Maida's youngest son. The smaller fellow in front of Russ I cannot identify. 
He might have just wandered into the picture by mistake. (Can any of you tell me who he is and rescue him from the terrible fate of anonymity?) The spindly legged, but bright eyed 12 year old in the purple dress next to Jerry is Barbara Shepard, Maida's daughter.

Barbara, by the way, is to be congratulated for being one of only two people who responded to my question last week about Ggrandmothers. Evidently when I asked the question, most of your eyes must have glazed over as you wondered why I would even ask such an inane question. But not Barbara. Oh, no. She, like me, delights in such diversionary pursuits and was quickest to report correctly the names of each of her Ggrandmothers, who had beautiful names like Elvira (Owens) and Caroline Matilda (Spear), Serena Elizabeth (Turner) and Finetta Clementine (Dearien). Her spelling left a little to be desired, but her heart was in the right spot, so I commend her wholeheartedly.

Also to be commended is Steven Paul Shepard of Anacortes, Washington, who was a half hour slower in responding, but he proudly gave the names of his 4 Ggrandmoms as well. His spelling left even less to be desired, but I like his spirit. To keep your eyes from glazing over yet again I'll be brief and give just the first names of his Ggrandmoms: Nola, Bura, Francis and Alice. (The full names and info of all these Ggrandmothers can be found on

A couple of weeks ago I included a recording of Grandad Will Shepard that cousin Dane Shepard made available recently. Actually Dane converted several different recordings from cassette tapes to MP3 format. They were the result of some cassette recordings that were made back in the 1970s, not long before Grandad died in 1976. Will Shepard, who was born in 1888, was quite a compelling story teller and had lots to say about his long life and varied experiences, making these recordings real gems. We are indebted not only to Dane and his family's foresight in making the original recordings, but for his efforts in converting them to digital format. Select this link to hear another recording of Will Shepard from the 1970s. In this recording he talks about family and his own father, as well as the "wild and woolly west".

I received an email from my brother Gary (of Oak Harbor, Washington) the other day who corrected my comment last week about the total of Maida Shepard's Ggrandchildren. I forgot to add his wife Cindy's 3 grandchildren, which raises Maida's Ggrandchild total to 7. I know this is a modest number when compared to other Ggrandmothers in our larger Davis family (in particular Mildred Davis), but it is a proud total nonetheless.

Have a great week celebrating what Erma Bombeck referred to as "the common thread that binds us all together" as this "strange little band of characters" we call family!

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