Monday, June 30, 2008


Five of the 42 cousins who traveled to Iowa City for a special weekend are shown in the front row with our host, Jim Hayes (right front), as well as spouses and the sculptor James Hayes, next to Leroy in the back row. This photo was shot on the last morning of the weekend, as we wound down one of the most amazing displays of pro bono grace and goodness I have ever witnessed.

In the background of this photo, the home called "1142 Court," lovingly restored to status on the National Register of Historic Homes, but still a location for celebrations large and small. This was a large celebration for the 150th birthday of the house. Around 200 guests, including descendants of those who have lived in the house, other civic leaders, and the Jim Hayes cousins, took part in the program and party that followed.

My cousin Jim Hayes, trial lawyer and philanthropist extraordinaire, opens the formal birthday program on Saturday afternoon. The home, its carriage house and three properties behind it are all to be donated to the University of Iowa when Jim dies. It was an extraordinary weekend, with all the Hayes family combinations represented, as well as members of the four families who have lived in the house. My photos are mostly of my family, not the house, though there is now a whole book about the house, a copy of which we each received.

Outside in the gardens near the pool and carriage house, my cousins Nancy, Ann and Beth as well as Morrissey and Barrett cousins in the background.

A view of the bronze figures commissioned by Jim from his nephew, the sculptor James Hayes, who lives in Bray, Ireland. The sculptures and fountain were installed in 2005, and is called "The Ball," featuring parents and child, with ball.

My sister and I grew up at home and also on the farm owned by my Uncle Jim, my godfather, and father of Jim Hayes. Here are three of us who spent a great deal of time together through high school: my cousin Kathleen (sister of Jim) , my sister Mary, and myself, at dinner the evening before the party.

At dinner the previous evening Jim explains to us how much it means to him that we have traveled from across the world to be with him for this special event. I think he is also warning us to be on time and to behave, since both the Governor Chet Culver and the president of the University of Iowa will be with us the following day.

My cousins, Ann, Nancy and Rose (sister of Jim). Though we saw each other in 2005, there is always a good deal of catching up to do at these events.

And at Sunday morning brunch, before we flew out, Leroy captured photos of the cousins one last time: from the left, my cousins Mary Sue, Kathleen, Susan, myself and Jim Hayes.

I am on vacation this week, and ready to get back into training for the 3 Day Walk, which is only 11 weeks away. It's sunny and hot, and I can't ask for more than that, because I'll also be able to work in the garden and on my book at the same time. We thought on Friday to drive north to Vancouver then across by ferry to Victoria to visit cousins Mary Siobhan and her husband Tony; and her sister Kay, who will be here from Prague with her husband Howard and toddler son James -- as opposed to my son James, my cousin Jim, or Kay's brother, the sculptor James from Ireland. These names do tend to run pretty consistently in the family, which after all is where I began this blog entry. This is a family that I am proud of.

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