Monday, December 25, 2017

The Van Halsema sisters 1940 and 1990

Good memories for a Christmas Day. Backyard of 219 Myrtle Avenue, Passaic, NJ, September 3, 1944:

l-r: Bernice, Betsy, (mother Nellie in the background) Helen, Will and Marian

Photo taken at the bridal shower for Betsy VandePolder, daughter of Helen Van Halsema VandePolder, August 10, 1990:

l-r: Bernice, Will, Marian, Betsy, Helen

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Tunis VandenBerg 1921-1999

Tunis had, has, the unique distinction of celebrating his birthday on Christmas eve.

Happy birthday Tune!

Melissa's 8th birthday party in Grandville, Michigan, June 1990

Grandparents and happy grandkids, Bakersfield, California, 1988

Tunis and granddaughter Rachel

Joyce holding Jonathan, Melissa and Christina and Grandpa Tunis, Bakersfield 1986

The VandenBergs, Fremont, Michigan, 1970s - l-r: William, Susan, Joyce, Mary and Dick, seated: Tunis and Bernice 
Thanks to Joyce for sharing the photos!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Saturday, December 09, 2017

The VandenBergs, portrait of a family

Susan's uncle John VandenBerg passed away this past Veterans' Day. He was the last of nine siblings and an older brother of Susan's father Tunis who passed away in 1999. This small video is a tribute to the family that Rotterdam natives Marinus VandenBerg and Nellie Visser brought into this world.


Thursday, December 07, 2017

Random thoughts from Grand Rapids

With an emphasis on the word "random."

By-and-large it's been a quiet fall season here in Western Michigan. It was a gorgeous autumn and we have seen little of Father Winter or whatever he's calling himself these days.

A stroll through Meijer Gardens earlier in the season resulted in a couple of lovely shots of fall foliage along with an obscenely large pumpkin, which wasn't even orange.

Every since Uncle John went home to be cared for by his family we've tried to pitch in whenever possible to held ease the strain on Scott and Jen -- and it's always pleasure to share happy moments with sisters Jen and Melissa, Scott and granddaughter Claire.

In November Susie decided to weigh in on a couple of west Michigan craft shows to show off her talents and spread the word about the French Tarte.

The first one was at Saint Nicholas Church in Grand Rapids for a festival called Beneath the Wreath.

Oh, and just to keep everyone on their toes, here's a photo taken in of the Van Halsema clan at the wedding dinner for Gerard and Fran Van Halsema. Fran passed away recently here in Grand Rapids and a gathering of all her children brought lots of memories and stories to be recalled and shared.

l-r: Betsy DeKorne, Jack DeKorme, Helen Van Halsema unknown male at the far end, Bernice and Tunis VandenBerg, unknown female, Nellie and Emo Van Halsema

Susan's second gig in November was a craft show at the Tri-Cities Museum in Grand Haven, MI.

For Thanksgiving several Van Halsema cousins gather at the Ten Have-Galloway home out at Clear Lake -- with Uncle John sitting up and in a chair!

Garrett and Laurie 

Claire, Scott and Jen

Matt with Dude


Robert, Melissa, Daniel Matthew, Megan and Jeff

Cousins Maria and Megan
Merry Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Happy Birthday William J VandenBerg

The oldest child and oldest boy of Tunis VandenBerg and Bernice Van Halsema, William J VandenBerg 1950-2012.

Photo taken in 1955 at 413 Oak Street, Fremont, MI.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Frances Jean Van Halsema

Susan's Aunt Fran passed away this past July and since her children are scattered to the winds it was decided to hold a memorial service for her later in the year. And yesterday was the day.

For those family unable to make the burial last summer here are few visual reminders of the day. Susan and her cousins also took a few moments to pay their respects to other family members also buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Grand Rapids.

Aunt Will and Uncle Jim Quackenbush

Mark Van Halsema

Susan and her father Tunis VandenBerg

Van Halsemas

Saturday, November 04, 2017

November 4, 2004

You're always with me pop - ti amo Papa!!


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tragedy hits close to home

Please forgive my presumptuousness but I'm going to take a moment out of recording our journey to talk about someone else for a change.  

Susan's cousin Pam Mulder and her family once had a home in the Coffey neighborhood of Santa Rosa, California but no longer. In point of fact they lost everything but thankfully evacuated to a shelter in time.

Can you imagine starting life from scratch? 

Another family member set up a gofundme site which you can access right here to make a donation. If you can help please do so. 


Be well, be safe and remember, life is short!

Friday, October 06, 2017

Late summer in West Michigan

Well summer is gone, autumn is here and I've been remiss in posting updates from Grand Rapids. Not much to say, I suppose, and then again. . .

We've had a couple of lovely elderly aunts pass away and a favorite uncle taken seriously ill. Such is the cycle of life and it bears repeating: Life is short.

On an upbeat note Susie continues to bake out of Patricia's Chocolate in Grand Haven and she's developing a small client base as a result.

As for me, well I've finished the 3rd edition of a Guide to the Art in Paris Cemeteries: Père-Lachaise. I'm now up to nearly 2,000 works of art identified and  hope to add even more when we return to Paris next spring.

That's right sports fans, we're starting to pull together a plan for a return to France for my 70th birthday. What we know so far is we'll spend a couple of nights in Lille (again) with family and a few days in Amsterdam with Richard and Pauline and probably the rest of the time in Paris. Anyway, I hope to post more about the details of the trip as they take shape. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, we had a few keenly enjoyable outings in West Michigan, beginning with Bernice's 90th birthday bash at Clear Lake in early August. All her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were there as well as quite a few extended family members and friends. It was, she declared, the best birthday she's ever had. And she never lies.

Bernice (center) with her siblings Helen (left, Betsey and Frank

with her great-grandchildren and Betsey

Ben leading the singalong

Helen, Bernice and her son Dick

granddaughter Melissa

Susan, Frank and granddaughter Christina

with her grandchildren
One day Susana and I walked over to see the Dahlia Show at Meijer Gardens.

We also drove out to Lake Michigan one afternoon and spent a gorgeous hour or so strolling the beach at Hoffmaster State Park near Muskegon.

Scott's dad gordon Galloway

There was also a trip -- again back to Lake Michigan -- for a mini Van Halsema family gathering at their cottage "Overview" on Lake Michigan. Lots of memories of carefree days for kids now well into the cares of adulthood.

Susie and Mary
And then to close out the summer a small group gathered for a wonderful Labor Day at Clear Lake.

Jen and her Aunt Bernice