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Published: September 18th 2009
Alabama BeachesYOU CAN CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE IT, THEN GO BACK TO THE JOURNAL OR GO THROUGH THE PHOTOS (CLICK ON THE NUMBERS AT THE TOP) IN THAT ENLARGED FORMAT.
These beaches were breathtakingly beautiful, not crowded and had powder-soft white sand
YOU CAN CLICK ON "PREVIOUS ENTRIES" AT THE TOP LEFT OF THIS BLOG PAGE AND SEE OTHER BLOG ENTRIES. September 16, 2009
We hope this finds you all well after having enjoyed a fun and recuperative summer.
Since last year (08) we went to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest for the summer, which is mainly Kathy’s family, this summer we went the other direction to see friends and family, mostly Bernard’s. It had been awhile since we’d been "back east" and had 8 new grand-nieces and nephews to meet! Bernie’s sister Claudia Tyrrell
has 7 children, and brother Tom Dougherty
5, and they are all having children, hence the mini-population explosion.
Our trip began on May 22 and ended on August 15; we drove 10,000 miles in our VW Euro (camper) van.
We drove through Texas, Louisiana, Alabama
, up through Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio to New Jersey
; down again to Virginia and Washington, D.C.
, back to New Jersey,
up to New
San Antonio, TX
We not only got to visit with old friends Mark & Yolanda, but with Yolanda's oldest daughter, Lizette, who lives in SA too
York, Massachusetts, and as far north as Vermont
; down to New York and New Jersey
, again. Yeah, Bernie’s sister Claudia in New Jersey had us for a veeerrry long visit. Thankfully she is a good sport and easy-going.
We started the trip with a visit to Mara & Larry Cohn
in El Paso, TX
, and EXACTLY
like our previous visit, since they were our first stop, we totally forgot to take any photos of them. (M, L, J & A, can you all forgive me, AGAIN??) We met the Cohn family in 2001 when we were all living in the Netherlands, and it is always a delight to spend some time with them and see how the kids are doing - Josh
is in college now, yikes! and sweet Alicia
, 8 years later at 16, is a lovely young woman.
Next stop was San Antonio, TX
to see Yolanda & Mark Graber
, old friends from Alaska. Yolanda’s oldest daughter, Lizette
, is also living in SA now, so we had a wonderful visit with her too.
From San Antonio we did the most camping of the summer - mostly on beaches in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida
Claudia's youngest daughter, Maria Barney, lives in Largo, FL with husband John and 5 mo. old Charley
In Florida we also camped at a natural springs area, Manatee Springs. There are many of these lovely springs all over Florida where the water temperature is always cool and creates a wonderful micro-climates and lush forests surrounding them.
Our first family visit was in Largo, FL (near Tampa)
(Tyrrell, Claudia’s youngest daughter), husband John Barney
and 5 month-old Charley
- what a cutie - and Maria and John are the most laid-back, natural parents ever.
Next stop was Boca Raton, FL
to see our Argentine daughter, Marcela
, and her family - husband Tim
and almost 1-year old Cal
. We were also there to celebrate Marcela’s 40th birthday! She reminded me that when she and the other exchange student’s were with us in Alaska, I had celebrated my 40th birthday! (See photo below) Too weird. Cal is, of course, adorable, and Marcela and Tim amazing parents, but we expect no less.
On our way from Boca Raton to Charleston we stopped for a romantic respite, as it was our anniversary. We lucked into a quaint little B&B in the beautiful old Spanish-style town of St. Augustine
, which is a tourist mecca, but still very
Boca Raton, FL
We visited Argentine daughter Marcela Jensen, husband Tim and son Cal
Next stop was Charleston
where good friends Ernie Byers & Kaye Carmichael-Byers
- the couple we traveled with in 2006 for 3 months in southern Africa - have completed their fabulous home overlooking Clark Sound on James Island. We had dinner one evening with Ken & Jan Poole
- Ken is the brother of our good friends from South Africa and was actually the connection between Ernie, Kaye, us, and Peter & Sue Poole
who became our good and dear friends the year we lived in Pretoria
. Always a delight to spend time with all of them.
In North Carolina we had a ton of stops to make as half of Claudia’s kids have moved there, well, 3 anyway. Nephew Chris/Charlie Tyrrell
lives in Charlotte
and was our first stop. He is doing great; his older son Christopher
is going to college in North Carolina.
(Tyrrell), husband, Dean
, and daughter, Jonna
live in Taylorsville
and were our next port-of-call. We actually just stopped briefly to caravan with them and Dean’s cousin to the French Broad River in near the Tennessee border for a VW camper van get-together. It was
Ernie Byers, Bernardo & Ken Poole at Ernie & Kayes home on James Island - you can see a hint of the beautiful view behind the guys
a weekend of tie-dye clothes, 60-70s music, old and new hippies everywhere and a bunch of fun. It was billed as “kid friendly,” (read: no pot smoking) but there were plenty of spirits around, including home-brewed beer and even more potent “shine” - said still having been set up after the kids went to bed, which was darn late as there was a community fire-ring where Samore makings seemed endless.
At the camp-out we actually saw niece Denise Tyrrell
and daughter McKayla
, who live in New Jersey, as they joined us - McKayla had been at a swimming camp in Tennessee, so they dropped in and surprised us.
Next to Asheville, NC
which is one our favorite towns and where nephew Thomas
& wife Kim Tyrrell
live. We had a nice visit with them, but I, once AGAIN, forgot to take any photos. We also spent a fun evening with good friend Randy Latta, who now lives in Asheville.
, where niece Marie
(Dougherty), husband Chris
, and children Elise and Griff Gould
live, was our next stop. The Gould clan had been to visit us in Tucson in 2007, where we’d had a superb time with
Kaye, Jan Poole & Kathy at Kaye & Ernie's beautiful home
them, so it was great to see them, especially the kids, again.
Also in Louisville are my brother’s son, Tom Merryman
, wife, Jen
, and 2-year-old son, Levi
, who has William’s syndrome and is thus small for his age, but a delightful little guy who always has a smile on his face and a cuddle for everyone. We had a delightful visit with them, albeit a short one.
From Kentucky we drove to Tiffin, Ohio
to see a friend, Rebecca
, from South Africa
. Rebecca was a neighbor of ours in Pretoria
and it just happened that she was going to be visiting family in Tiffin when we were in the area, so we managed to meet for a short visit. She bought a beautiful old home in Tiffin and was busy fixing it up as a rental before having to head back to Johannesburg in a few days - she had her work cut out for her, but had rallied family to get the job done and was making great progress.
New Jersey/New York
We then high-tailed it to New Jersey. We had arranged for our Guatemalan daughter’s, Jackie’s, nieces Aixa
, along with their mother,
Bernardo and his mini-me, nephew Chris Tyrrell
, to come for an “exchange” to New Jersey. The idea started out simple - Melissa, age 8, comes to NJ to spend time with McKayla, age 10, and to learn English. Then McKayla goes to Guatemala to learn Spanish. It got much bigger than that - 3 from Guatemala came and then in late August Denise & McKayla went to Guatemala.
Letty and the girls came for 3 weeks; Claudia and Denise had to work some of that time, plus McKayla had a ton of swimming classes and meets. So we came to NJ to host the Guatemalans. They also had a cousin who lived in New York City, Jimena, who came to NJ and took them back to NYC for a weekend, which was great for them as they walked for hours every day and saw so much.
One of our excursions out of NJ was to Richmond
where niece Adrienne
(Dougherty), husband Rob
and boys Shep & Lee Martin
, plus nephew David Dougherty
, wife Deb
, kids Cole, Ella and Julia,
all live. We also went to Jamestown and Monticello
. It was unusually cool and not humid in Richmond, which was a delight for us
North Carolina VW Camping Get-Together
On the French Broad River near the Tennessee border - ❡"let's do the time warp again"❡
all. We had a fabulous 4th of July and overall visit as Adrienne & family and David & family kept us busy and entertained to the max.
We headed north again but stopped in Washington, D.C.
to visit niece Regina
(Dougherty), husband Tim
, kids Patrick, Mairin, Luke & Owen Hall
. We spent 4 days seeing everything D.C. has to offer, well, it felt like everything, but of course we only scratched the surface. We did the monument walk and a different museum or two every day. Note there are no photos of Patrick & Mairin - they are teenagers and hard to corral for photos.
New Jersey (again)
Back in NJ we went to the beach
, again, or swam in Claudia’s pool, had social gatherings and then our last excursion was to the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island - a great way to end a once-in-a-lifetime trip for our Guatemalan family.
We’d like to thank all of the family who so generously took in 5 visitors! It is one thing for two of us to pop in for a visit, but 5, well. . . . It was amazing how genuine and warm the welcome
Bernard w/Elise & Griff Gould; did I not get photos of Chris & Marie because Elise & Griff are so darn cute?
was for us and our Guatemalan visitors. Adrienne, Regina, Claudia and all their families opened their homes and their hearts to us and made our “visit” more of an occasion - we had sooooo much fun!
Vermont was our next destination to visit friends near Middlebury
- fabulous home, picked raspberries, went to a concert in the park, visited Revolutionary War forts, ate scrumptious meals - one of which was almost totally just-picked sweet corn - fabulous - thank you John & Alice!
Heading south again we visited Bernard’s brother, Tom
, and wife Janet
. Tom has a form of Parkinson’s, but looked better than the last time we’d seen him and they both seemed to be doing well. Janet’s sister Nancy
and husband Charlie
came for an afternoon and since we adore them, that was super - thank you Janet for your thoughtfulness, not to mention the amazing dinner!
After leaving Tom & Janet’s we stopped for lunch with Bernard’s Aunt Rita
(oops again - no photo, but in my defense it was pouring cats and dogs, so getting my new camera out was NOT an option) in Rhode Island. She is in
Tom, Jen & Levi Merryman
her 80s, but has had no diminution of her faculties and is a hoot - we had a delightful afternoon with her.
It wasn’t far to Bernie’s cousin, Frank
, and wife, Dottie
in Pauling, New York
for our next stop. Dottie sure knows how to feed ya! Fabulous dinner shared with Dottie’s daughter Monique
and her lovely family.
Because of scheduling, we went back to Claudia’s before making our final family visit, to Tom Dougherty
, wife, Holly
, their two little ones Quinn & Riley in Bronxville, NY.
They have a lovely home in a great little enclave. Bronxville has a definite village feel to it - you can walk everywhere, lots of local shops and
restaurants, nice people, a few minutes walk to the subway for the commute to NYC. Great location.
From New Jersey, on August 1, we flew over for a week in Berlin, Germany
where B was teaching in the German Red Cross summer school and Kathy was looking for an apartment. B had been invited to be an “external lecturer” in international humanitarian law for a year, which means he gets to teach all over Germany and Europe. Suffice it
Aquarium in NJ
Grand-niece Mac with our Guatemalan guests, Melissa, Aixa & Letty
to say here that we found an apartment and the first of September we came to Germany for a year.
Back in the USA
On August 9 we flew back to New Jersey from Germany to find that a cousin of Bernie’s, Tom Killip
, had unexpectedly died. He was only 60 years old, had no medical problems, but had a massive heart attack just outside his apartment in New York City. A sad, sad day, and moving wake and funeral. Tom had not married, so his brother Edward
, whom he was very close to, and his sister Mary Fontaine
and her fabulous family made all the extensive and beautiful arrangements. As always, funerals and weddings are great get-togethers, but this one was so very sad.
After Tom’s funeral we had to drive back to Tucson
(3 12/14 hour days) quickly to get our things together and ready our condo to be gone for a year. The German possibility was in the works when we started our summer adventures, but was only firmed up while we were traveling - hence our rush to get home and organized.
We are in Germany now, well, that isn’t totally true because
On Adrienne & Rob Martin's fabulous patio, which overlooks the James River - no other houses in view, just river and forest - a magical place! (Adrienne w/Letty, Aixa & Bernard)
I am sitting on a hotel balcony overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in San Remo, Italy
as Bernardo is attending a conference here. Yeah, we were in Berlin barely a week before our first excursion - I think I’m gonna like this year! MORE PHOTOS BELOW (KEEP SCROLLING DOWN) AND ON PAGE 2 - CLICK BELOW ON THE "2" OR "NEXT"
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looking so fit
You guys look great! How do you keep growing younger??? any plans for a return visit to Ecuador?
Loved looking at the Summer '09 entry. We LOVED having Letty, Aixa and Melissa (and you two, of course). It was such a special visit. And it was a treat for me to see your photo of Vermont and the Berninghausens. Great to see pictures of the Tyrrells too. love,a