May 24-27, 1991,
Fifty-three family members and close friends came from as far west as California and Washington, as far east as Pennsylvania and as far south as Georgia. Each brought a favorite song to celebrate this year's theme: "Singing a New Song to the Lord," as well as a written blessing to offer two 80-year old birthday celebrants, Stadem daughter "Be" Schaefer and brother-in-law Hans Spilde. Bernice is the second oldest of nine Stadem siblings who grew up on the farm.
Plain View, built and first occupied in 1919 by Alfred and Bergit "Bessie" Stadem, last week received its annual spring cleaning and mowing by its present owners, Stadem daughter Ruth and Tom Harrington. (The Harringtons also made two trips to town to supply barrels of water from the Griffith's home, which will no longer be necessary when the farm receives inside plumbing this year.)
One could not help but wonder what was the probability of family birthdays falling, as they did, on the same year for the two 30, a 40, a 50, a 60, and two 80 year olds. Adding to the festivity, the births of four new babies in the family were celebrated. But not to be outdone, LeRoy and Liz Stadem's youngest child, Tom Stadem, announced his engagement to Judy Hogan, who was warmly welcomed into the mushrooming family.
Appropriately, members of the younger generation pledged that, with God's help, they would redeem the splintered American tradition of extended family and maintain the annual reunions for generations to come [They have proved more than faithful, reunions have flourished with increased attendances up through 2006!--Website Editor Ron Ginther].
Singing, a Stadem specialty could be heard between games of volleyball and croquette, and then at campfire in the evening. The annual favorite, "It's Good to be Back Home Again" was given new lyrics by grandson Peter and wife Kari Stadem: "And oh, the time that we can spend to build new memories. To feel the warmth that the Lord Jesus' love can give us. The Chit Chat that we cherish, the hugs that light our way, the happiness that being together brings us."
The whole company also became "The Stadem Family Singers" on Sunday morning, keeping the annual tradition of providing special music for Our Redeemer Lutheran Church at the request of Pastor James Florence.
Other highlights included sister Estelle's Norwegian lefse, the "I'm a Pepper" skit, niece Rachel's homecrafted flower wreaths (one for each aunt), niece and MC Mim's irrepressible energy, a visit to Our Redeemer Cemetery to place a headstone on the grave of sister Pearl's mother-in-law, Ann Ginther, the selection of officers to organize next year's reunion, and a fireworks display, provided by [great-] grandson Gabriel.
Delicious meals were catered by Amy Tawzer of the Rustic Haven Restaurant, who was also hostess at a Sunday brunch in town.
A more spectacular end to the weekend could not have been provided than the full, double rainbow which filled the eastern sky after the rainstorm in Bryant Sunday night. Several commented that God seemed to smile on the event adding this, His everlasting sign of promise.
Compiled and written by Be Schaefer, Ren Svanoe, and Todd Svanoe