Sunday, December 21, 2008

Henry Pratt's Memories XXXII

This is the last of the 1986 article on Henry in the Tri-City Record:
He was on the Library Board for 10 or more years. He is legally blind and today listens to talking books. He commented, "I used to have a respectable library. When my eyes failed I gave my books to the Watervliet Library."
On August 2, 1986, the Pratt family had a reunion. Jim Woodruff, the oldest of the Woodruffs and family genealogist, and Audrey Shane were the official committee*. "We had a representative of every brother and sister**. A nephew came from California, a niece from Florida. Most of the descendents were Woodruffs and Shanes. Yes, there were 80 people here at the home on M-140. Just think, they all began in Watervliet.
* Not true. Audrey and Pat Geisler ramrodded the affair. Vincent was on the Organizing Committee and our host. I mostly just ran off at the mouth as a sort of MC and tour guide.
** Also not accurate. Nobody from Joe's family made it and of course none of Charlie's descendents have ever been part of the Pratt family. They were raised as Wilsons. The only one I ever met was Gerald Wilson at a family funeral, I don't remember whose.
PERSONAL NOTE: As I finish this series and get ready to hit the Send key I am looking at a pile of color prints of the reunion and the reunion pictures in our "Guidebook to the Pratt Family of North Berrien" and considering the changes over the past 22 years. The most obvious one of course is that Henry is gone. Also gone are the California Pratts, my  brother Dick and his wife Mary, Dorothy Thayer, Jean Shane and Howard Elliot. Phil Shane is gone also but I did not find him in the photos. I'm sure there are others that I have missed or don't know about. I note at least couple of people who have changed spouses. I see a couple of teenagers who are now career officers in the Aiir Force. I see single young people who are now married with kids of their own. I see dark hair that is now striking white. I see one skinny kid who grew up to be a 6' '7" hotshot quarterback in high school and college and now teaches math in Alaska. And that is just in my own family! I am sure that the rest of you who were there on that lovely August day in 1986 would note similar changes. The happy thing is that all those cute little kids shown running around in those photos have grown up, gone to college, started careers, and in some cases married. I recognize Jason Pratt, the three Geisler girls and grandson Adam Tury. There were also several Shane kids that I don't know. It was a good day.

(emailed August 8)

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