Well, I may now be “Lady Ann,” as my sibs have now jokingly deemed me, the new matriarch of our gigantic Kreilkamp clan. But I sure don’t get away with anything, and furthermore, have promised to keep everyone informed as to just whose birthday is next up and when. That was one of Mom’s functions as Lady Renee. Another was as Radio Renee, who kept all her kids aware of what all her other kids were up to. She was the central switchboard. I did NOT promise to keep this part up. Plus as Lady Ann I’m already getting flak and pressure, squeezed into compliance here between two of my favorite men, brother-in-law John and brother Mark.
We gathered — fourteen of us at Marnie’s house, the others at two other sibs’ homes in the area, for a few days to see our Lady Renee off. Here’s the photo we chose to represent her, large, at the reception. Her eyes follow you no matter where you go.
Lovely, eh? She truly was a lady, and presented as “beauty” with a sort of “wild elegance” as picked up in his homily by Father Jack, who officiated at her funeral. Many are the tales of her surprising twists:
• How she suddenly asked me, while sitting with Dad on a hillside near Ketchum (we had trekked up there for a picnic, higher, she said, than she had ever gone), “Would you go gliding with me? I want to go and Ben won’t take me.” Wow, YES! This was her 70th birthday present to herself.
• How she would “tube” down the Wood River near the cabin between Ketchum and Hailey with her kids, even during big spring runoff, and once almost drowned from being caught under a log. Luckily brother John saw her gasping and came to her rescue.
• How, on a family reunion near Lake Chelan in western Washington, while visiting a water park, she got so excited to see the gigantic water slide that she climbed up and slid down with all her clothes on.
On and on, Lady Renee did have an elegance that was underneath, yes, wild. There are a few other tales that I simply cannot tell in public!
Here’s her obit, as appeared in the Twin Falls Times News (where we first four sibs grew up), in the Ketchum Mountain Express (where the second four grew up), in the Seattle Times (where they retired, to be close to some of their children). BTW: you have to pay for obits. Mom’s, we discovered, was 300 words longer than Dad’s, and I think cost $300 more! We got a chuckle out of that fact. Sister Katherine composed them both. The obit person at the Seattle Times said she stopped to read Dad’s two years ago, and and so was primed to read Mom’s now; that it was very unusual for her to read them!
Father Jack also spoke of ours as a family of stories and song. And we sure proved that during these past few days! So many songs, all the old ones, all the old rounds, too; with brother Mark and his acoustic guitar, at the helm, and one of the tiny female great grandchildren on ukelele, determined to play along. Of course the very favorite song was “Lady Renee,” from which she got her name, and now me, mine. Lady Ann has a lot to live up to.