Grandma Kerber

I wasn’t born into a huge family but I was drafted into one. As my mother put it I am “one of three only children.” We were separated by so many years that my first memory of my sister is playing at her apartment and my first memory of my brother he was (as a senior) helping me get on the bus (as a kindergartner or 1st grade I can’t remember). Both sets of my grandparents passed when I was very young & I have only a few memories, none of which are very vivid.

My first memory of Grandma Kerber is crystal clear & all about family. It was twelve years ago or so when I stepped my first foot into that soda filled hallway, turned the corner and met Grandma Kerber sitting in that brown chair (the same one that now sits in my living room along with all the memories that come with it). She wasn’t by herself by any means, Aunt Marty was there by her side, along with her whole clan. In fact in the twelve years I knew her I can only remember two instances where she wasn’t absolutely surrounded with family. Once when my wife and I took her to lunch, and another time when she couldn’t wait to meet our new puppy London (curled up at my feet at the moment). Even though her family was large she welcomed me and any of her relatives significant others in as if they were her own.

So far her descendants include: 9 Children,17 Grand Children, and 19 Great Grand Children. With the exception of a few of the newest members of the family, this entire clan (and their spouses) were crammed into Grandma’s house every Christmas Eve for the traditional family Christmas party. Although I wasn’t around to see it, I’ve been told that the same was true for Halloween trick-or-treat parties & Memorial day picnics when the grand-kids were younger. So many memories all shared by everyone, some of them even carved or written on the walls in the basement.

Rest easy Grandma. Your dynasty lives on along with your memories and traditions. obituary

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What I’ll Miss (about camp)

In 1989 New York State bought the land the Long Lake Hunting Club had leased for the better part of the century (1200 acres, 8 miles from the nearest road).  They gave us 10 years to get out.  So in 1999 we had to leave the place many of it’s members had grown up in, myself included.  I’m not sure who, but someone wrote this poem and I’ve kept it hidden away in the dark bowels of my computer until now.

What I’ll Miss

As We give this camp a final toast,
I wonder what I’ll miss the most?
My bunk, the couch, that big green chair?
The smell of bacon in the air?

How bout that griddle made of steel?
Mmmm… we never missed a meal.
That big wood stove, it’s sides would glow,
and keep us warm at ten below.

Yes all these things were very nice,
and I’ll think of them once or twice,
But what hurts so much to leave behind
are all the people in my mind.

Harley, Bummer, Bob and Rod…
take care of them almighty God.
Roger, Howard, Loren, Chris;
It’s all you guys I’m gonna miss.

But there’s one thing we’ll always keep,
Within our hearts, way down deep;
Those memories of yesterday,
No one will ever take away.

And even though the camp is gone;
Those memories will linger on.

~Unknown Member of the Long Lake Hunting Club of Harrisville, NY

Every time I read it I feel the heat emanating from the old cast iron stove as we play just ‘one more hand’ of Euchre at the table built for 20 with the giant jar of maraschino cherries in the middle ready for Roger’s Manhatten.

I’ve seen very few of the members since the club folded. Some created a new club a few miles down the road from the old one, and we’ve visited with them a few times. Unfortunately, most moved on to places unknown.

I miss it. A lot.

I miss my uncle Loren (mentioned in the poem) the most.

Merry Christmas 2.0!

Merry Christmas!

We’ve done Christmas a little bit different this year.

  • Hours spent in the malls: 0
  • Hours spent online shopping: 0

Sorry, we can’t give it away just yet though…

By this time everyone should have heard our request for memories for grandma.  Everyone wants to know what our gift was, and so rather than describe it, we thought we’d just show you.

To explain it, this is the card we gave her:

It was 1991, the year of the ice storm.  Your house was one of the few which still had power.  Mom dropped us off to spend the day with you.  To keep us busy, you pulled out a few empty gallons of milk which we decorated and filled with warm water.  You called them our “Hug Jugs.”  When we got cold you told us to hug them to stay warm.

It is said that memories are one of life’s greatest gifts.  They are like little hugs from the past that come to warm our hearts.  This is Grandma’s Hug Jug.  Inside, you’ll find cards which contain memories or pictures from your family and friends.  Some contain thoughts of all the times you have made us laugh, others contain memories of how you have helped us to be strong or how you have touched the lives of those who love you.

When you feel the need for a warm hug or a few giggles reach in and pull out a memory or a picture from the past.

And finally, if you’d like to read over some of the memories people have, they’re all available below:

Thanks for everybody’s help who contributed, we couldn’t have done it without you!

A Very Memory Christmas for Grandma

If you’re part of the Masten/Kerber family you’ve probably already seen this note from Rachel but duplicating it here just means more people might see it.

We have something special planned for Grandma this Christmas and we need your help. We are looking for memories that you have of Grandma. It can be a funny memory, a special way she has touched your life, copies of old pictures, reasons why you love and appreciate her or anything you think she will enjoy and cherish. In order for us to complete this project we need to have 10 or more memories from each person in your family. This is much easier than it sounds.  Once we started thinking the memories just kept coming and coming.

While this task definitely deserves some attention, some people might be stressing about it. Don’t over think this task as it can be as easy as reminiscing on the old days. We thought we’d throw up some ideas to get you started.

  • I remember when you 
  • I remember how you used to make us 
  • I’m so thankful for you teaching me 
  • I remember the old days when 
  • I appreciate the way you helped me  
  • I love the way you always  
  • It always makes me smile when  
  • I like how   always makes you  
  • When we were kids I loved when you would take us 

As a more specific example:

  • I remember how we would feed the chickens at Grandpa Frankies and …

Obviously your memories don’t have to be limited to this list, but hopefully it’ll get you thinking and give you some ideas.

Remember, Christmas is just around the corner and we can’t finish this little project without your help!