Category Archives: technology

Revisiting Nan’s 1987 farewell tour of Michigan

This is a retelling of Nan’s last visit to Michigan in 1987, and how I “rediscovered” the daughter of one of the 1987 event attendees in 2021, almost 34 years later.

Nan with her niece, Phyllis, and Phyllis's husband, Sam
Nan with her niece, Phyllis, and Phyllis’s husband, Sam

My dad, John,  died in late 1986, after a series of health crises, and a long “twilight zone” time, during which my mom, Nan,  hardly left his side. By that time he passed she was not in good health herself, and thinking that time was probably of the essence, I decided to offer her the opportunity to pay one last visit to her home state of Michigan.

Restored portrait of Luise Dorsch Schreiter, Nan's maternal grandmother
Restored portrait of Luise Dorsch Schreiter, Nan’s maternal grandmother

My mother’s many Michigan friends and relatives were thrilled to hear she was coming, and they jumped at the chance to organize breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and afternoon teas in her honor. The largest gathering of the many events was a dinner at one of the popular German restaurant in Frankenmuth (featured image, above). Mother’s oldest brother, Al, hosted the affair.

Nan's cousins Fred, Max, and Otto Riedel, in Harbor Beach, Michigan
Nan’s cousins Fred, Max, and Otto Riedel, in Harbor Beach, Michigan

I was pleased to have the opportunity to show my mother a good time and to chat with so many cousins, many of whom I had not ever met before. (My family and I moved to Southern California when I was only 11.)

“C,” the daughter of one of my mother’s favorite maternal aunts, Bertha, was in attendance.

Sam and Mike Symons (Riedel/Schreiter relatives)
Sam and Mike Symons (Riedel/Schreiter relatives)
Nan with Betty Peutrell (John's niece)
Nan with Betty Peutrell (John’s niece)

Fast forward to 2021, when one of the silver linings of the COVID-19 lockdown was the opportunity to catch up on searching for cousins through DNA records.

One of my DNA “discoveries” this year was C’s daughter “K,”  who remembered her mother’s talking about the 1987 family reunion in Frankenmuth, and who still had the family history information that my mom wrote up for her mom. I was pleased to make K’s acquaintance and to “chat” (virtually) about our German ancestors.

Oh, the blessings of a long and full life, and the wonders of modern science!