Tuesday, January 04, 2011

wally's world

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I'm the youngest of seven children.


The first six children were born in seven years. My older brother, Wally, was the youngest in the family for five long years, before I joined the tribe. I recently read in "Positive Discipline" (which I promise to write about soon) that if a child is the youngest for more than four years, before any additional siblings are added, they effectively consider themself the youngest in a family.

Translation: Wally was the baby until I arrived and ruined his party. It is for that reason, he tried to pawn me off to whomever would take me, when we were growing up.

Despite the fact that I have MEMORIES of my brother telling people he'd pay them if they'd please take me off his hands, I love being around the guy. He is, without a doubt, the funniest human being I've ever met. And that's saying a lot, because I know some very funny people.

But Wally has a wit about him that is unparalleled. He doesn't tell jokes - he makes observations and relays stories that will have everyone around him laughing in stitches, with the very rare few who will roll their eyes and walk in the opposite direction.

As great as Wally is ... his better half is Donna. Simply put, Donna is an angel walking on earth. She honestly has to be, considering she has been with my brother for the past 25+ years.


Now who's ready for a little trivia about our family?

Wally and I are the youngest in our clan.

Before the two of us had any children of our own, there were 13 grandchildren.

On October 14, 2004 - I gave birth to triplets.

On July 14, 2005 - exactly nine months later - Donna gave birth to twins.

On May 30, 2007 - Donna gave birth to a singleton.

On July 4, 2007 - exactly five weeks later - I gave birth to a singleton.

Grab a calculator, because we're going to do some math...

Triplets = 3. Twins = 2. Singleton = 1.

Triplets + Twins + Singleton + Singleton = 7.

13+7 = 20.

October 2004- July 2007 = 33 months.

In less than three years, two women added 7 grandchildren to our family, bringing the total from 13 to 20. Pictured below are grandchildren 13 through 20.


We met up with Wally and Donna while we were in Massachusetts.

This was the first time we had seen Wally and Donna in more than two years, and the first time we'd seen them in their new house. "New" is a relative term because this house is actually a 200-year old farmhouse. But much like the old lake house that Wally and Donna lived in, this place is packed full of fun. There are dogs, snowmobiles, four-wheelers and an RV ... in the summer there are boats, jet skis and wave runners.


When we arrived, the children were hungry, so Uncle Wally gave them a big jar of candy to snack upon. They loved him, instantly.


Figuring the kids needed some protein too, he loaded sticks up with hot dogs and put them in front of the open fire. As if it was even possible, they loved him a little bit more.



Charlie was hungry - and the roaring kitchen fireplace was taken - so Wally set him up on the 1,000,000,000 degree wood burning stove with a stick and dog of his own. He also gave my husband a warning that if he got too close, his eyebrows, lashes and goatee would singe off.


Once the kids were sufficiently in a food coma, Wally gave us a tour of the place. He is a jack of all trades, but unlike most, he masters them ALL. He cuts down trees, removes stumps, welds, plows snow, and a host of other things of which I have no idea. But I do wish he lived closer to us, because I'd be calling on him all.the.time.

He also rents out space within one of his many barns for people to store their cars and boats.


Here's his work space and just like his father, he loves Budweiser. He has a sign hanging in his kitchen that reads, "Beer: It's so much more than a breakfast food."


When in Rome: Here's Charlie with a beer in his hand, touring the grounds, with snowballs splattered across his back.


After spending a few hours at Wally (& Donna) World, he took us sledding at Suicide Hill. I'm not sure if that's what that place is actually called, or a name that Wally made up on the fly, while we were driving there. But considering our children had NEVER been sledding before, I thought for sure they'd be terrified.


Turns out, they weren't.


Our children, who immediately bonded with their cousins, hoofed right to the very top, or as close to the top as their little legs would carry them, over mounds of snow splattered with blood, before they nearly collapsed.


When they could walk no more, they threw their sleds down and went tummy first, screeching all the way to the bottom.



Cousin Michael.



The two Williams.



Carolyn and Wally.


Henry, the Kamikaze.



Look out below!


Henry did great, until he reached the bottom and would fall off his sled, unable to move and lay on the snow asking that we carry him to the top of the hill and let him slide down, again.


(Yes. We put him in mittens. No. He would not keep them on.)

My brother is very outgoing and has lived his whole life in Massachusetts. So it shouldn't have come as any surprise that nearly half the people on the hill knew him. As soon as we showed up, crowds of people congregated around him and stood talking, or rather, just listening to him talk and then, laughing until they could hardly breathe.


It's good to be back on the east coast.


I'm really so glad that we're here.


Best yet, the kids are glad, too.


Even when they're exhausted to their very core.


  1. That is so wicked awesome with jimmies on top! See, I would make a great east-coaster! Well, except for the cold wintahs and humid summahs!

  2. Oh, sledding! I think I might have to sneak out and go sledding before it get's dark after reading this post :)

    As for your first paragraph about how siblings who have been the youngest for more than 4 years keep seeing themselves as the youngest; I think that might explain why I am still considered the youngest of all my cousins in spite NOT having been that for nearly 28 years, I just happened to be the youngest in a cluster of 3 cousins born within 1 year, and remained the youngest for 5 years. As recent as a year ago one of my aunts called me the youngest of my generation in the family, which made my younger cousin, her son nontheless, ask who he was supposed to be, the neighbour?


  3. Great post Jen.......Wally looks happy...

    xoxo AM

  4. Looks like a lot of fun with your family. Glad you got to go.

  5. Hey! I have the same shoes as your Husband!

  6. There really is not much better for kids then cousins...

  7. Wally bought the old Sauta Farm house? I did not know this - we are neighbors! I wish I knew you were in town I would have saddled up Matthew and brought him sledding and we could have had some laughs! Which leads me to my next question - where is this place you took the kids??? I need to take Matt there - I cannot figure out where you were?

    I remember Wally kicking around in Skidoo boots when we were little - some things never change! And that is good to see!

  8. Massachusetts loves the Amazing Trips! Welcome back!

  9. Oh my Lord!

    You, quite possibly, if possible, impossibly may have just given an introduction to my family! :)

    Minus the trees that is.

    My grandmother has 72 grandchildren. I am one of the oldest. In three years, she had her own child, and then seven of us grandkids were born. three years later, four more (my sister being one), five years after that three more, then three more, then three more, and so on and so forth. No one in our family is "alone!"

    AND then you go to my husbands shop and its all Ranier Beer cans.

    AND we have a hill called Cemetary Hill for sledding!

    AND we have all the necessary big people toys (boats, ATV's, snowmachines, etc).

    Add about fifteen guns and your brother would make a GREAT Alaskan!

  10. Look as if everyone had a total blast!

  11. Anyone you talk to within the family has a great Wally story!! ;-) Thanks to his golfing expertise even my son (and husband) have great stories!

    He's known all over the East coast! ;-) Thank God for Donna, she's the best! Great to see the picture of everyone. Sounds like a lot of fun.

    Congrats to Janet too! Marg.

  12. What an amazing memory for your kids (and you!).

    Although I'm not great at commenting, I love following your family's adventures. I'm so glad that you feel like moving east was the right choice for you. Nothing beats being near family.

  13. Can you imagine if your brother and Jerry and Bob lived on the same street??? CAN YOU?????

  14. One of many cuzzins!1/8/11, 8:35 AM

    Great pictures and such fun times! Reminds me of getting together with my Foley cuzzins... always lots of laughter, good exercise and occasional blood shed!

    Loved seeing pictures of Wally and his gang. He looks exactly the same!! He'll never change and that's whats so great about him! What a riot...hotdogs on a stick over an open fire!

    Glad you had such a fun time coming home and reuniting with everyone. Next time you come I'll meet you at Suicide Hill with a thermos of hot chocolate.


  15. Well at last I am looking at one of Uncle Bill's name sake. What great shots. The twins are just adorable and Wally looks like a doll. Walter and Donna are terrific, he never changes his stories go on and on. I love to see what a great Dad he is. I'm sure the trips had a great time in all that snow. We had six inches last night, sno man time.

  16. One thing about Wally...he was always his own kid and will always be his own man!! Both he and his family look wonderfully happy especially being such gracious hosts to your brood... Looks like everyone had an awesome time connecting with family on your recent visit... Wintertime activities always create such great memories. Grandkids #14-20 will never forget this vacation.

    Happy New Year