Lauper Family Reunion - 1997

an account by Claudia Lauper Bushman

Once again I take computer in hand to describe the Lauper Family Reunion, this one announced as the 28th annual affair. This was my fourth in a row, one I thought I probably would miss because of a busy summer. But the sudden move to Pleasanton of my son Ben and his wife Deborah and young son Reeve persuaded me to come to introduce them to their clan. Actually, they scarcely needed me as they were drawn into myriads of conversation with family members.

While much of this reunion was familiar, there were some dramatic differences. This was the first without Marcel Franklin Lauper, a staunch supporter of family and reunions, who never conversed without strewing around extravagant compliments. Uncle Dennis, now mostly confined to bed, was also missing. And his wife, Aunt Helen, who had planned to attend, had several newly broken ribs from a fall that morning. So that potent second generation was represented in this pioneer year by Auntie Vi, Aunt Frances, and Aunt Jane. The familiar venue was the Stocker-Danielson compound in Danville, the perfect divided space for family activities. The host this year was the Johnson clan, extending into Petersons, Storheims, Kennedys and Hoopers, under the general direction of Linda Peterson. Several long tables were set up under an awning to deflect the sun, and several round ones as well, so the sitting was very comfortable. Doug and Matt kept the volleyball going in the other section of the yard, where a "cooling" water game was later led by JoAnn. The day was sunny, mild, and absolutely perfect California weather.

We were all drawn repeatedly to the large family tree created by Karen Talbert last year as a one time artwork. But this road map promises to be a permanent fixture. Deborah used it constantly to find where people fit into the family. Karen was on hand, painting in small changes, adding leaves as necessary. She changed my daughter-in-Iaw's name from her genuinely given Elizabeth to her commonly known Diane, adding leaves for Amy Goodliffe's new husband Greg Pal and for new babies. It becomes clear that some branches of the tree are getting very crowded. Karen had also done a very large mural of the western trek which had been tacked to the side of the house.

Early on, young Dave Peterson hosted a practical genealogy meeting in the house. He, Linda, and Auntie Vi have been working extensively on family records, and it is clear that we have reached a new phase, refinement rather than research. Some of our lines go back 15 generations, which is far enough, but there are discrepancies in dates and spellings which need to be checked, verified, and standardized. The work for some ancestors has accidentally been done repeatedly, sometimes with errors. This matter of cleaning up the records is now the most important thrust of genealogy.

Along with that, Dave suggested that we work together on a number of other projects, doing some deeper historical research to understand. the background of our family members. Other projects suggested, one of which should appeal to everyone, were 1) to get the whole family on line with e-mail addresses; 2) to establish a family web page and eventually get all family histories on it so that they can be read and downloaded; and 3) to get them all transcribed so that they can be entered.

Lory volunteered to transcribe ?? story as well as to arrange to have the Danish letters written to Grandma Emma translated. Judy wanted to see that all began their family histories, and she began to collect e-mail addresses. Karen Brown, who has kept a journal since she was 18, felt unsure about moving to computers, but by next year, changes may well be made. It was suggested that family correspondence be saved and journals written on computers.

Michael Lauper has long felt that a family library should be established with two copies of everything submitted to him. He stated that a bibliography will be started this year. My interest is in the enriching of our family archive at BYU. The papers of Jean and Serge Lauper have been deposited in Special Collections at the Harold B. Lee Library. Those of the Bushmans and the Gates have been accumulating there. We stand to have one of the best collections of 20th century LDS family papers, and all are encouraged to save their correspondence and journals with the idea that they will be deposited there. Save your papers, and do not thing that they are unimportant.

Counting down the tribes: The Serge group could count 6: Paulie and Gib, the perennial representatives of "Our Branch". I was there and Ben's family as previously mentioned. Georgia and Crawford were required to be in Beloit for the 4th of July concert that always conflicts with family reunion time (except last year) and it should be mentioned that we had all just come from Amy Goodliffe's wedding in Boston. Jay Goodliffe was also married in July in Washington, so the Goodliffes, who also noted 5 graduations in June, were occupied. Bonnie told me, however, that she called her family together, showed them the color picture of the 1996 reunion, and said "next year we will be there".

The Brown group of 19 was almost complete with Norman and Wilma and all her complete progeny. The Dennis Brown family was there absolutely complete with Dennis and Shirley, Bill and Julia, Gordon and Sara, and Barbara. The Eric Brown family had 5 of 7. The three younger boys were there, while Gregory is in Korea on a mission and Kristin is off at school.

The Marcel family, despite the absence of the much-missed Uncle Marc, was represented by 11: Aunt Frances plus the faithful John and Lory and their 3 daughters along with Warren and Diane Smith and their 3 boys. Diane, despite her recent bout with the big C, looked absolutely adorable in a shocking pink t-shirt and hat.

The Johnson group had the most with 24, and was again almost complete. Auntie Vi had her 3 children. All of the children and grandchildren (11 in all) of Linda and David were there. Lanae's 4 month old Maryn was almost the youngest, upstaged by Elisa's Tanner, 1 month old that day. Kurt Kennedy was the only member missing, having to stay home in Lawrence, Kansas. The Petersons were augmented by adopted daughter Tessie, husband Wilson Crosby, their son Alston and Tessie's mother from Venezuela. Sue was there with J.R. and JoAnn was accompanied by 2 sons, Matthew and John with his wife Paige. Her 2 other sons are now both out on missions in Chile and Germany. By the way, I saw Paige's parents the next week, and her father Dave inquired closely as to what magic the Lauper family had to inspire such loyalty and attendance. He said he had never seen anything like it.

The Dennis family had 8 present, despite the absence of Dennis & Helen. Marc and Mimi had brought Ryan and Arlene, Danielle and husband Nathan Blocker, along with handsome little Marc Allen, and Kimberlee. My daughter­in-law Deborah was thrilled to discover that Marc and Mimi live adjacent to the town where she grew up. She and Arlene have a number of friends in common and have even met in the past.

The Ralph family, led by Aunt Jane, was more than complete with 18 present. Judy and Dave had their whole contingent of children plus Julie's fiance, the handsome David Cook. They will go off to Granada where he is studying medicine after their wedding on August 1st. Rica and Kevin also had their whole family of children plus a friend of Cammie's.

Auntie Vi came up with a grand total of 86, certainly the largest number ever to attend a family reunion, although it ties the record of 1987.

The feast consisted of delicious barbecued beef in buns for which the meat, I understand, was prepared and frozen by J.R. in Denver and flown in for the occasion. There were also hot dogs as well as many salads, chips, sodas, jello jigglies for the kids, etc. etc. There was a wonderful array of cookies for dessert. We had our glass beer mugs for drinks, complete with the labels we had written out last year for identification.

Ancestor Display
Photos and Memorablilia of Ancestors

The genealogy theme of the reunion was carried out in a marvelous display of large photos of past family members and some wonderful memorabilia including the music box/ photo album given to Grandma Emma by her brother Niels. After a singing of the family song written and led by Paulie, Linda called on Dave who taught us a little family culture with prerecorded messages in German from Elder Steven Storheim in Berlin, Germany; in Danish from Janelle Lauper Shields, former missionary in Denmark; and French, very ably pronounced by 13-year-old K.C. Kern, former resident of Belgium and France, with additional comments from his mother Kathie Gates Kern. Dave had written many phrases from these foreign lands on large posters so we tried our tongues around them. A group of Peterson grandchildren and Van Katwyks sang "Genealogy, I am Doing It," with young Rachel Kennedy the star. When her mother Elisa sang the Amy Grant song, "Heirlooms," it was easy to see where the talent came from. Linda spoke movingly of her appreciation of her heritage, of the family, and of the Savior.

A tough trivia quiz asked:

  1. the identity of "Grampa Wooden Leg" (who was Jens Jacobsen, the husband of Grandma Emma's grandmother who brought her up. He had lost a leg in the Prussian War and always walked on a stump.)
  2. The most popular given name in the family is Jean, in male and female forms, followed by Hans and Anna.
  3. How many children did Great Grandmother Maria Johanna have? That is how many siblings did Grandma Emma have? There were 7 children: Emma, her half- brother Neils, and the five Madsen children. So Emma had 6 siblings.
  4. What was the occupation of Emile Lauper in Switzerland? He was a vintner.
  5. What ancestor had the initials MECS, and what current family member was named in her honor? The answer is Emile Lauper's mother, our Swiss-French ancerstor Marie Elise Cecile Sachot, and Elisa Peterson Kennedy is named for her.
There. Now you'll all know for next time.

Lanae led a large crowd in a Danish folk dance, and that was followed by a Virginia Reel on the grassy sward, with live fiddle accompaniment by Paige Storheim. I was charmed and moved by the sight of the big uncles leading their little nieces in this time-honored number, and it was nice to have dancing as well as volleyball and swimming. Then it was time for the family picture taken for the second time by Ben Talbert. I was somewhat shocked to be ushered by David Peterson into the row of chairs reserved for the venerable and aged. Has it truly come to this? Ben snapped many pictures from many cameras, but having forgotten his tripod, he didn't manage to get in any himself. Sue Johnson was busily providing a video record of those present. This tape, which includes impromptu family memories, will make interesting viewing at a future gathering. [unfortunatley, the tape was accidently destroyed]

Next year: the Marcel Lauper tribe will be in charge of a reunion which may be in Salt Lake.

Come Again!

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