by J.D. Roth

Kris and I braved stormy weather to travel to Sweet Home on Saturday to attend the marriage of my youngest cousin, Ben Swartzendruber. The event was notable because it was the first time I’d seen some of my cousins in more than a decade. I have many cousins. They have many children. We all look so old!

The Noah Roth family tree:

Noah Joseph Roth (9/8/1902 – 7/13/91) and Lola Ann Sharp (4/8/1906 – 7/3/1981) had three children: Norman Duane (10/27/1938 – 1/17/1990), Virginia Eden (2/20/1942), and Stephen Eugene (7/31/1945 – 7/21/1995).

That’s my father’s family as I remember it as a child. We lived a quarter-mile from Grandma and Grandpa, and they were our primary babysitters. We saw Norman and his family fairly often because they only lived about ten miles away. We saw Virginia and her family less often, though; they lived in Estacada, so we only saw them on special occasions. There were many special occasions.

My memories of my cousins have faded with the years, but I still hold a great deal of affection for them. I regret not being able to spend more time with them Saturday at the wedding reception.

I did make the time to have most of them write down their family information, though. Virginia’s family has been fruitful, and multiplied:

Most of these families, particularly those from the east coast, are conservative Mennonite, not quite old order Mennonite. They’re not Amish, but they live near Amish communities. They wear plain and simple clothing, work large farms, are devoted to their god. They live in a very different world than I do, and this makes me love them all the more.

In Norm’s family, Bob has four children (five?), and Deb has two. My brothers have three children between them.

Norman would have six grand-children if he were alive today. My mother has three grandchildren. Virginia has 46 grandchildren, not counting Tammy’s brood.

It’s no wonder I can’t remember all their names.

Updated: 16 March 2003

Do what's right. Do your best. Accept the outcome.
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