This last weekend, Mom, Colleen, Philip Jr., Kevin and myself all piled into the Trailblazer and headed south to Pennsylvania.  The drive down was without incident and allowed me some quality time to gather more family insight from my Mom.  She told me lots of new things, but unfortunately, I was driving and was unable to take notes.  I should have brought my voice recorder.  She promised to let me video record her at a later date.

We arrived at Kendal at Longwood where my Aunt Eliza now lives at around 5:30 PM.  My Uncle Lloyd Lewis, Eliza’s husband who died in 2000, was the former CEO of The Kendal Corporation which owns several Kendal complexes across the East Coast.  He was largely responsible for the success of this particular Kendal.

After a short visit and tour of Aunt Eliza’s apartment we headed out for dinner at a local Italian eatery.  It was a perfect place for Aunt Eliza to get to know Kevin and Philip.  Since it wasn’t too crowded, we were also able to relax and get caught up on things.  Later that evening we brought Mom and Eliza back to Kendal.  Mom stayed with Aunt Eliza in a “guest room” at her apartment while we headed off to a local Hampton Inn where Aunt Eliza had set us up with a wonderful studio hotel room.

After breakfast and a short swim at the hotel, we headed back to Aunt Eliza’s apartment where Cousin Laurie and husband Chuck had already arrived.  We were all heading off to Longwood Gardens for an afternoon tour of the grounds.

“In 1906, Pierre S. du Pont purchased the Peirce Arboretum to save its trees from being cut for lumber. Over the next nearly half century, Mr. du Pont developed Longwood Gardens into what it is today, a magnificent horticultural showplace.

Longwood Gardens now encompasses 1,050 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows. Enjoy over 11,000 types of plants, more fountains than any other garden in the US, educational and visitor programming, and over 400 performances a year.”

We had a great time, eating fresh “Kettle” popcorn, watching the water fountains dance, visiting the Indoor Children’s Gardens and the outdoor Garden Railway.  Chuck and Philip really bonded at the Garden Railway.  Chuck is a long time train enthusiast and jumped at the opportunity to give Philip a personal guided tour, pointing out the toilet in one of the model trains.  Philip thought that was so funny!

After spending several hours at Longwood Gardens, we headed back to Eliza’s apartment where we recuperated from our long walk at Longwood Gardens.  Once we were rejuvenated, Eliza took Mom and myself for a tour of Kendal while Colleen stayed back with the kids.  I had not been at Kendal since I was a very little boy and didn’t recognize much of it.  Many things had changed or been added over time.  I was VERY impressed by the facility and marveled at it’s very successful implementation of a quality retirement community

“KENDAL, a system of communities and services for older adults integrating Quaker values in its work by fostering continued learning, outreach programs in the field of aging, and a culture of giving.”

We soon headed over to Cousin Paul’s house for a reunion with the rest of the Lewis family in nearby West Chester.  It was so great to see everybody again.  Paul, Karen and their family looked wonderful.  Wynne and Max are two very impressive young adults (more on this soon).  We had one of the best family get-togthers that I can remember.    Good job Max, Wynne and Paul on the leg of lamb dinner! The food was awesome!

The whole weekend was a model family reunion weekend which we really should work harder at making a more regular event.  To everybody there… THANK YOU!