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Carnett: What could be better than a visit from the kids

April 21, 2014|By Jim Carnett

It was spring break last week at the Carnett household in Costa Mesa.

Our three daughters, their husbands and eight grandchildren were all on hand to squeeze into our Mesa del Mar abode for the entire week. The grandkids range in age from 15 months to nearly 15 years. It was chaos! It was bedlam! It was beautiful!

We divvied up bedrooms, beds and bathrooms and, somehow, the whole group of us survived. Three granddaughters slept in one double bed. A long and lanky grandson slept on a mattress in my computer room/library.

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We're a dyed-in-the-wool Newport-Mesa family. All three of our daughters were born at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach and grew up in Costa Mesa. One graduated from Costa Mesa High School, the other two from Estancia High School. All three went to Orange Coast College.

To further illustrate our family's local connections, I'm a Mesa product myself, and my wife, Hedy, matriculated from Estancia. We're both OCC graduates.

Our daughter Jade brought her husband and four children to our home last week from North Carolina. They hadn't been in SoCal (or "Cali" as they call it in their neck of the woods) in seven years. It was our first full family reunion in seven years. In fact, we'd never previously had all eight grandkids together in the same room at the same time.

It was awesome, as my grandkids are prone to utter!

Daughters Jenn and Melissa each brought their two children from less distant locations in Southern California. We see them quite frequently, but with no less affection and enthusiasm.

The historic family photos that abound throughout our residence fascinated Jade's North Carolina contingent.

"Momma, is that really you in the seventh grade?" asked Jade's seventh-grade daughter, Emma, in her rich Tar Heel State accent. Emma held up an 8-by-10 school portrait of her mother. "What's with the big hairdo, girlfriend?"

The style was rather popular in Orange County circa 1987. It was kinda gauzy, extraordinarily full-bodied and obviously held together with liberal amounts of hairspray.

"Did you mean for the hair on top to be all wispy like that?" innocently inquired fifth-grader Ellarie. "How'd ya'll even get it to do that?"

Fourteen-year-old grandson Ethan saw a photo of his mother and his auntie as adolescents, seated next to their mother, my wife, Hedy. I was the photographer and, as I recall, it was an Easter Sunday morning in about 1980.

"Who's that lady with you Momma?" Ethan inquired.

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