Category: Family and friends

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Tante Rina passed away last night, she was ninety-three years old. She had a long and prolific life and during the final years did her best despite her waning health. I met her for the first time during family gatherings at Thea's parents' house when I first came to Holland. While she is not a real aunt, tradition in this country uses the family term aunt (tante) for all close women friends as well. The funeral was done very nicely, although since she was so old there weren't alot of people attending. They gave some speeches recounting her life and played classical music since that was her favorite. We once went together to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam to enjoy some classical works, and had a nice lunch at her favorite place across the street.

The next day in the same hospital my oldest daughter gave birth to a perfect little boy. What an interesting coincidence, very beautiful when you think about it. Fading away into the inevitability of death and coming to light in perfection as a new little soul of energy.

While rummaging through a bunch of old dusty boxes in the attic, I happened to come across this old picture. Hard to believe that it was taken nearly forty-two years ago. Much has happened since that wonderful year way back then, when existence was a romantic adventure and there was still so much to learn in life.

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We finally celebrated my belated birthday gift which was delayed because of everything being closed due to the Corona lockdown. While it might not have been a world record, we were able to complete the Escape Room challenges in seventy minutes, the official limit was sixty but the guy was nice to us. Afterwards, we all went out and had a fancy dinner in town, and it was great fun for me to be with the whole family for fun and relaxation.

Exactly three years ago to this day you passed away, and I miss you still. You helped make me the person I am today, and I am thankful for that. I guess that I should be thinking about you more often. However, as the years go by I tend to forget the memories more often as they fade with time. No matter, you are now in good hands dear mother, and that makes me feel much better.

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I just happened to find this obituary randomly one day when I felt reminiscent and searched the Internet for clues from the past. This is one of my half-brothers from my father's first marriage. As a child, I met him only a few times and those memories of our brief meetings are vague. Later when I was around twenty years old, I drove up with my father to visit him in Menlo Park. He worked in a local gas station and his passionate hobby was fishing. All his fishing gear was leaning up against the wall of his one-room apartment, and he slept on a simple mattress on the floor. One thing that struck me was the portrait of his mother lying on the floor next to his bed, whose maiden name was Maureen Carpenter. It was one of those black and white pictures with her posing in a manner typical of the early forties. My young father was off to war and she stared bravely into the distance. That was the very first (and last) time I had seen what my father's first wife looked like. Just a quick glance really, nothing more. She was very pretty and looked like a nice person, despite many negative things I had heard about her while growing up. With Max, there wasn't really that much to talk about besides fishing and other simple chit-chat, but that was okay because in some mysterious way I felt happy being with him while I could. Bonding with the past and wondering how things could have been, how things had turned out. In a small way he had played a minor role in my life, so I felt a bit saddened when I found out that he had passed away two years ago and I hadn't even known it. That last afternoon I spent at his one-room apartment was meaningful in a spiritual way, and when we parted little did I realize that that would be the very last time I would ever seen him again. Bye Max, may you rest in peace and God bless you.

Oh yeah, one thing I should mention that is pretty important in context of this story is the following. Max was named in honor of my father's little brother who as a child accidentally shot and killed himself in the chest with a gun he had found lying around and probably thought was a toy. My father was fourteen at the time. According to the Kansas Lawrence Daily Journal World dated May 30, 1932, title Wound Kills Boy:

"Max Gish, 10-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Gish, formerly of this city, was found dead in the bathroom of his home at Junction City yesterday with a small calibre pistol at his side. Members of the family believed Max was playing with the weapon when it was accidentally discharged. The only other person in the house at the time was the boy's aged grandfather, who said he did not hear the shot. Max was the youngest child of Mr. and Mrs. Gish. Mr. Gish operated the Stadium barber shop, 1033 Massachusetts street, for about eleven years."

You see, my father's father (the grandfather I had never met because he die when he was fifty) who was a barber by profession, had fought in the Great War. He was a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. 1114th cavalry. At the time I can imagine there being weapons lying around in unsafe places that a curious child might find climbing a high cupboard or some secret drawer.

A few years after that my father lost his older brother to cancer. Those awful events combined with the atrocities that he witness as a soldier in the second world war were plenty of hurtful memories which I believe (almost) broke him.

My mother would have reached the ripe old age of ninety years had she still been alive, God bless her soul.

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Goodbye dear mother, I will miss you very much. You have meant very much to me and played a very important role in my life. Thanks to you and the way you raised me, I am the person I turned out to be sixty plus years since you brought me into existence. Someday we will meet again, and until that day comes I will carry on life's torch that you handed over to me.

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Now running around with all the other dogs in dog heaven.

You were the sweetest dog ever, and you always made us all so happy just by your presence and unending affection. Having to say goodbye to you was harder than we could have ever imagined, and we felt very sad indeed. Sweet dog of ours, we will miss you very much.

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Had my father still been living today, he would have reached the ripe old age of one hundred years. I still miss you and hope all is well.

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Arlington Cemetery with the other heroes.

Thanks again Mom for the nice telephone conversation we had this evening (for you it was morning). Not that I really had that much new to tell you, but it is always a fun treat hearing your voice again. Simply chatting for old times' sake. Since we live so far away from each other, it is extra important to keep in touch on a regular basis. This in order to re-energize each others souls and ascend one notch higher into that spiritual realm. Time passes by swiftly like a running stream, and without realizing it yet another couple weeks or even months have come and gone. I think about how well you raised us kids. Despite life's many ups and downs, the older I get the more thankful I am for the loving role you played and the way things turned out. God has been kind to me.

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A photo of my Dad as a young boy growing up in Lawrence, Kansas (circa 1925).

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Three generations of 100% Gish spanning more than fifty-eight years.

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Kevin and me at the golf course.

Fifteen years later and our paths cross again, hard to believe that it's been that long ago since we saw each other last. Fine to know that we remain close friends and can get together so well despite the gaps in time and location.

Been fifteen whole years ago since I last met up with my old university buddy, and lo and behold he will be visiting me this weekend for a fun and relaxing bout of reminiscing about the good old days.

Fifteen years is a long time and there will be much catching up to do I'm sure. We have become older and taken separate paths in life but the bond of friendship keeps us together.

Paths cross here and there.

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Kiffin and Liam

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Three generations of first sons:
Liam (2015), Lennart (1987) and me (1957).

Had he still been alive today, he would have reached the ripe old age of ninety-nine years old. Still hard to believe that he passed away fifteen years ago.

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Welcome to the real world, Liam!

At exactly 7:06 this morning, I became an official grandpa for the first time. The new baby boy weighed in at a healthy 3638 grams (8 pounds), and his name is Liam Lennart.

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On my drive back home from work this afternoon, I was letting my thoughts ramble away as always and was struck by an interesting insight. Just came up with the idea that when my father was my age now, I was seventeen years old which is forty years ago. Doesn't seem like it was that long ago, but it was. Wouldn't it be even more interesting if forty years ago my father had had a similar insight while he was driving home? On closer inspection of my memory, I am disappointed to realize that this is not possible. My father's father died at the age of fifty years, before my father turned thirty and more than a decade before I was even born. However, it might still have been possible, if things had turned out differently.

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My father was in the navy during the second world war fighting in the Pacific.

Hard to believe that it's been fourteen years ago today that my father passed away. Here is a picture of my Dad and me at the Nut Tree Inn way back in 1964. This was a favorite stop of ours when travelling from our house in Stockton to Giant's baseball games at Candlestick Park which was the old home stadium back in the good days of Willie Mays and company.

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Each one is about the age of twenty or so, but who is who?

Today we packed up all of Sabien's belongings into the car, drove up to Amsterdam and helped her move into her new student apartment.

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Although I felt somewhat sad and know I will miss her very much, I am also very happy for her. She is moving on with her life, becoming independent from us and growing quickly into a young woman we are proud of.

She is the third one to move out of the house. Lennart in the west (The Hague), Marlies in the south (Maastricht) and now Sabien in the north (Amsterdam).

Only one more to go, so I will cherish the time with Maarten while I can.

Thirteen years ago today my father passed away. Had he still been alive, he would have reached the ripe old age of ninety-seven. Hope you're doing alright, by now you must have shot your age many times on that eternal golf course up in the sky.

If my father were still alive he would have turned ninety-six today. Hard to believe that he passed away thirteen years ago. I still miss him and think about him once in awhile. Looks like I've been able to carry on the torch pretty well so far.

For Oma's eighty-eighth birthday celebration, we were treated to the traditional Chinese meal at the fancy restaurant next to the Sloterplas in Amsterdam. The kids were looking great and we all had a fun time. The food was fantastic.

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Maarten, Sabien, Lennart and Marlies

I was very saddened to learn today that an old buddy of mine had passed away last November without me even knowing about it. Here's an old memory that reminds me of the crazy and fun stuff we used to do together.

When we were living together at the SAE fraternity at Stanford, I bet Steve that he wouldn't dare to drive his VW beetle down a steep muddy hill next to the fraternity house. He accepted the challenge, and I sat next to him smoking my pipe as we courageously went over the edge. Unfortunately, half way down the hill, we went into a skid and slid uncontrollably head on into a thick tree, stuck at a forty-five degree angle. Steve shifted into reverse and attempted to back away from this predicament, but that was impossible and a tow truck had to be called. His favorite vehicle was damaged: the gear box burned out and a huge dent in the front fender. I expected Steve to be very angry at me, but he remained perfectly collected, even commenting calmly about how funny it all was. I felt really stupid and guilty about making him pull such a ridiculous stunt, and insisted on paying for the damages. However, being the great guy that Steve always was, he took it all in stride and paid the garage bill himself.

Good-bye old friend, we will all miss you. You got into medical school and I didn't. Now you beat me to the pearly gates, enjoy.

My youngest of four kids Maarten has passed his driving test with flying colors, and now he's the fourth in line for a driver's license. Congratulations young man.

I figure that in total all kids included the driving lessons alone cost more than six thousand euro's. That's quite an investment I would say, but all part of the job of being parents these days. A worthwhile investment.

Before I realize it, he will also be bugging me to use the car to go out, pick up on girls, and terrorize traffic.

I'm sure glad that phase is now finally all over with.

Could it be that my father passed away twelve years ago already? Sometimes I think not, but at the same time I still cannot believe it and have learned long ago to accept it. When I looked at the calendar this morning, I was struck by the fact that the time had passed by so quickly. Yes indeed, twelve years ago it has been.

He was forty years old when I was born, so that means that had he still been living today he would have been ninety-five years old. That's pretty old. I wonder how many holes in one he would have collected by now, had he lived that much longer.

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Dr. Rex A. Gish, Hawaii 1970.

The many memories of my father still remain very fresh in my mind, like it was just yesterday. I guess he had a pretty important influence on the making of the person I am right now, but that is not everything. Cussing and yelling often enough, sure. But also giving me advice, displaying integrity and honesty, and telling me what I might want to do in life.

Playing golf with him, driving in his big Cadillac, going to see the Giants play in Candlestick Park, waking up in the middle of the night because of his cursing and complaining, having a quick dinner in front of the television waiting for the Monday Night football to start, it's all part of what I am all about.

My goal in life is to have as many holes-in-one as my father, he had somehow collected nine beauties. However, since I have none so far that may take some time. Something to look forward to in life.

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Information

This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2456 entries and as many as 1877 comments.

Important events

Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

Believe it or not but I am 10-11-1957 young.

First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.

Began well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.

My mother passed away 3-27-2018 ago.

Started Gishtech 04-25-2016 ago.