Waleta Joyce Dendurent Michael Autobiography

Waleta Joyce Dendurent, born June 5, 1934

I consider myself very fortunate to be a member of the Dendurent family. I remember grandparents full of love and knowledge. Many of our prize recipes came from Grandma D. and I have shared her date meat pudding recipe with everyone who tasted it. Grandpa D. seemed to enjoy having me and my brother, Warren, visit his watch shop in Goodland. After a hundred questions about clocks and watches and why, why, why, Grandpa would suggest we run and see what Grandma was doing. They both read the paper and we always up to the minute on current events.

After Grandpa passed away, I remember Grandma coming to visit us in Washington State. My father, Walt, thought it would be an adventure to show his mother the Pacific Ocean. Dad parked the car close to the beach and walked Grandma down to the shore where a big wave came rolling in and caught them both. Grandma was a little angry with Dad, because "Her good shoes were wet and ruined." I noticed a twinkle in her eye as she got back to the car and slipped out of her wet shoes and reprimanded her son.

One day Grandma was sitting on a window ledge in Goodland because she had broken her hip and needed to rest a few minutes. She sat with her hands in her lap -- palms up -- when a passer-by dropped money in her hand. She was so astonished, she couldn't explain that she wasn't a pan-handler, and her sons thought it was a funny incident and teased her for days.

My brothers, Warren, Bill, and Wendell, have been great uncles for our children, but I am sorry they didn't know the rest of the Dendurents. Our holidays were full of love and good times.

Bill insisted we all live on a house boat for a week at Lake Shasta, CA. Now that was real family togetherness and I can't remember a cross word was spoken, only a lot of singing and laughing. Bill taught us all to snow ski, water ski, and drive snow mobiles. His cabin at Mt. Hood was full of family and friends. My mother even baked Thanksgiving turkey in the wood stove oven while we skied down Mt. Hood.

Warren decided to hold a rummy tournament at his and Mary Ann's home at Lake Tapps, WA. They had Olympic medals made and the contest lasted all weekend. The local press arrived and took pictures. Our mother was interviewed and the story appeared in the front page of the local paper.

My parents Walt and Pauline had their hands full raising four very active Dendurents and Dad always tried to help keep us in touch with our relatives. During WWII, Uncle Kenny and Aunt Janet lived with us for a short time in Portland, Oregon, and we led Uncle Kenny a merry chase.

Dad would schedule trips to California the day after school was out so we could visit Uncle Mike, Aunt Madeline and their boys, Dick and Don. Aunt Mary and Uncle Merr would welcome us in Whittier, CA, and Murnice and Jerry took us to Knotts' Berry Farm.

A great source of pride was Dad's brother Sam who produced "two sets of twins" and Mom always worried each time she got pregnant that it might be her time to produce Dendurent twins.

My 65 years have been richly blessed and as my children gather for holidays, we remember the joys of family. Bill and Warren's children are close to mine and I can see our lives coming full circle. My only regret would be my father and two brothers passed away early in life, but the memories are good and numerous. -- Waleta Michael, December 1999.