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The Stillaguamish River Valley has been the home of the Klesick Family for 70 years. I haven’t really given it that much thought till the last week on the 4th of July. My grandparents moved to Oso in the early 1950’s, like many folks from that generation, they were WW2 veterans and settled in Puget Sound. And a good many of the 11 Aunts and Uncles ended up working for Boeing. My grandpa worked in the lumber yard in Darrington and Grandma worked for Boeing. 

Our family has been spending summers for the better part of 70 years visiting and playing and creating memories. As time marches forward and I am now a grandparent, the transitions seem faster. Almost, all of the great aunts and uncles have left this planet and the next guard has taken their place. Many of them sitting in the exact same spot their parents would have perched to take in all the festivities and catch up on all the happenings. 

And just as my parents have moved up a tier, so have Joelle and I. The new grandparent tier with my cousins are nearing a half century and a few us older, not by much though! And our collective children range from ages 7 to 28, and there are upwards of 23 of them from just the Oso side of the family.  

And now the older children are having children and they are continuing the family tradition of coming to Oso and connecting upwards with the “older guard”. Four generations laughing, playing, visiting and strengthening connections.

This past weekend, it really struck me. I was one of those little kiddos, splashing in the Stillaguamish River with my brother, sister and cousins 45 years ago and almost at the identical spot. I used to build dams in the side channel and splash my mom just like my grandkids were now doing to their mom. 

I remember my dad fording the river with me in tow and how I used to do the same with my children, and how the “worrying” side of the family would all caution us to be safe – some things haven’t changed.   Continued…

And this weekend I saw my son, with a tight grasp on two of the young ones fording that river at almost the identical spot I would have crossed with him and the same spot that I would have crossed with my dad. 

And although I can’t say for sure, I imagine that my grandpa probably forded that river with my dad in the early 1950’s at the same spot. As a matter of fact, if I close my eyes, I can almost hear my grandma Opal, “Richard, you be careful!” 

And in the blink of an eye and in the very near future, Joelle and I will taking up the “older guard” spots that have that unique vantage. Partaking in the 4 or 5 generations that are now below us, watching all those little ones play in the river and a few more ford it with their parents. I wonder who is going to be the one to assume the role of reminding them to be careful?!

Family and family memories are important, thanks for allowing me to muse!