Wednesday, November 11, 2009

South Carolina recap--plus nudity!

I returned from my Grandma Aikin's memorial week at the beach a little over a month ago.

My grandmother had a huge love for the beach, so my mom and uncles felt that it would be appropriate to rent a cottage at Sunset Beach, SC where we all used to go in the summers when we went to visit her.

My mom and my uncles invited everyone who was in the original group to join in. Since the focus was to be on honoring her memory, the invitation was meant only for the original group of us. (No spouses or children)

It was the first time in years that my immediate family has all been together without spouses or kids. It was great that my sister, Joanna, who now lives in Denmark with her husband, was able to fly in for the occasion.

Brian was able to work from home for a few days, which allowed me to make the trip to South Carolina solo.

It started out great! (Except for the fact that I left my cell phone in the car and he had to have me paged to retrieve it)...
But what a treat!....THREE whole seats all to myself...

as well as a great book to sink my teeth into...

My mom and Aunt Toni picked me up from the airport and later that evening, we all went to an Italian restaurant for dinner...

Katie arrived later that night as did my cousin Jon and his girlfriend. My cousin, Christopher arrived with his girlfriend the following day. (We were all surprised to see the girlfriends show up as this was a personal, family event.)

The next few days (with the exception of Friday which was the memorial) were spent enjoying the beautiful beach house...

smelling the ocean and feel of the powder sugar-like sand...

singing "get the shelly, get the shelly" to the tune of "cinderelly, cinderelly" while watching these little busy body sandpipers forage for crabs...

oogling over cute dogs...

self portraiting in the waves...

drawing in the sand...

eating shrimp cocktail on the beach... (this was something that was on my mother's bucket list to do, believe it or not)

building sand people (courtesy of my sister, Nella)...this is supposed to be a likeness of my stepfather...(eee-gads!) Are those man boobs?

searching for (and scoring!) sand dollars...

walking down to bird island (to find the kindred spirit mailbox...there are several notebooks inside where people write their thoughts)...

and accidentally stumbling on this disturbing sight one morning...!
WHAT THE?!?!...Are you kidding me? This is a family beach, people...!

My mom presented each of us with this book that she and Katie made up with stories and memories of my grandma...She also had made up a guessing game that had "Betty" related trivia questions..

We hosted an open house memorial for my grandmother at the Windjammer Village's clubhouse (the community where she used to live).
All of her friends and neighbors came to pay tribute to her...
It was a really nice afternoon...
My mom made up this cute poster and had it displayed on one of the tables...(Betty loved chocolate, hated cantaloupes, had beautiful fingernails, loved to travel, always wore an apron, loved tomatoes and corn on the cob, and always had a smile...)

After the open house, we went to the pier where she used to wave at all the passing boats, and each took turns spreading some of her ashes...

Here is my family...Nella, me, Seth, my mom, Katie and Joanna
(Joanna is looking away on this picture but it's still a good picture of everyone)

This is a picture of everyone who came to the memorial (my cousins' girlfriends were not in the picture)


Late Saturday evening, we all went down to the beach to spread the remainder of my grandmother's ashes...

my mom and my two uncles (Steve and Doug)

I never used to think that cremation was right, but after this experience, I'm all for it...
Her ashes were able to be scattered in two of the places that she loved the most...

After dinner, my aunt Toni and uncle Steve planned a "crazy card game".
I'm sooooo not a card person, but I played along to be a good sport...
(this picture is for Brian as he wouldn't believe that I actually played cards without picture proof!)

The top prize was $100 so we were all playing our heads off...
(I guess it would help if I actually knew the order of the cards (Ace, King, Queen, that even right?)

My mom enjoyed rubbing it in that she was winning...

It was so fitting that she one the grand prize...
She put so much effort and thought into making this trip special, she really deserved it...

There were a few hiccups here and there...I guess anytime you get a lot of people together with different personalities, political views, religious beliefs, etc. there's bound to be tension from time to time, but all in all, we were able to celebrate my grandmother's life and give her a warm and happy send off, and that's what matters most...


  1. I clicked over as soon as I saw the word nudity, and you did not disappoint!

    This looks like an amazing vacation.

  2. nude guy on the beach?! what in the world? what a weirdo!

    what an awesome tribute to your grandmother. who would't love to have family gather in a place that you love so much to remember you. your mom deserves the grand prize for sure!

  3. Kristina is hilarious. She is all about nudity...That would have been a shocker to see for real.

    You have sisters! I am so jealous. I have a brother, and I love him to bits, but I don't think the relationship is the sames as having sisters.

    I think that mailbox is really cool. It reminded me of the movie The Lake House in an obscure sort of way. Did you read anything written in the notebooks?

  4. What an awesome way to celebrate your grandmother's life!! I'm sorry your clueless cousins brought their girlfriends, but at least you got to spend time with your mom and sisters without all the husbands and kids to distract your conversations!

    Oh my gosh, the nude guy on the beach is crazy! It's even more ridiculous that he's wearing shoes and socks!!

    That mailbox with the journals is very cool!

  5. Some of your pictures are really great! And you did totally score on shells! It must be a very wonderful beach! What a great memorial weekend. That is a really good way to celebrate someone who has passed on. I love the idea of going somewhere they loved and remembering them!

  6. What a fabulous tribute to your grandmother! You have an amazing family! Your mom is so cute-

    Loving the nudist with the tennis shoes-- what nerve- seriously can that be comfortable?? what's the point, dude? freak- but great photo-

    OKAY- PLEASe tell me the name of those shoes in the first photo!!! I saw some like those last summer & searched for them, even online, with NO luck!! So Cute--

  7. thanks shannon- i LOVE your pictures- you captured so much of the good stuff- i noticed that i totally have a farmer's tan... love the pictures of all my kids and the 3 aikin's. thanks!

  8. What a wonderful idea! It must have been fun to go with no kids and no responsibilities. I love love love SC.

    I am dying over the nudist on the beach! Who knew?

    You seriously scored on the shells and sand dollars!

  9. you look just like your grandma betty in the memorial picture i did a double take. and sorry to say but you and your mom look like sisters - yikes you have great genes she looks so young! i think the nudist adds a nice and perfect spice to a great memorial weekend

  10. I loved this story! What a beautiful tribute & vacation! Thank you for sharing.

    The nude dude, cracked me up... expecially the socks & shoes... I have a friend who likes to go hiking nude... says it's for his 'all over tan'... I still don't know about him...

    Thanks again for sharing! I love how to you tell stories. :)

    <3 Jen

  11. My dad invited our girlfriends, who, as it turns out, were looking forward to meeting this side of the family. Maybe you didn't get the memo, but, then again, it wasn't about you, was it? My dad had as much right as anyone to invite members of the family, and he did.

    Last year, when my mom's sister passed away, the same two girlfriends traveled to Minnesota with us as we grieved the loss of my aunt. Despite the sadness of the occasion, Rachael and Allison (because you don't know their names) were welcomed with open arms into my mom's family. Why? Because my mom's family was appreciative that they traveled so far to be with us. Why else? Because they're good people.

    So why can't we say the same for your clan? Why didn't you, as the vapid, loudmouth ringleader, welcome our girlfriends with warmth and kindness? Obviously, you weren't appreciative of their presence; that much is clear. But could it....could it possibly be that you're not a good person? I mean, you did blame your kids for your miserable marriage. Not good. You were hostile to two friendly strangers who were quite eager to meet you and the rest of the family. Not good. And, you were condescending to me, and, trust me, I generate more brains and kindness in a day than you could in a thousand years. Not good.

    As for the religious and political differences, you forgot to mention to your readers that it was you and your clan causing them! I know you can't help it...I mean, if you're going to believe in Mormonism, it's clear to the rest of us that you have to shut off your brain to do so. And when the brains have departed, anger, loudness, and stupidity arrive (it's like Islam for white people). Besides Scientology, Mormonism is the most demonstrably false religion in the world. Its historical foundation is built on astonishing stupidity, blatant racism, and prolific rape. Lots and lots of divinely inspired rape. And it produced Glenn Beck! Not good.

    But these values are somehow superior to my values (the core of which you couldn't possibly fathom)? You mean to say that your family's history of failed and miserable marriages is morally superior to my happy and healthy relationship?

    The most important truth is: Allison and Rachael are a part of my family. Mine. Mine and not yours. And ultimately, while your kids are ruining your marriage or you're trying to figure out what I meant by "prolific rape", I am happy with my life, my healthy relationship, and my family.