Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Buttering Up: Harry Van De Riet, Sr.

Here is a lovely picture of Grandpa Harry and Grandma Bess on their wedding day. I wish I could have known these two. My Grandma always spoke of her parents in such worshipful tones, so I'm sure I'll be sharing several of stories about them. For now, though, I want to share a glimpse of what it would have been like to be part of this family. I think a lot of my own family's sense of fun came from these two.

Here is an excerpt from "On Becoming a Van De Riet", by Ruth Van De Riet.

(Me--Dad--LaVonne--Harry Van De Riet)
"I was duly introduced to the rest of the family and very early on I realized that here was a force to be reckoned with! For example, at my first dinner with the family, Grandpa Harry passed me the butter and shoved it so my thumb stuck in it! Since things like that continued to happen frequently, I soon knew that one had to be on their toes.

Jack was recalled to active duty for the Korean War in August...We were married in Choteau. At the reception following the ceremony, brother Harry [Jr.] removed two shotgun shells from his pocket, handed them to the minister and said, "I guess we didn't need these after all!" I am sure we could all write a book full of such antics and remarks. Here I was, an only child, now part of this large fun family--and I loved it!!"
The Van De Riet family, Back row:  Jack, LaVonne, Harry Jr., Bonnie, Ray, Norma.  Front row:  Harry Sr, Bess
I need to start buying butter in the cube instead of the tub so I can do this to my daughter. She needs a little teasing.


  1. I am a relative of Will Van de Riet. I'm wondering if I can contact you about Herman.

    1. Sorry, I think I am just now seeing this. I would love to hear from you and have been writing about Herman, actually. I don't see an email on here...hope you get this.