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January 23rd. Tough date for our family. We lost our sweet brother, son, father, grandfather, friend - Ted Von Willer, eight years ago on this date.

2010 was a very tough year for our family. God tested our strengths over and over. And we survived. A bit numb, but we survived.

Ted passed at the young age of 58. Leaving behind three beautiful daughters, 3 handsome grandsons, and a career as the best damn drywall installer on the planet.

Ted and I were the youngest of the five kids. He always looked out for me, and probably for good reason. We got into a lot of trouble - a lot!

On our annual 10 day beach camping trip to San Felipe (Baja) using cherry bombs (Ted taught me they are water proof) we blew up an outhouse with our older brother Jack’s girlfriend inside. Apparently we did not like her much. Nor did our parents. Dad had a hard time yelling at us, helping this poor young lady now covered in your know what, while he was trying hard not to bust out laughing. (No injuries to her physically - just her pride was hurt). Then we blew up her ‘I’m sorry for my idiot siblings’ gift that Jack bought her. A dyed chicken feather hat. There were turquoise chicken feathers all over our camp site. They left for San Diego immediately. junior modest style wears for formal party

Ted was a groomsman at our sister Marcia’s wedding. We were all gathered around the alter; Ted was looking handsome in his 1969 vintage brown tuxedo - but he had not eaten that morning and locked his knees while standing there. Boom! Ted faints. Marcia (she is a big girl) ran over to him in her wedding dress, picks him up and carries him to a pew before anyone knows what happened. He was fine, but the sight of seeing a bride doing the fireman thing hauling of a body in a tuxedo was funnnnnny ?

Mom passed in April at the age of 89 adventure packed years.

She may have had 5 children, but she could give Marilyn Monroe a run for her money in the sexy bleached blonde look of the 60’s.

She was our Brownie Scout leader. Most of our troop were kids from low income families. Mom decided we will all wear our Brownie uniforms, including white gloves, and took us to their private club, The Cuyamaca Club, for lunch. Rule was - order off the menu, but no PB&J or hamburgers. You had to order an adult lunch of anything you wanted. She said she wanted to create fun memories for some of these kids were living a hard life.

Dad was a general contractor and built a huge home for us. Every time there was another kid born, he added on another bedroom & bathroom. He built a rec room next to the pool that was a kid & adult fantasyland. Pinball machine, slot machines, pool table, jukebox, player piano. And a party sized sauna.

The sauna in our home caught fire one day. Not a big one, but smoke was billowing out. We could not find Mom. Well there she was seated on the living room sofa in her mink coat, diamonds in place and holding a martini. ‘I’m waiting to be rescued by one of those cute Firemen. Please tell them to hurry.’ BuHaHaHa!!!

And then in December of 2010, our oldest brother, Bob Von Willer, Jr., passed at the young age of 68, from a short but courageous battle with cancer.

Bob was quite the character. He restored, repaired and flew antique aircraft in San Diego (Fleet, Stearman). Sort of famous among the aviation community across the globe. He took grand national champion a couple of times in ‘Rosie’, his 1927 (?) Fleet bi wing plane.

Bob used to fly ‘Rosie’ over our home, cut the engine and yell down ‘Hi Mom!!!’ Mom just about fainted when he did this ?

Bob built and restored the Charles Lindbergh ‘Spirit of St Louis’ aircraft.

He is featured in the San Diego Aerospace Museum.

We lost our two dogs to cancer, and started our catering business that same year.

Needless to say, in January of 2011 - Chris and I huddled in and did not venture out. Needed some down time to heal, cry, tell funny family stories, cry, sleep, and eventually come to terms on what happened.

Chris always gave me the ‘don’t go there’ look while raising his teenage girls. They would tell us about some adventure they thought was crazy fun. I would automatically say, ‘That’s nothing! You should have been there when I was a teen and did ....’ Ooops. Never mind. No one can experience crazy fun unless you have crazy fun sibs and friends :) )). And not get caught or hurt

One lesson I learned - losing your parents is tough, but not unexpected. Still -
really tough. But it’s nothing compared to losing your siblings, spouse or child. It isn't supposed to happen. This wasn't the plan. That loss brings you to your knees.

If I was a bit crazy, rude, scattered brained or erratic to you during that year or after, I apologized. Not many knew what we were going through. It’s a silent battle inside that many folks have had to deal with.

No comments please. I’m just rambling and remembering my odd, eccentric, but hysterical family ? Love and miss you guys