On Death and Life

Per previous post, I was in Modesto, CA this weekend… the reason for my delayed Photo Phriday was that my sister and I went up to Modesto for my Aunt’s service.
We opted to go up on Thursday night (flying into San Jose) and spent the night with my Aunt Mary K and Uncle Bill. Cousin Jay flew in from New Jersey so the Simpson side of the family was well represented.

BETTY LOU VARGAS [Aunt Betty]
JUNE 11, 1921 – FEB. 18, 2008 Betty was a native of St. Paul, Minnesota and a resident of Modesto, age 86. She was interested in art and was an Artist herself, she was an avid reader and loved to travel. She is survived by her husband, Raidesel Vargas of Modesto; and her son, John Vargas of Sparks, Nevada. She was predeceased by her children, Nancy Lynn Vargas and Jeffrey L. Vargas. Visitation will be held from 3:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M. Friday, Feb. 22 with Services, same day, 4:00 P.M., at McHenry Chapel-Franklin & Downs. Private committal at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery. Remembrances may be made to Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1663, Modesto, CA 95353. www.modbee.com/obituaries
Published in the Modesto Bee on 2/21/2008.

I’m so glad we went up for the service, and that we were able to spend the day with my Uncle Ray– who’s nearly 90 and still as handsome as ever!! We used to visit them frequently, but it’s been a while. I even forgot that Uncle Ray and Aunt Betty were my godparents, until Uncle Ray told me that he and Betty wanted to adopt my sister and I after my mom passed way. The picture here was taken in front of their house in San Jose. I’m the sceptical blond in the front row.

They moved to Modesto 8 years ago! I had never seen this new house they bought (and you won’t either, I forgot my camera!) They turned one bedroom into a studio so my Aunt Betty could paint. I walked through the halls of my Aunt Betty’s house admiring her paintings and I came across a Family Photo wall. I recognized my Grandma and Granddad (Betty’s brother and sister-in-law), my great grandmother Simpson (Betty’s mother) and a photo I have never seen of my Great Great Grandparents Jay Ferris and his wife (name unknown at this moment).

As I stood there at the wall looking at pictures a woman came behind me and said, “La Familia.”

“Mi familia!” I said, turning to look at this dark haired, dark eyed woman a little older than me.

“Mi familia” she said.

“I guess we’re related then!” I learned that she calls my uncle Ray, “Uncle Red” because his name is Reidesel. She pointed out her mama, abuela, bisabuela los primos…. tio Red y su hermanos…

I came home with a tamale recipe that upon closer inspection calls for 12 pounds of meat. The Vargas family is much larger than the Simpsons!

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2 thoughts on “On Death and Life

  1. I’m so sorry to read about your aunt. I remember you speaking of her.I’ve had a lot of problems with “grief” the past few months. Lots of losses seemingly one after another; my dad, both grandmothers and this past Xmas day my step dad. All in such a relatively short time. I’m grieving as fast as I can but I can’t seem to catch up.

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