Lauper Family Reunion - 2001

an account by Claudia Lauper Bushman

On Saturday, June 30th, the 33rd Annual Family Reunion of the Lauper Family was held in Salt Lake City. The event, hosted by the SJL Branch, was the first held in Utah since LaMont and Margaret Wardle ran the MFL Lauper reunion in Riverton in 1978. Because of the change in venue, we saw many family people who do not always manage to get there-many young families in Utah schools, many of the children and grandchildren of the SJL sisters, (although my own children are coming in two weeks when our British branch gets out of schoo!), a full compliment of Wardles, and some friends. On the other hand, we missed many of our regular stalwarts. We missed Aunt Jane and Rica and Kevin. Judy Lauper, who seldom misses, was in Italy. We missed Aunt Frances and Diane. We missed Aunt Helen and Marc and Mimi, although we did have Danielle and Nathan Blocker and Bronson. This was the first time in memory that Dennis Brown and family could not attend, and we missed Karen, Eric Brown's wife who could not get a flight. J. R. and Susan were missed and a few Storheims and Miners, although Auntie Vi's branch was well represented and the Petersons were there complete. Kirby Dailey, recovering from surgery, happily less serious than feared, did not make the trip, although Liza and family were there. Wilma announced that Brad and Heather Danielson were suffering morning sickness, so they were not present. Natalie Goodliffe Rodgers came in with her 3 DAY OLD daughter Alicia. The good crowd numbered 114.

The theme this year, masterminded by great party-givers Georgia Gates, Paulie Hutchings, and Bonnie Goodliffe, was "An International Event fora World Class Family". The event was held in the very nice LDS chapel at 2795 Crestview Drive, Salt Lake City, near the Hogle Zoo. International activities and foods were featured as well as attention focused on the international connections of many of the members. Participation was invited in many directions, competitions were keen, discussion was warm, and a good time was had by all.

When I arrived that morning, I found Bonnie Goodliffe and her daughters Amy, Charlene, Betsy and Stephanie hollowing watermelons and cutting up fruit. Bonnie was labeling pictures for the contest on the bulletin board. Georgia, Paulie, Bonnie and families had set up the tables the night before with red and white checked tablecloths, imported from Fresno. Georgia zipped in to put the lasagnas in the oven. Paulie and Gib with Greg were setting up the quilt on which each was invited to take a few stitches prior to a drawing. Kathie Kern and her Erika were soon setting up a display of international items. Someone dumped a jig saw puzzle on a table, and those who could not resist began fitting pieces together.

As people arrived, they donned their hang-around-the-neck badges which gave not only their names, but their relationships to the six brothers and sisters, children of Emile and Emma, who had children of their own. Everyone launched right into the games, finding the person who fit the one sentence description and getting the signature, identifying the countries of origin of the souvenirs from many countries. They also played table games, tied the quilt, looked at the pictures, and caught up on family discussion.

By 11 AM., outdoor games had begun. Jay Goodliffe had rented a great deal of outdoor game equipment and he martialled a group of stalwarts who set out to play games. This was done despite the report that the temperature was 105 in the shade. All players were remarkably vermillion in countenance when they rejoined those of us in the cool cultural hall. I did go out once to report on the players, but the flaming furnace of the sun drove me back in. The little people played games in the nursery under the direction of Nancy Gates.

At noon the group gathered for an opening prayer, the family song, a roll call by branches, and then proceeded to partake of the International Feast, featuring lasagna, tacos, quiche, as well as fruit and veggies, relishes, and pink punch. Dessert was ice cream treats.

Prizes were awarded for winners in the early games. Julie Lauper-Cook, Matt Storheim, and Bronson Lauper identified the most international objects, and Laura Hutchings, who organized the Getting-­To-Know-You activity, announced those who had found the most persons to fill in all the spaces. Prizes were given for superlatives (those who came the farthest, lived in the most states, had the most buttons, and other useful designations.) Lots of people got prizes in these competitions. The photographs were judged by Tom Rodgers in categories such as the most family members in the picture, the best composition, most romantic, oldest, most prestigious, cutest, most heart-warming and so on. . Georgia Gates got the most romantic for a picture of Jean and Serge. Wilma got the cutest for a picture of Linda Peterson and herself as children. Many prizes were awarded here, most going to Auntie Vi.

A roll call of family missionaries came next, with each missionary placing a red sticker on a world map or having someone in the family do it for him. Troy Lauper handed out the stickers. The roll was called by decades, and showed how the numbers grew. In the decades from the 1920s through the '50s, no more than 3 family members served missions. In the '60s, there were 6, 13 in the '70s, 20 in the '80s, 25 in the '90s, and now in 2001, 7 missionaries are already in the field or on their way out. The decade reports were punctuated with trumpet fanfares by Ben Dailey who played with verve from the wheelchair to which he had been relegated by a broken leg. Remembering how much the missions of the Lauper children had meant to Emma and Emile, one could imagine how proud they would be to hear their descendants names called and to see how the red stickers cover the earth.

We called for any corrections and additions. to the list, and got some improvements, such as changing John Storheim's dates. Somewhat later, in perusing the list, Linda discovered that her father J. R. Johnson was not listed with his mission to New Zealand. How could that have possibly happened? Auntie Vi said that when she had first compiled the list, she put on only the living. Since then, we have lost many more, and now we feel to honor them all.

Auntie Vi was asked to relate some of her childhood memories, and the following account is paraphrased from notes I took. She said the most significant events, the most important and memorable had to do with water. As a child, growing up in a household without running water, she appreciated, she worshipped fresh water brought into the home. Her family had carried water in barrels, buckets, and tanks for years. When she was about 6, a miracle occurred when the family moved near a water pump. Fresh water was available for the pumping, and she was given the job of pumping it out. She pumped water several times a day for water to drink, to use in cooking, to wash clothes, to take baths, and to do the laundry. She also had to pump water for the livestock. She admitted that pumping water was a difficult chore. Another of her responsibilities was to release the cows to go graze. She took out the hungry cows and herded them far out to green areas to eat. She and the cows learned together the best places to go. She stayed with them until they had eaten their fill and it was time to bring them back. Sometimes her brother Marc went along with her and they sat together in the shade as the cows munched. There he told her of his plans and "taught her to dream." He said that he planned to leave the farm and become a successful merchant. He planned to drive a purple vehicle. Many of his dreams came true. Her early life was all farm life. She became a good horseback rider, even riding barebacked. Some of her brothers made a little extra money by tracking wild animals which they sold. Sometimes they were too busy with field work to check the traps, and they enlisted their little sister to do the job. She was given instructions, and rode from trap to trap to check on them, reporting back to the boys. She thought that this was an odd experience for a little girl, but she stayed on the horse and did as she was told. After pumping water for some time, her family managed to get hold of some equipment and drill an artesian well. From this pipe came flowing water which seemed marvelous to her. The water was wonderful, such a luxury. Her father then named the place Bon Eau Ranch-good water ranch. That water was some of the best in the valley.

Auntie Vi told of her baptism at age 8. Baptism had been spoken of. She certainly went to church and loved her primary teachers. But in those days, little preparation was made for baptism. One Saturday, she was called to find her brother Marc and to ride with him to the large canal. She climbed aboard the pony with Marc and galloped across the countryside. They came to a place where there was a gate over the canal, where the water was very deep flowing into the spillway. Her father was there as well as some ward people. She was wearing a little gingham dress. She was led out into the deep water and baptized. Then she got back on the horse, dripping wet, with her dress and her long hair flapping in the breeze, and galloped home. She went back to her chores. She remembered the date: September 24, 1921. She noted little similarity to today's baptisms. But she knew that the ceremony was as valid then as any that have taken place since.

The group gathered again to give out more prizes. Landen won a charming apron, Erika,a tote bag/apron that Paulie had made. Then Paulie presented the quilt, a print of many faces trimmed with yellow, green, red, and black to Auntie Vi.

Reunion Quilt
Paulie Hutchings (ctr), displays quilt, with Linda Peterson (lft) and JoAnn Miner

Next came "Who Knows These Laupers, Fair and Rare?" a Millionaire type quiz game featuring David Gates, our Dr. Magic, as M.C. A large banner was stretched across the stage, and David made a dashing entrance, ripping through the banner like a long distance runner. The teams for each family branch were as follows:

  • Serge: Betsy Goodliffe, Greg Hutchings, Kathie Kern
  • Alice: Wilma Stocker, Jared Danielson, Karen Talbert.
  • Marc: John and Lory Lauper and Margaret Wardle;
  • Vi: Linda Peterson, JoAnn Miner, Lanae Hooper;
  • Dennis: Danielle Blocker, Bronson Lauper;
  • Ralph: David and Michael Lauper, Julie Lauper-Cook;
They were asked such questions as What ship did Emile Lauper take to the U.S.? When did the Lauper family arrive in Ventura County? Who began the family directory? Emily Hutchings Garcia kept score, and the Vi family won a basket of international treats.

In the afterimage announcements, Wilma announced that the Alice family would be hosting the next reunion in Danville on July 6th. Georgia announced that all were invited on New Year's Day to celebrate Crawford's 80th birthday. She also invited all the Lauper Ladies to the second annual Luncheon at her home on September 22nd. Linda Peterson said how much she enjoyed the family directory, how when it arrived she dropped everything to read it. She thanked Georgia for her good work and urged family members to be more punctual with their entries. The group lined up for pictures, and many flashing lights went off before they were able to move on to supper, for which Crawford Gates asked a blessing.

A sandwich bar was set out and the hungry hoards fixed themselves sandwiches of meat and cheese and ate international cookies, brought by many people, for dessert. Meanwhile Nancy and Stephen Gates, David Lauper, Joanna Lauper and others slaved away at the jigsaw puzzle, eager to finish it before the day ended. They were still at it as people began to dismantle things. A clean-up fleet snatched every chair someone was not sitting on, folded tables and tablecloths as they could, although people remained around to talk. Food was cleared, distributed, and stowed. Personal goods were moved outside into the hall. People began to sweep and wash the floor. The lights were turned out. Still the puzzlers puzzled on. Paulie moved them out into the hall. Did they manage to finish it? Gradually people said their adieus, planning to meet again next year.

The wonderful day ended with a mystery. Where was the huge pink ball people had been playing with outside? How could a thing larger than anything else all day disappear? Scouting parties went out in cars and by foot, searching up and down the streets for the vagrant toy. At last word, it had not been seen. Perhaps it will turn up before this report is published.

[The huge pink ball was never found!]

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