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This has been written for the Gamso Family clan and any relatives or friends that enjoy laughter and family stories.

Suzy contributed to this event with planning and her “mothers” touch (e.g., listening & then making decisions, detail planning, financing the event & billing the siblings). So, thanks to her initiative we all had fun.

With our parents gone, Suzy, Nancy, Tim, Mike, Gary and their partners become the self-proclaimed
Gamso Family Elders. Our role, however, becomes one of observer, as we learn to dispense our advice infrequently and only on the big issues (or when asked). For some of us, filling this role has been awkward, while for others, such a natural change. I know I speak for the Gamso Family Elders, describing the joy we all feel when we're together. While we can't do it often, we sure enjoy our time together, as our kid's connection with their cousins brings depth and family history into everyone's lives.

I (Gary) would observe that we have not been able to spend extended time together while we raised children or managed our career. We allocated our time to our personal families while they were growing up. Now, we all have more time on our hands. Growing old provides both time and perspective, remembering our mistakes and foolishness.

We left this family event with the understanding the kids (not elders) would plan the next event. We’ll wait for their initiative, or until Suzy can’t wait another day to hear about new gatherings. In the meanwhile, we'll visit one another individually and wait for that next "big event" to rally the full family (e.g., wedding, funeral, …).

If you have additional stories or more flattering photos, please contact Gary.

In Honor of Eileen and Norm Gamso

The Gamso clan all gathered in Grand Lake Colorado for a 4-day weekend. So many family and so little time. Let’s hope (or pray) that we continue communicating and sharing life with one another.
June 4, 2012
About that weekend, I remember all the babies, scattering Mom and Dad's ashes at the headwaters of the Colorado in a snow storm, family yoga, porch swing chats, the evening of tears and laughter remembering Mom and Dad, having us all in the same place at the same time...and many more fine memories.
Nancy Margaret Gamso
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Megan, Dustin, Mike & Gary meet

Fort Collins, Colorado

I remember a long walk one morning, with the kids. We enjoyed the wonderful outdoor park in Fort Collins. The photos on the left were made during our walk.

The park displayed sculpture that were commissioned by the City for the park. The theme was to sculpt animals the kids need to learn to recognize. Grady identified all the animals he had encountered (e.g., turtles, wolves). He’s a kid who’s enjoying life, making up for lost time spent immobilized. He clearly spent some of his recovery time developing his beautiful mind and stimulating his curiosity.

Mike took a break with his sculptured side-kick. It was a great moment when you can see a delighted grandfather - happy his kids have joined us and his grandkids grow up knowing their extended family. Mike genuinely enjoys his time with family, both at home and on the road. Mike and Dustin did a great job planning and executing the 2-day adventure.

Megan appeared to enjoy the local tours with lots of beer samples and food. For brief moments Megan escaped the burden of parenting. Fortunately, Megan had more time to kick back and hand-off the kids when we visited Grand Lake.
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New Belgium Brewery

Fort Collins, Colorado

Tours each hour make this a worthwhile investment in your beer education (history of New Belgium & mass beer brewing), plus a view of a motivated New Belgium brewery workforce. The photo of the New Belgium bicycles illustrates what the employees get for their 1st year anniversary.
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The extended Gamso Family meet

Grand Lake, Colorado (June 2012)

We all gathered into 3 lodges at the Grand Lake Lodge, a property dating back to the 1870's.

The days were spent enjoying all the activity. Family re-formed into various clusters of family members during the day. Often, the young set (ages 14 to 35) formed for a group activity or for a group hangout in the main cabin living room. They anchored each end-of-day, as the grandparents (aka elders) retired shortly after the clean-up and final round of discussions or games (~9 pm).

The Grand View Lodge

Grand Lake, Colorado (June 2012)

Here’s a view from the front porch of the Grand Lake Lodge. Gary sat there for long spells at sunrise and sunset, enjoying the light on the mountains and lake. The sun rises over the mountains (left side of photo), so it’s fully light when you first see the sun.

The mountain wind brings a chill to the evenings, so most of the sitting’s done inside around their large living room’s circular fire. Abi travelled to Colorado without musical instrument, a rare vacation from her music. So, we found a way to borrow a guitar, so Abi could strum her songs around the fireside. What a special evening, with everyone singing along.
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Cascade Falls

Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

We enjoyed an early morning walk up a moderate incline to Cascade Falls. During the walk, we saw elk as we passed a cabin.

Gary observed that Jen and Sean sure appeared relaxed and at-home in the wilderness. He saw Freya show her love by trusting Mom and Dad’s sure footing on narrow trails, plus strength.

Everyone discussed Sean’s bucket list item to visit Yosemite National Park for a week or more. Logistics get real important when you’re planning for a whole family.

Gary and Linda’s bucket list includes walking many of America’s National Parks (~20 parks).


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Tim the Elder

(held court on the main cabin front porch)

People drifted through with a beer, a cigar (or both) or simply an open mind to share a few stories about life when we grew up, about life as a grown-up, about life at a slower pace, about life’s frustrations, about life’s joy.

Tim has countless stories about Alabama & SEC football.

Tim has countless stories about golf - great players of the game, great courses, great championships.

Dustin dives deep into his hobbies - beer and a real life outside work.

Mike had stories of sailing on the Indian River in Melbourne, FL. We heard about his many “labors of love” that invest countless hours of labor in the “fix-up” projects that make the sailing that much more joyous.
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Grand Lake Lodge

Life around the cabin.
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Eileen & Norm Gamso Stories - a Celebration of their Lives

The whole point of the gathering was a to receive & scatter ashes, tell old Gamso stories, share what we learned, and say goodbye (if necessary). From this viewpoint, we succeeded.

Carly (Danielson) recently mentioned, she was amazed at how much she knows about the Gamso family from the evening’s funny stories and lessons in life. Therefore, for our children and for the family, I’d propose we publish a few of these tales. Over time, these will be amended with new stories. I welcome new stories or
Gamso Rules.

To temper any arrogance about the family’s importance outside our tribe, we all must think of our Gamso family culture as half (or less) Gamso with each new generation, but, still ours.

Gary took Brett, Ryan and Carly on a Kayak trip across Grand Lake & spread Norm’s ashes on the water. Gary told stories of how Norm loved the water. Norm’s Reflections provided a details on how he gained his “sea legs” during WW-II.
On the water, Gary shared his thoughts about Norm, saying,
  • Dad really enjoyed being on the water with the River Duck (International Paper’s boat) and our 14’ outboard we used for skiing and bay-fishing. The family all got to go for Sunday rides in St. Andrews Bay or Saturday fishing trips. We spent hours and hours riding the high seas together. We caught scallops in St. Andrews Bay, flounder, king mackerel and numerous other fish.
  • Dad loved the forest. He organized trips for Christmas trees, camping and fishing. He gave us lots of time to run and play in the outdoor environment. He loved to walk the forest, when his legs were strong. He loved to drive the forest on day-trips that got him away the IP offices and onto their land.
  • We spread his ashes at a point where the forest meets the water.

Other stories:
  • Brett and Ryan both remember Grandma’s insistence we all play Rumi-cube when they visited. She enjoyed the mental nature of the game, which allowed plenty of time for her to listen to us talk. As she aged, the Rumicube games showed another side of Grandma, always with a smile on her face and joy in her eyes. They also remembered how Grandma and Grandpa allowed them to sit in their TV chairs (Mobile, AL) until the grandparents finished their evening chores (often together as they grew older).
  • Carly also enjoyed hearing about the various "kid-pranks" as they grew up.
  • Grandma and Grandpa had their favorite TV shows and were parents during a TV-era. When we visited, we were invited to watch. Our kids got more TV time at the grandparents, but often tired of the programs they didn’t understand or understood and didn’t like.
  • Susan tells the story of Grandma and Grandpa visiting Dallas when they owned the old Ford Station Wagon. She says they travelled so heavy that when they left, the back of the Station Wagon was completely full, except where that old camping cot was stretched out behind the passenger seat. She described putting Grandma onto the cot in the back as much like a funeral hurst. When she was in the cot, the back was so full, all you could see was Grandma laying flat, like a funeral hurst.
  • Susan said when Grandma moved to San Antonio, the kids, particularly Kathleen, loved to stay at Grandma's place, so she could wonder around and see Grandma's many, many "sisters" who lived there too.
  • Tim remembered Grandpa once summing up their parenting roles in life as "…raising smart kids who know how to love and pick good mates…" He said Norm had a simple view of his legacy - his kids and grandkids. Tim quotes Norm as once saying, "…we're not really here to change the world, mostly to survive and raise a normal family."
  • Tim said Grandma was once visiting when Kathleen was around 3 years old. He said Susan had voiced some concern that Kathleen was not learning her letters and numbers quickly. Grandma, simply encouraged Susan to continue loving & teaching her daughter, with the comment, "…she's going to surprise you with how much she accomplishes…"
  • Susan described an "Eileen" moment during this year's trip across Berthed Pass on the trip to Grand Lake Lodge. Like Eileen, Susan is afraid of heights, so, often drives the mountain pass at 10 mph. This year, with Eileen as hoer co-pilot, driving the narrow mountain pass, with kids hanging out the windows pointing out the beauty of the Rockies and everyone screaming their delight to be in Colorado, Susan actually got arrested for speeding. The kids couldn't stop laughing at their Mother's recklessness.

One of the Norm stories from Gary:
  • I re-read Norm’s Eulogy and extracted one of the many thoughts Dad wrote in his Reflections journals. The thought inspires you to think about life after death. Norm wrote, “...Our light shines on and on, guiding future generations long after we are gone. To fulfill one of the reasons we came into this world, we should leave a positive, constructive light to follow. What better reason do we need, than to make the world a better place?...” Thanks, Dad, for reminding us the importance of role modeling, right through the final chapter.
  • Norm spent considerable time reconciling death & decided his light needed to continue to shine through his Reflections, and as a role model.