Monday, November 21, 2011

Peter's Postcard Legacy: Part 1. Steven

Steven in his backyard, Bellevue, WA

Dear George,

My brother Peter produced a major family photography project in the early 2000’s. He gathered together negatives of photos that our father Vic had taken in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Peter turned these into black and white and color postcards which he then mailed weekly to family members. Peter was an excellent photographer himself, and, after a while, he started including his own photos in his mailings. All in all, his postcard collection is a priceless family legacy. I’ve put a lot of Vic’s photos which Peter resurrected on this blog previously. Now I’m going to post some of Peter’s own photos. Many of these were of his three siblings and their spouses and kids. Here are some which are centered around our brother Steven (and assorted loved ones), taken by Peter mostly in the 1990s. With the tragic, painful losses of my brothers Steven and Peter in 2005 and 2006, these recorded memories take on a powerful, emotional significance.



Peter, Steve, Vicki

I think this picture epitomizes Steven. He was the most fun member of our family, and his warmth and energy spread to everybody around him (as you can see in my brother Peter’s and my sister Vicki’s reactions). Some years ago Pat J., the wife of Steve’s best friend in Menominee, said that her husband’s happiest times were when Steve came home and got together with him. I can attest to that – those were many of my happiest times too.

Steve with Doris, Bob P., and Vicki

Steve and his chums formed a prominent, occasionally rowdy in-group in their high school years, and he kept up these close ties throughout his life. Here he is with long-time friend Bob P., who became a local football coach, our mom Doris, and Vicki.

Steve and Margie at Cloud 9

Steve and Margie met when they were in college, fell in love immediately, and married soon after graduation. We all were thrilled. They were a perfect couple, good-looking, super dancers, full of spirit and good humor. In the late 19660’s they moved from Michigan to Seattle, where Margie specialized in teaching English as a second language in elementary school, and Steve was a lawyer for a major law firm, handling environmental cases.

Margie with Jennifer and J

We started having family reunions at my parent’s home on the Menominee River in the late 1960’s, an annual tradition that bound Steve’s, Peter’s, Vicki’s, and my families together. Here’s Margie with her their first child, Jennifer, and our son J at river house in about 1972.

Vicki, Dave, Steve, and Katja on a night out in Costa Rica

Steve organized a family vacation outing to Costa Rica for his siblings and their spouses in the late 1990’s. It was our biggest family trip. Peter took this photo on one of our visits to a local nightclub. Spirits were running high.

Steven L., sports fisherman

Steve loved boating and fishing, going on regular weekend expeditions with friends to Puget Sound and even to Alaska. Peter took this photo when he and Steve vacationed together in Acapulco. At first we thought that Steve had landed this trophy swordfish, though Peter later admitted to a bit of trickery in the shot.

Steve, Jennifer, Win, Margie at home in Bellevue, WA

Steven was utterly proud of his three children, and he talked about their activities and accomplishments in every conversation. Jennifer, who has perhaps the best sense of humor in our family, grew up to be an award-winning art teacher. Here she is with her husband Win and her parents at the family home in Bellevue.

Greg and Steve

Here’s Steve and his firstborn son, Greg, at one of Greg’s art openings in Seattle. Greg is engaged in more ventures than just about anybody: active in Seattle’s arts culture, the founder of a glass cemetery monument company, the proprietor of two premiere Seattle nightspots, and most recently the new manager of our family property in Birch Creek, MI.

Jason and Hilary at their wedding

Steve and Margie’s younger son Jason has continued our family’s strong ties to nature by being a forester in the Olympia, WA, area (and has been known to hike through the mountains from Canada to Mexico). Jason and Hilary (also a forester) got married in 2002 in Hilary’s home town, Baker City, OR. Peter was there to take this photo.

Steve, K, J, and Gayle

Steve, always youthful in spirit, chummed around readily and smoothly with the younger generation. Here he is with our son and daughter-in-law, J and K, and Peter’s wife, Gayle.

Peter, Steve, Margie (more good times)

Peter was four years younger than Steve, and he greatly admired and emulated his older brother as a kid. They were best of friends as adults. I think this picture was probably taken in Seattle on one of Peter’s visits there. Looking at it, I’m reminded how much I’d like to be with my brothers again.

G-mail Comments

-Phyllis S-S (11-25): Dave, What terrific brothers you were and what lovely memories. We’re still stuffed from Thanksgiving. Phyllis

-Jennifer M (11-24): I’m glad you have these photos to remind you of the good times you had with your brothers. I hope your trip to NOLA is creating good memories, with good photos, of your time with the youngest of your family.

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