Today, April 20, 2013, we celebrated Grandpa Nick Van Dyken's 100th birthday. Though he went home to his eternal celebration 3 weeks ago, the party went on here too! Extended family from around the country gathered, and we had a wonderful celebration and reunion. I imagine it will be the last time the extended Van Dyken family gets together - all descendants of Peter and Margaret Van Dyken - but the singing and fellowship reminded me that we are part of an eternal family that will one day be reunited in an eternal setting, never again to be parted.
Cousin Philip inherited Grandpa's pipe and pocket watch, seeing them just makes Grandpa materialize before me! It's really amazing how evocative a few items can be.
Speaking of memories, each table had a bowl of jelly beans. Grandma and Grandpa always had these on hand. When I was young, Grandpa would portion these out on the counter - one of each color for each grandchild.
Other memories of Grandpa included the hats he wore. He did so many things in his life - was a photographer and butcher and fire chief and carpenter and electrician and inventor and harmonica player and father and grandfather and . . .
Cousin Matt enlarged precious old family photos. This photo is of the 45th anniversary of Peter and Margaret Van Dyken, my great grandparents - along with all ten of their kids. Great-Grandpa lived to be 100, and most of the kids lived to be in their 90's. Grandpa Nick missed his 100th birthday by less than a month. He was the fifth child and the last surviving sibling I'm hoping my longevity genes come from this side of the family!
Cousins from various generations checking out another photo. I believe this one was also taken at the time of my great grandparent's 45th anniversary, but it includes all the spouses and grandchildren.
Reminiscing amid the photos - the one on the right was taken in 1927, when Grandpa was 14 years old. He is standing second from the left.
The youngest generation having fun together :-)