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Community & Clubs: Minnesota and a family reunion

August 10, 2010|By Jim de Boom

As you were picking up the Aug. 4 edition of the Daily Pilot to read with your morning coffee, I was on a Delta Air Lines flight to Minneapolis via a connection in Salt Lake City. It was one of my three trips in 2010 to visit my older brother, LeRoy, who now lives at the Benedictine Health Center in Minneapolis.

In 1952, upon graduating from St. Louis Park High School, LeRoy was admitted to Harvard on a scholarship, but a couple of weeks before he was to leave for the Ivy League university, he contracted polio and was left paralyzed from the neck down.

He spent a year-plus in Sister Kenny Institute and then at home with our folks. They not only cared for LeRoy, but Dad drove him to classes at the University of Minnesota and Mother would push his wheelchair into the classroom and help him take notes. After our parents died, LeRoy lived in the family home with help from aides.

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Six years ago, LeRoy moved into the Benedictine Center as we sold the family home of 50-plus years and moved a couple of dozen boxes into a temporary storage unit, until we had time to go through them. Well, this visit was that time.

We downsized from a 5 x 10 unit to a 5 x 5 unit and kept eight or nine boxes of photos, letters, newspaper clippings and other memorabilia, much of which brought on good memories and some tears. We donated a lot of items to Goodwill Industries, gave some items to the Benedictine staff and filled a small Dumpster with the rest.

On Saturday I drove to Sioux Center, Iowa, for the annual de Boom family reunion at the Pizza Ranch. Gone are the aunts and uncles and now we cousins are the seniors of the de Boom family. We had 24 first cousins in attendance and five second cousins.

I hadn't been in a few years and suggested that we should have name tags. Well, when I arrived, they were out of name tags. I had my camera and took photos of the cousins to show to LeRoy when I got back to Minneapolis. Unfortunately, I didn't have a photo of LeRoy to share but was saved by cousin Rich, who had one in his cell phone of LeRoy that he had taken in March when he visited LeRoy in Minneapolis. As cousins we had as many laughs as our aunts and uncles did when they were the seniors at the reunions! It was a fun time!

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