Our blooming family moved into a neighborhood of new homes and young families in 1981.
Jan and her captivating family of 5 moved in straight across the street from us just a few months later and we became fast friends with them all. Jennifer was just barely 4, Matt was almost 2 just like our little Jonathan, and Kelsey was in her second 6 months. I was pregnant with David, so we were all young and energetic.
I always had pretty good instincts when it comes to taking care of the children and being on top of schedules, good eating, etc. I worked at Emanuel Hospital in the orthopedic ward a few days a week, so many things I did were necessary and/or educational. But Jan taught me how to be a mom in many other ways.
She would schedule in walks through the extending neighborhoods, lunch out in the "common area", hot wheels contests, pine cone hunts in the more mature parks of Portland, Rose Parades, birthday parties, doughboy pool days, trampolining, sports, golf tournaments, and just general fun times.
We always had a field day when we were with the Leeding's.
Kim our neighbor up the street with her two cute little girls was also in on the daily life.
Brooke Hikade, Kelsey Leeding, Matt L., Jonathan, Jennifer L (top), Lindsey H. (David - not pictured)Here is the group of the kiddles at the Sauvie Island pumpkin patch in 1982.
We moved away from the SE neighborhood of Portland in 1990 after spending 9 years and having 3 more children. Michael was born the next year so his memories don't go back this far, but for the rest of our children it really all started there.
Well, fast forward to June 2010. I contacted Jan just a week or so before we went to Portland and she, with Jennifer and Kelsey put together a great little party at her home in NE Portland. She invited the Hikade's and the 2 girls were able to come with their new babies although we missed their parents. She invited Scott who still lives out in the Clackamas area, and he, Matthew, and the two girls with their little families all showed up.
The food and set up were simply beautiful and her house is a great, old, well kept house in an old section of town. (I don't know what the style would be considered - probably "Craftsman")
Jennifer, Lindsay, Brooke, Kelsey, Matt, David, Kathryn, Jonathan, Stephanie, & (front row) MichaelHere are the children 20 years later. My now 5 kids, the 3 Leeding's and the 2 Hikade's. What a handsome group. We will never know those little kids again, but our memories will always be happy and full. They are all finding their way as adults in the world now and creating childhood memories for their own kids.
Thanks Jan, you are the best! And on such short notice you made us all feel special.