Announcement of Life

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Love Thy Neighbor

Yesterday I was speaking with my cousin, who is 2 months younger than myself. We grew up 2 of 6 cousins in the wilderness of northwest Washington state. Ferries were required to travel off of the Olympic Penninsula and our Main Street town was often named after the fishermen or the owner of our main market and a founding father. Sheldon Stutz owner of the Shell Oil distributorship. My father, Ralph Johnson, owned Johnson Motors and most outboard motors were “Johnson Outboard Motors.” Our grandfather ‘Pop’ run the only movie theater. My uncle Bob was the editor of the Tacoma News Tribune. The women (Aunt Carol and Mom) were happy housewives and busy with the local women’s clubs. 
Janice, Sheldon, Dad
Every Sunday both families would gather for a picnic, dinner, birthdays and all holidays. The six cousins (Jim, Susanne, Janice, Bob, Jack and Jill) would always find a mutual activity. The Christmas plays were the most detailed. Yet the grand usual Sunday evening was a simple dinner followed by a pipe and coffee event for the men and the women got the community gossip, Sorella Club news with dishes to be replaced in the cupboard. The fresh home made pie was served as the women joined the men.

Our mental and social leader was Pop. None of us knew just how much this lone man would develop all of our live. Politics was the primary focus for the after dinner discussion with classical music playing on the old record player.
For all of us, we would have been gathered last night for the election results, we would have been near a radio as soon as they were widely in use.  It’s my belief and memory that no one would take delight in the painful loss for half of this country.  It’s with that grace, I so fully wish comfort in the hearts of all who did not get the voted outcome that they desired.
A full country where 50% of all citizens greatly dislike the other 50%. That just isn’t the best feeling for all of us. From my family of origin we would most appreciate a supportive and co-operative endeavor for all. And we quietly thank Pop who taught us to be mindful for the feelings of others.


  1. I love the recording of family memories. Stories that should be passed on, and never lost - that shape us and that give us pleasure and comfort in their recalling. As Robert Frost said, "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on." My hope is that we will go on, learning that refusing to listen and to have genuine dialog does not advance us, either as individuals or as a community. It will start with each of us, and build from there. So here's to learning from one another, and therein finding richness! Love - Patti

  2. Thank you, Janice, for bringing back some childhood memories, and for reminding all of us to show a little grace and kindness when disagreeing with our fellow citizens. I look forward to seeing you on Saturday and sharing some more memories!
    Love, Susanne