Bellware Family Reunion 1968

Jack Bellware Estate

Paw Paw, Michigan

July 4th, 1968







Some 24 years ago I joined the Bellwares. Living with John Shirley, Jr. has been a picnic. Or has it? he keeps me so confused I don't know if I'm miserable or having a ball. Sometimes we live like the Kennedys, and sometimes we join the underprivileged class. World's biggest optimist. Never looks back. Everything in the future. New ideas everyday. The best idea, the one I will remember the rest of my life, was for a Bellware reunion on the 4th of July, 1968.

If I could choose one week out of my life to live over, I would choose the week of the reunion. Such a great pleasure and lots of fun just relaxing and visiting with the family. I hope it won't be another 20 years before we do it again.

(Marge and Jeanne)


They came, they saw, and seemingly all were conquered by the spirit of family togetherness. Outside Bar-B-Q and a few Italian specialties prepared by Grandma and Margurite nourished the inner man. Sleeping bags, foam rubber pads, and front room floor provided rest areas. The kids played games and yelled "when do we eat?", and the grown-ups talked and yelled "when do we drink?" The Good Lord pitched in with wonderful weather and a watchful eye to see that no one was hurt with flying baseballs, horseshoes, and the abundance of verbal quips. Even the mosquitoes kept their distance. Only a great team effort by everyone in attendance could have pulled it off.

A Truly Grand and Glorious 4th.

Take a Bow

"THE MEAT OF THE MEET" (All in fun, of course)

Conn and Verna -- in charge of reminiscence-- told astounding tales of things that happened long before some of the younger Bellwares were born. They were accorded the tolerance and forbearance that is due all old-timers. Brought back lots of pleasant memories.

Conn brought fireworks for the kids, and also put on an amazing demonstration of food demolition.

Verna was excited about her upcoming tour of Europe. That gal sure knows how to enjoy life.

Lieutenant Al (Butch) was proudly showing off his fiancee, Diane. We never did learn what her impressions were of her intended in-laws. Butch will leave Jan. 2nd for his hitch in the Armed Forces. You can be sure it will be spent as a "chief", not an "indian". Natural born leader. Never heard of him wearing out the handle of any tool of toil.

* * *

Margurite was head of the committee on conversation. Anytime she could get two or more women together, she bent their ears as to how the stove had only 3 burners - the broiler didn't work - every faucet in the house has leaked for years - the back screen door slammed - vacuum sweeper is no good - she has no kitchen cabinet or counter space - her bedroom is to small - Jack holds the door open and lets flies in - the refrigerator leaks - not enough hot water - Jack never starts fire in the Bar-B-Q soon enough - house is too cold - Jack never finishes what he starts - house is too hot -------etc.

She is such a wonderful, refreshing child bride.

Wouldn't she have been a dandy to have along on the gold rush of '49?

(Kathy & Chris, center, Grandma Rose, right)

Ron came for the 4th, but had to get back to Detroit the same night. Had pressing business. (He is single) Wonder who he thought he was fooling? I don't blame him, only young once.

Young Jack brought an airplane from his base and gave rides to all who like to live recklessly. His friend, Bob Lawson, was in charge of making waffles one morning. It was a toss-up which was more dangerous, Jack's flying or Bob's waffles.-These two also organized a baseball game between the Hitless Wonders and the All-Star Fumblers. Old Jack pitched for the Fumblers and gave up 6 runs in the inning - on one hit. Gives an idea as to the kind of fielding support he had. Now I know how those pitchers for the Houston Astros feel. (Little Texas humor there). And speaking of Texas -----

The baseball game

* * *

Mary, Kathy and Steve brought huge rattlesnake watermelons from Texas. (Delicious). When the fellows heard the word rattlesnake, they rushed out to buy several bottles of snakebite remedy. It was taken internally as a preventative, and disappeared faster than Johnson's supporters.

Big Al from Allegan took more remedy than Sally thought he should, and when Al gave a strong denunciation of Communism in our government, using a lot of French words, Sal retaliated with a strong denunciation of alcohol in Al, using a lot of Italian words. Debate was a draw.

Along with other goodies, Sal provided a goodly amount of her famous potato salad. And then, like the mother hen that she is, she hovered everyone to see that they had plenty to eat..

Al was his usual gracious self, taking over as Michigan co-host and making everyone feel at home with his sharp wit and vast knowledge of family history.

* * *

Too bad Big Jim couldn't come, but it was understandable. The way Mary spends money, someone had to stay home and keep the printing press going.

All our good wishes go to Ruth Joan who had an operation and couldn't be here. What's your excuse Ann?

We were looking forward to the red-hot chess rematch with Floyd and Jim. It was nice of them to let me win in Texas because I was company, but rest assured there will be no holds barred when they visit Michigan.

Side note: The Paw Paw Bellware appreciate the warm hospitality they received in Texas last Feb., from all the Texas Bellwares. We would not have seen the points of interest in Houston if it were not for Kathy. Of course, the same thing happened on previous occasions on our visits to Kettering, Tampa, Allegan, Metuchen and Detroit. When you think of it, they're a hard group to match, anywhere in the world.

* * *

Dick and Jeanne - and Dave and Carolyn spent enough on motel rooms to panel the addition to our house in pure walnut. Couldn't rough it like us common relations.

Dick and Jeanne and their 8 offspring accounted for 25% of the total attendance. Eight wonderful kids -- just shows what can be accomplished in spare time.

Dave, the old sage from Kettering, and his lovely wife Carolyn, after observing the fine crop of youngsters, allowed as how there will be enough Bellwares to last at least another 200 years. Vern and Eunice cashed in their plane tickets to Paw Paw and used the money to call long distance from McAllen and talked to everyone. Sure was a pleasant surprise. (wouldn't it be terrible if they contracted the 20-year itch as their punishment for not being here?)

(Dave & Carolyn left, Claudia and Daniel, center right)

Dan, the Wall Street financier, huddled with Dick, the financial wizard of Detroit, and then took off for Sturgis to promote a big deal. He must have done all right because his wife Dorothy, who runs the House of Time in Metuchen, was all smiles when he returned. Their boys have grown tall and strong winding about 50 clocks every night. I hope I'm in their will for a grandfather clock. Son David is a cinch to be a major league short stop, and we will be reading about Greg's tennis prowess in another year or two.

Our daughter Joanne and her big Marine husband, (he is a lieutenant now), always showed up in time to eat. Roger ran a close second to Uncle Conn in taking on nourishment. Joannie, as usual was bubbling all over the place and helping with clean-up chores. Of course, you can't mention dishwashing and house cleaning without giving praise to Texas, Detroit's Kathy and Chris, and all the girls that did such yeomen service. The guy that invented paper plates also helped a lot.

"This 'N That"

It was good to see the Bellware women looking so healthy and well fed. The tug of war between husbands and wives was called off. The husbands complained that they were out weighed. -- Carolyn has the slimmest ankles and the best all around figure. She says it's because Dave is so tight he won't let her eat between meals. --Margurite easily won the chest measurement contest. She does have her good points. --I can always tell when it's Monday, she starts a new diet. -- Did you ever see a smile walking? That's Claudia, number 8 child of Dick and Jeanne. Takes after her mother.

-Sport Shorts -

The chess championship stayed in Paw Paw. (strong protest from Al) - (Steve put up a good battle). Horseshoe title split between Ohio and Michigan. Dave threw too many ringers. Gin Rummy Champ is Conn. He has $1.60 of my money to prove it. Dick & I "took" him in Hollywood Gin.


-Side Lights-

Two carloads took a 150-mile excursion trip around this section of our beautiful state -- Six adventurous ones took a ride in Dick's canoe and promptly dumped themselves in the Paw Paw River. -- Steve fished most of our 10,000 lakes. Never helped out our menu a bit. Must have used Texas bait. -- Poor little David Joseph of Kettering got the miseries and had to get a shot at the hospital -- The water pump and septic tank took quite a beating, never groaned once -- No word yet from Bess, Pete & Thelma and children.

Well, everything is back to normal --- one phone call & two letters from 64 Bellwares in 4 months. I just know everyone is going to do better in '69.

After everybody went home we had an extra pair of shoes, two ice buckets, several nice gifts, and memories the Paw Paw Bellwares will cherish the rest of our lives.


This page is maintained by Daniel A. Bellware and was last updated on May 31, 2010.