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July 30, 1990
Well, another reunion has come and gone and we can all breathe a sigh of relief that we don't have to see those people again for another year. It was a pretty good turnout with perhaps a hundred people (anybody want to count?). As usual, everybody got older but me.
We all owe thanks to Ruthie and Laurence for organizing everything the way they did. The maps they sent me weren't the greatest so, for all of you who thought Spring Lake park was really in East Africa, I apologize for that. However, the parks and all the fun and trimmings when we finally got there were very good so I have to say that I thought they organized a pretty successful reunion. You can always tell a successful reunion - you can't recognize anyone. I hear that Margaret and Vic spent most of Saturday morning with a nice family of Mexicans before they realized it wasn't us.
I want to thank all of you who stepped forward to express your appreciation for the work I did on the newsletter. I especially want to thank all those who pulled Joanne off of me while she was expressing her appreciation. My doctor says it was lucky I moved when I did and there probably won't be any permanent scarring.
I understand that Margaret and Vic have volunteered to organize next year's reunion, perhaps around the Carpenteria area. I think they like that area primarily because it makes people say "Where?". It is around Santa Barbara - north of L.A. It is a lovely oil-rich area with beautiful beaches which have natural tar balls in the sand for your kids to track back to your car. I am sure everyone will like it - just bring a few jars of petroleum solvents. Assuming that Margaret still admits that we are blood-related, I will keep you posted.
People who are easily offended should probably skip the Family Doings section on Don Morris. I have made a considerable effort to clean it up but it's hard to write anything about him and keep it decent.
Clifford A. Schaffer
Copyright 1990, C. A. Schaffer
WHO THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE?
ARE THEY FAR, FAR AWAY FROM ME?
WHEN WILL THEY BE PAROLED?
This is the post-reunion dirt on everyone (that I am aware of) who either showed up or sent back their forms. It is not the complete family listing, if there ever could be one. I will do another relatively complete update next year before the reunion.
Bob Taylor - son of Mary, one of the original old-time Taylors
Jan Richardson - wife of Bud. She gave him a lot of love.
Our loss can only be measured by the blessings they have given us.
ALLSMAN, DOROTHY (nee Richardson)
She mentioned again how much she enjoys the reunion but said her pain medication wasn't as strong as it should be. Like Margaret and Bud, she claims to have a copy of the family history that Mary produced. They all said they would send me a copy but, apparently, they are afraid of what I might do with it.
BARBER, PATRICIA "Teisha" (nee Taylor)
The last time I saw Teisha she was about four years old. She must be at least eleven or twelve by now. Teisha and husband Mike and a friend have purchased a gold claim in the Siskiyou National Forest. If they will agree to send me ten percent of whatever they find I will promise not to send their address to everyone in the family.
Mike is a Park Manager at Ft. Stevens Park in Oregon and Teisha is an advertising clerk for Payless. Like all Taylors, they spend most of their time in the woods, eating whatever they manage to catch.
Both of the boys are groundskeepers for a military cemetery so we should all make it a point not to ask them if they collect anything. Billy is reportedly working for the county litter patrol (if you don't have any they deliver) and will be hacking trails through the wilderness for most of the summer.
BECK, META (nee Richardson)
Meta showed up at the reunion in a jocular mood and spent most of her time fighting with Bud over which one of them was going to show off her grandson. It was a tough battle, but I think Meta won - best two falls out of three. She must be doing well because she is considerably better fed than the last time I saw her.
She was there with her husband, George, who seems to be a nice enough guy, so there is no real explanation how he got mixed up with this family. Like all macho computer guys he spent a lot of time talking about his big hard disk, and showing off his son. Of course, Bud is so proud you would think he had the kid himself.
Currently managing cousin Gary's RV sales and service company in Redding, and apparently making a bundle doing it.
She works in the electronics industry and is doing well. No longer involved with Donald Trump.
HEDRICK, MARGARET (nee Morris)
This is the woman we all once knew as Margie Morris. She says that her husband calls her "Margaret" which often leads her to believe that she is really Margaret Sweet. It's easy to get the two confused, especially if you are one.
She dragged Michael and me off into the woods and went into a monster family-old-times-hugging fit. She has been married some incredibly long time to a guy who is a combat veteran but is scared to show up at the reunion, and is currently living with Donna. They tell me that Nancy (current last name unknown) is living in the same town. Most legal authorities agree that three Morrises in the same town is prima facie evidence of a criminal conspiracy.
KRAMER, JOANNE (nee Morris)
Michael Andrew Porter Male
Laurence Kramer Male
Leslie Kramer Female
She says she is working as a supervisory "registered" nurse (Fresno County still requires Morrises to be registered) in a hospital in Fresno. Can you imagine waking up from a coma to find Joanne standing over you? I'd probably get religion. Would you trust this woman with your bedpan?
Joanne listed no Significant Other and complained that the destruction of the rain forests is making it hard for her to find good dates. She pines for the good old days when she could just hide down by the railroad tracks and catch them unawares. She says that if anyone knows any good men she will pay all costs of capture, crating, and shipping.
As achievements, Joanne says she finally got her student loan paid off, probably making her the only Morris to ever pay a bill.
Joanne says he is working at Vendo drilling holes in vending machines which has always been sort of a family tradition among the Morrises. I remember that most of the vending machines at Fort Miller had the Morris family trademarks on them. Did you ever wonder why the Morrises always paid for everything with a bag of dimes?
She called me (fairly frantically but I won't say why) and said she had fond memories from her youngest years of how her Grandpa, Don Morris, would bounce her on his knee and sing her his happy children's songs which are far too obscene to print. Even though she was very young at the time, she still remembered the words quite clearly and she sang one to me over the phone. I could have had her arrested.
Joanne says that Leslie has fallen in love with a "nice Italian boy" (as if there really was one), with an adorable grandmother from the old country who speaks broken English, much like the Morrises themselves.
Leslie brought the "nice Italian boy" to the reunion (he was the one with the shoulder holster) and introduced him around. Joanne tried to convince me that he is a Mafia hit man, but that's only wishful thinking on her part because she wants Leslie to date a man with a profession.
Douglas Jr. Male
Douglas was there with wife Barbara. His list of children may have some omissions because they didn't send back their forms. I didn't get a chance to talk much with them but they seem to be healthy and in good humor.
LEARD, LOUISE (nee Richardson)
She shamelessly claims that she spent twenty-six and a half years "working for the State of California" (an obvious contradiction in terms) before she retired. She says she now has more time for the typical little old lady activities such as traveling (your tax dollars are paying for that), gardening, shopping (your tax dollars again), walking and just being lazy. (How is this so different than government work?)
In an astonishing lapse of judgment she admits to having produced three children, now variously known as Douglas, David, and Michael. She has not yet seen fit to apologize to anyone for that.
Louise said these letters were OK "as long as you don't pick on the Leards too much." Get real, lady. We ought to have a Best Leard Joke contest. (No one gets to submit David Leard.)
He bought a home in North Highlands and claims to be getting cooperation from his neighbors, probably because they think he is a member of a motorcycle gang.
He recently bought a .357 magnum, after trying mine out on the crowds in downtown L.A., and is now laying for the neighbor's cat. Fire the first shot in the air, Michael. It gets them running and makes it a whole lot more fun.
LINK, BARBARA (nee Sweet)
She and Dan didn't show up but Magaret brought some pictures which may explain why. They live so far out in the boonies that they have to drive in to town just to use the outhouse.
MORRIS, ELINOR (nee Richardson)
Several people wrote to say they were surprised to learn that was Don in "Gorillas in the Mist". Amazing realism, they said, but he looks a lot different with his hair combed. I understand that he is currently working on his autobiography, Knuckle Tracks in the Sand.
Don was there this year, but Elinor was not. Seems she gets a backache just thinking about coming to the reunion. Don was looking fairly fit (he can still carry his gut around) and he was exceptionally well-behaved until someone coaxed him out of the tree.
He is wearing suspenders now, which should help to cure the breakaway pants problem which earned him the trophy for Most Embarrassing Relative. After his belt got to a certain point on his waistline there was nothing else to stop it, and away his pants would go, far too fast for his reflexes to catch them. His lack of underwear was the really special touch which put away the competition year after year. I understand he even accidentally mooned Nancy's fiance the first time they met. His timing was always impeccable.
Actually the trophy for Most Embarrassing Relative was retired in 1975 when he successfully completed his 10,000th career LPF (Loud Public Fart). Younger family members will recognize it as the Don Morris Memorial Award For Embarrassing Conduct, better known as the "Fellah".
He has had many, many memorable LPFs including some real stunners in places such as churches, fine restaurants, and crowded elevators.
One window-rattler occurred when someone invited him to attend church (never a good idea) in the mistaken belief that it would have some beneficial effect on his moral fiber. He stopped the minister's sermon dead in its tracks and had half the congregation looking out the windows for storm clouds. "I just couldn't resist," Don grinned. "It echoes so nice."
"The maitre' d thought I crapped my pants!" Don says proudly about another incident.
"Sir, would you like some assistance?" the maitre' d asked discreetly.
"No thanks," said Don, "I can fart pretty good all by myself."
In crowded elevators, his sighs of relief are perhaps even more disturbing than the actual event itself.
If you really want to know some of the history of why the trophy was retired, you should ask him to tell you about the time he got hold of some bad water while driving across the desert with his boss and his boss's wife.
He says he is too old to be a threat to women anymore but that is probably just a ruse to lure them closer. It is still better to be safe than sorry. When some men get to his age they tend to lose their inhibitions.
Recently moved from North Carolina to Oregon with wife Joann and their multiple children. Currently working in Forklift sales.
Ruthie says Paul is a "20-year man" but she didn't indicate whether that was the Marines or San Quentin.
NEWCOMB, RUTH (nee Taylor)
Numerous, I am not clear how many, and I don't think she is either.
She proudly confirmed the name of her fiance, Tom Springer - she showed me the driver's license she found in his wallet. He was there and he seemed to be a nice enough guy, but probably a little dazed by it all, and more than a little concerned about what Ruthie considers to be humorous.
Ruthie says she is getting married in August and her grandson Ed will give her away. His is a joy I am sure we wish we all could share.
Ruthie said that she thought that she would have five of hers (so we know she has at least five children) there at the reunion for the first time in 17 years (apparently a few of them were just let out). She didn't tell me whether she actually achieved that but how could I tell anyway?
Steve is married to wife Colleen, and working as a carpenter in Santa Rosa.
PORTER, MICHAEL ANDREW
I got no word from Andy but instead received a note from some woman who identified herself as Christie Clayton (an obvious alias) and said that Andy had been snared by "a nice young girl" (where have we heard that before?). She also said that she was going to marry him next year and presumably attempt to breed him in captivity.
From what Joanne says, she is apparently fairly well-educated (a high school diploma and actual college classes and stuff) and her interest in Andy has nothing at all to do with her primate research project. Christie seems to be a devious type of person so she will probably fit in well. Joanne says Christie works in the Disaster Coordination Office for Orange County which is why she insisted that Christie attend the reunion.
This same woman, or someone purporting to be her, showed up at the reunion with Andy in tow. He used to be a scrawny little sucker but he ain't no more - the Morris blood lines are beginning to show as he ages. He is working as a customer service rep - probably for a loan shark. He laughed about the tricks we used to play on him when he was a kid. He said he got over most of his anger soon after the casts came off.
Joanne says that Andy has surprised everyone and turned into a "responsible human being". One must keep Joanne's perspective in mind.
QUIGLEY, DONNA (nee Morris)
Donna showed up with her boyfriend Lyle and no clear explanation of where she got that last name. She and Margie spent most of the time telling a lot of lies about me as a child. The truth is that I never did any of those things. Neither she nor Margie has provided a list of their children they can still remember.
Refuses to say.
She showed up at the reunion with some apparently nameless guy. I have seen him before but he still looks suspicious. She said his name is "Sadistic Sid" Smith, but he doesn't look quite that civilized. She did not say what his position was in the motorcycle gang.
On the subject of her occupation she wisely pleads the Fifth Amendment but says that she is making a major contribution to the financial health of the California wine industry. She admits to no children or, more correctly, says the government will not release the records.
By Acquisition from Jan
Brent Bryer Male
Berri Harter Female
How many people knew his real name was Austin? Yeah, you're lying too. Bud clearly holds the record for the best-preserved alias - not even his own family knew his real name.
Bud, the elder statesman of the family, looks to be in great shape. He said he was going to videotape everyone at the reunion and have them actually identify themselves, but I guess some of the family had legal objections or something so I don't know if he got around to it.
As achievements, Bud lists ten grandchildren, and one great grandson (it is undetermined whether the word "great" refers to actual family lineage or is just Bud's opinion).
He also suggested that we should produce a family tree. He may be so old that he is simply beyond shame. I have ordered some computer software which will allow me to produce one. It should embarrass everybody.
I have to correct the impression I left when I said that "old farts" were not greatly improved by aging. In truth, he smells about as good as he ever did.
He and Edna were there and the years seem to be treating them fairly well. Edna says she is still working while James has already retired. James is no fool.
My kids tell me that James sagely counseled them to drink beer and smoke pot. Thanks, James, you're a real help. Edna specifically requested that Bonnie and I and kids attend the reunion because (to paraphrase her) "misery loves company."
On Sunday James engaged Laurence and Don in a lively discussion of which type of truck and tractor seats produce the biggest hemorrhoids. I think they finally agreed on unpadded metal tractor seats. Never let it be said that we don't have intellectuals in this family.
Jamie says she is currently working as a "respiratory care practitioner" which she did not explain, but says it is not the same as selling pot. She said that she is currently at a Catholic hospital but she didn't make it clear if that is where she works, or just where they keep her at night.
Jamie says she previously spent fifteen years with the County of Fresno. She must be referring to employment because they don't usually hold people in county jails that long unless it is a long series of offenses. She admits to no children and says she has been spayed, which allows her to engage in a much greater variety of disgusting behavior.
As achievements she says she has a cat and pays her own bills, both of which are apparently new for her. As hobbies she says she skis cross-country (it helps to be in practice when you are taking it on the lam), and hikes in the woods, where she meets more relatives than she cares to mention. Like Becky, she is making a major contribution to the California wine industry, with a marginal preference for corked, rather than screw-capped, wine.
Jerry Jr. Male
Terri Lynn Female
He and wife Karen did not show up. Bud says he is working for Santa Clara County and is doing well.
He showed up with his hair and beard dyed mostly gray as part of his Moses imitation. Like Meta, he seems to be pretty well fed. I didn't get to talk to him much but Bud says he works for Baltimore Cooling Towers in Madera and has just moved into a new home.
Pete showed up and related the story of how he told the truth on a few occasions some years back. It's an old story, but he tells it well, and we all enjoyed hearing it again.
He says he is going to run in the Nationals in Indianapolis in August. If he will keep me posted, I will let you know how he does.
SHEETS, KATHY (nee Newcomb)
Ed is a lucky kid. Ruthie says that with feet like his he never has to buy swim fins. Kathy works as a wine-maker and makes extra money by renting out Ed's old shoes as duplexes. Terry, her husband, drives a truck. Ruthie did not say whether he is a Teamster so I don't know anything about his possible criminal background. Ed and Drew are reportedly "two of the very best baseball players anywhere." (Ruthie's words, apply the Taylor Veracity Factor.)
SWEET, MARGARET (nee Richardson)
This year she became the first woman in the family to openly admit having four-footed grandchildren. (Laura Richardson was actually the first, with the birth of the Morrises, but everyone was too polite to mention it.) She did a heavy-duty grandmother routine and bored us all half to death with about a hundred pictures of mountain lions, cheetahs, and the other beasts Julie works with at the L.A. Zoo. They were cute. Margaret says that Julie is well-behaved and does not fight with them over the food dish.
Bob & Edith's eldest is a winemaker in Oakville, CA (notice how many Taylors are involved in making wine) and recently married wife Rosemary on April Fool's Day. Fools rush in . . .
She was at the reunion, looking good, and apparently no longer on the run from the law.
Laurence was there with his famous hat. It really makes you wonder, doesn't it? At first I thought he wore it to hold his brains in, but then I realized that couldn't be true. Some relatives said that what I reported about Laurence was not correct at all. Contrary to what I said, they asserted that Laurence had not been caught telling the truth, and stated they found it difficult to believe that he ever would be caught telling the truth. My apologies, Laurence.
Laurence spent a good deal of time telling about his work with the FAA. He says that he is not an Air Traffic Controller but does something to maintain the equipment all of the Air Traffic Controllers use. I am sure that we will all feel better about flying just knowing Laurence is on the job.
She was there at the reunion looking good and doing well. No word on whether she is still connected to the KGB.
Bob & Edith's youngest is a history teacher and basketball coach, presumably at some sort of school, in Woodland Hills, California. He recently took it on the lam to Egypt, Greece, and Turkey. No word yet on whether he managed to make it through Customs coming back.
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