Sunday, November 28, 2021

There are families and then there are families

Families come in all shapes and sizes.

Some, like our friend Geri Reichstein's family, are quite small. Geri and her husband Larry, who sadly died a few years ago, had one child, a daughter, whom they named Alyssa. Alyssa, a talented musician, grew up and married another talented musician named Saperstein and became--wait for it--Alyssa Reichstein Saperstein. That is a mouthful but it is not funny. When Faith Ford's character Corky Sherwood on the old Murphy Brown show decided she couldn't marry Will Forest because her name would be Corky Sherwood Forest, now that was funny. Anyway, Alyssa and that Saperstein guy also had just one child, a boy they named Larry after Alyssa's father. Larry, now 23, has turned out to be every bit as talented in singing and dancing as his parents and is now in his third season in the role of Big Red on Disney+'s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. With Grandpa Larry gone and that Saperstein fellow also out of the picture, Geri's whole family consists of herself, her daughter Alyssa,and Alyssa's son Larry.

At the other end of the spectrum are our friends Andy and Kate Ring. When we met them in 1975 they had two little boys, Thaddeus and Isaac, and Kate was expecting a third child. Andy was getting his doctorate in structural linguistics at Florida Atlantic University. After graduating, Andy was accepted by Wycliffe Bible Translators, Kate had delivered another boy, Toby, and the family went off to jungle training camp in Yucatan, Mexico. By the time Wycliffe sent the Rings to the West African country of Ghana in 1979, another son, Ben, had been born to Andy and Kate. During their years in Ghana, Andy invented an alphabet for the solely oral Lelemi language spoken by the Buem people, produced the first book ever printed in the Lelemi language, the Lelemi New Testament, and through the use of computers and teams from other people groups that Wycliffe called the Upper Volta Multi-Language Project produced a four-language New Testament in Ghana. He did similar work in Nigeria and South Asia (India) as well. With Kate, Andy produced four more sons--Hiram, Ethan, John, and one whose name eludes me at the moment, and two daughters, 10 children in all.

"I know what you're trying to do," I once teased Andy. "You're trying singlehandedly to bring baseball to West Africa."

Unfortunately, oldest son Thaddeus died of a cerebral hemorrhage caused by dengue fever when he was 18, but the nine other children are now all grown up and married. Besides Andy and Kate and the nine children and their spouses (that's 20 people right there), Kate was photographed last week holding newly-arrived grandchild number 28 in her arms. In all, there are now 49 Rings to date (I'm including Thaddeus).

Recapping, Geri Reichstein's family consists of three people, five if you include the missing grandpa Larry and the Saperstein fellow. Andy and Kate Ring's family consists of 49 people.

I said all that to say this: Our family is growing. We began, as I presume you did, with just the two of us saying "I do." We eventually had three children (2+3=5) who grew up, got married (5+3=8), and between 1996 and 2001 produced two children each in the next generation (8+6=14). And 14 it has remained, until this year. Our oldest grandson proposed to a young lady in January and they were married last month to great celebration all around (14+1=15). Our secoond oldest grandson proposed to his young lady on Thanksgiving Eve with the wedding likely to occur in late spring or early summer next year (15+1=16). Three of the four remaining grandchildren have been bringing the same steady dates to recent family events, so it is likely that our family will reach 20 before very many more trips around our nearest star.

We can now actually begin to imagine living to see great-grandchildren, something we never imagined before.

Here are our two oldest grandsons , first cousins, with their ladies at the family's Thanksgiving get-together. The newly engaged couple, Katy and Matthew, are on the left and the old married couple (all of five weeks), Elijah and Kasey, are on the right.


  1. Sometimes in family history you find large families who dwindle away more quickly than you might expect. There seems to be little predictability or regularity. One set of my great great grandparents had 11 children but only 3 went on to have children themselves.


  2. From two of us came four. From four came 7. From seven came 6 (so far). Families are what it is all about.

  3. That's a lovely image at the end. Healthy, happy young people with bright prospects. Is it customary to wear baseball caps indoors in America's southern states? Perhaps Matthew just forgot to take his cap off.

  4. That is a wonderful picture of your grandsons and their ladies! Families certainly do have a tendency to grow. Our family has grown to the point that our home is too small to have everyone for Christmas, so we will start celebrating it at my son's house. I do not have great grandchildren yet, but my granddaughter is in a serious relationship and we see a wedding in the future!

  5. I love to see young people as engaged couples. It sort of gives me a warm glow that some things in life are still normal. Thank you for sharing.

  6. My brother has been responsible (with 2 wives) of having 3 children still living and 5 grandchildren. I, on the other hand have 1 child (still living) and 1 grandchild.

  7. How lovely! You can always see the family resemblance too which I thinks nice.


<b>Cumulative story number 2</b>

After such a great groundswell of comments on my previous post -- there were exactly none, friends, zero (0), zilch -- I am not deterred. ...