avery reunion

Linette, Clementine and I just got back from a family reunion in Kentucky, where people from all around the U.S. met to discuss the current state of the odd, little family that was started in wonderfully-named Beardstown, Illinois some eighty-plus years ago by Arthur Pickle Avery and his wife, Nellie. Id been invited because Nellie and Pickle were my great-grandparents… Im not positive, but I might have been their first great-grandchild At any rate, Im probably one of the few of my generation that remembers them, although not terribly well. I believe they had both passed away by the time I turned ten, in 1978.

As I recall, Pickle was a very likeable man, extremely friendly, jovial even. (In our family, happy people tend to attract attention.) I remember that he and I had ice cream once, and he’d told me not to tell Nellie. Nellie, when she found out, scolded him. She was the strict one, the Nick Nolte to his Eddie Murphy. (Pickle, I think, tried to blame me for getting the ice cream out, but I cant swear to it.) I remember him winking and smiling at me behind her back.

I also remember the layout of their little house, where their icebox was, where their TV was, where their kitchen table was in relation to their sink. I remember enjoying the time I spent with Pickle, just walking around their yard and talking about stuff. I have a distinct memory of being impressed by the number of people that came over to say hello to him when we were outside. I remember thinking, Everybody loves Pickle.

I asked his daughters last night how he got the name Pickle. They werent sure. I told them that Id heard he got the nickname because Nellie was always packing pickles in his lunchbox. They said that theyd heard that too, but they werent sure. Apparently, no one ever thought to ask him At one point during the weekend, I was discussing Pickles nickname with someone else. He said, The weird thing is, hes not the only Pickle Avery in Beardstown either. Theres another one. I didn’t get a chance to follow up, but I’d like to think that perhaps this more recent Pickle was given the name in honor of my great-grandfather.

OK, Im tired and I need to go to bed Heres a photo of Pickle and Nellie before I go though. I believe the child that they are holding is my grandfather, Bob. That would make the year about 1925… My hope is that wherever Pickle and Nellie might be tonight, they’re happy to know that the family they started in the 20’s continues on.

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One Comment

  1. Mark
    Posted September 7, 2004 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Lori, I thought about telling you, but then, in a moment of kindness, decided not to. There was one woman who attended that was not from the Avery clan, either by birth or marriage. She, and I’m not kidding about this, spent about twelve hours the second night, sitting in a car, by herself. That, I suppose, should give you some indication as to how hard we are on outsiders… As for my Lori, I didn’t see much of her. She was just getting over a near-death experience with Viral Meningitis and, even though she told me she wasn’t contagious, I decided to stay on the other side of the banquet hall with the baby As for where which county we were in, I cant say. I promised not to. All I can say is that it was very hilly.

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