The invitation said:
This party was for my sister, Linda and her husband Mike Andersen (aka Schmoo and Fuzz) Life has been difficult for them. Linda has battled repeated breast tumors and now Mike had cancer of the jaw diagnosed last year. The skilled surgeons in Ann Arbor cut his jawbone out, along with a lot of tissue. They made him a new jaw with a bone from his leg! Then he had skin grafts to repair the neck and cheek areas. He is doing GREAT and has been declared one year cancer free! What a reason to celebrate!!!!
With a lot of pre-planning, my sister and I burned up the cyber airwaves with lists, ideas and shopping sources of things on a budget. This party was getting bigger and bigger as time went on. We were gonna pull it off to be a party of a lifetime for the Happy Couple---- they sure deserve it.
We drove up 120 miles on Friday night to park our motorhome right in the parkinglot at the rented Bates Township Hall, out in the country near Iron River, Michigan. My sister brought their travel trailer too, so that way we were close by ---and no drinking and driving home again!
When we got there on Friday night, Schmoo and Fuzz were busy unloading and starting to arrange things. We helped for a while and then made them take a break and head over for fish fry at the bar across the road. Other friends joined us for dinner, Buzzy and Judy. The fish was great and we enjoyed the evening.
Our daughter Erin and her husband Mark came up from Oconto... and brought along our granddaughter Chelsea too. They were going to stay with us in the motorhome, so we made room for her portacrib and blew up a new queen air mattress for Erin and Mark to sleep on the floor... much softer than the fold out couch in the rig. (we are thinking of getting rid of the couch and just having two recliners)
Here are the rigs, side by side in the back lot. We were parked close enough to the hall to run back and forth with cooking stuff, food, and run back to stay with Chelsea while she took her naps throughout the weekend.
Saturday morning, the guys set up Schmoo's canopy over the tapper trailer area as rain was in the forecast. I have one of these canopies too, as we use them for demonstrations and selling of our weaving items at festivals-- the LOOMATICS. The tapper trailer was parked close to the outdoor party deck on the back of the hall.
Inside the hall we started decorating... there was a photo collage of memories that we put together of events throughout their lives. (there is a link below at the end of the blog with all the party pics as well as closeups of all the photos in the collages) And of course there was a cake! ---the photo looks small but it was a full big sheet cake that was sooo pretty!
We put up two big banners I had painted for them, and their friend Heather came to do streamers and balloons and party favors. The tablecloths were white ones I had dyed various colors, in preparation to cut them up and make rag rugs from them. In the meantime, they served as bright and festive table covers. LOL
Fuzz had been cooking in preparation all week long, making the spaghetti sauce and the BBQ's (sloppy joes) and he had that all bagged and frozen in advance. They had gathered most of the food and hauled in box after tote after cooler after bag of everything needed. The township hall's large kitchen was packed full of food -- which we had to prepare.
We attacked the hall and we had decorations to do, tables to arrange and cover, food to cook and nesco roasters to fill! The party was going to start by 3 pm ....ACK! We got our butts in gear and made it happen.
Erin and I were the Kitchen Wenches.... to assist Schmoo with all the food. We had lined up the nesco roasters for spaghetti, scalloped potatoes, sloppy joes on buns, calico beans, then crock pots of 2 cooked veggies, swedish meatballs, leek soup (made by our brother Butch and friend Rick) that filled one whole table. On the side table we put a big bowl of tuna pasta salad (made by Erin), taco salad (made by friend Cella) and various trays of sausage, cheeses, relishes and deviled eggs, chips and dips. Whew --- did we ever cook and cook and cook to get it all ready for the buffet tables.
The guys tested the beer from the tapper trailer... they had 6 barrels of beer on tap and ready.... we put our dad, Grandpa Wankel, aka Yooper, to be the Gate Guard and stand over the tapper trailer to make sure no minors were taking any beer. He takes his beer job seriously! LOL
Schmoo looked sooo pretty in her red dress! Fuzz picked it out for her from a catalog and said she should order it for the party. She was really the Lady in Red and looked so good to her loving husband!!!! and everybody else too---- I am so proud of my sister for all that she has had to deal with, and being by her husband's side through thick and thin battling this horrid cancer. He is so brave to deal with this and face such complicated surgery. Twenty six years of marriage... and here's to many, many more!
My sister's long time nickname comes from a Schmoo... a cartoon character who is always positive and loving, even in hard times. Having a great attitude is what the name means to my sister... We call it her "Schmootie Attitude"!
from Wikipedia: A schmoo (plural: schmoon, also schmoos) is a fictional cartoon creature. Created by Al Capp (1909–1979), they first appeared in his classic comic strip Li'l Abner on August 31, 1948, and quickly became a postwar national craze in the USA. A schmoo is shaped like a plump bowling pin with legs. It has smooth skin, eyebrows and sparse whiskers—but no arms, nose or ears. Its feet are short and round but dexterous, as the schmoo's comic book adventures make clear. It has a rich gamut of facial expressions, and often expresses love by exuding hearts over its head.
Fuzz's nickname since high school is very self-evident. His head of fuzzy hair tells the tale, and the loss of his fuzzy beard during surgery and chemo and radation is now growing back into a smaller goatee.
People started coming in and the food and drink was flowing... soon we had long lines for the buffet and the party deck was filled with guests. They expected anywhere from 100 to 200 people!~ We were kept busy with refilling the food, re-arranging the platters and then Schmoo and Fuzz cut the cake. Awwww and they kissed away the frosting after feeding each other a piece, just like 26 years ago.
Our three goofy nephews--- The Bicigo Boys! Darren, Mikey and Matt
We had a lot of folks hanging out on the Party Deck---
near the beer and also for the smokers outside
Guests came and went all evening. The food was refilled and the plates cleared away for more to come. It was so good to see so many people. All gathered to celebrate the anniversary of my sister and her husband... and overcoming this awful cancer disease with success!
Our daughter Erin, husband Mark dressed our granddaughter in her polkadot dancing dress! Rod and Laura set up the karaoke and DJ stand for the music and dancing... we book them for every family party we have, and they are more like family to us than a business deal. We love em!
This is our dad, aka Grandpa Wankel (or Yooper) along with our nephew Mikey and our brother Umpee. What a crew! The dancing began with Schmoo and Fuzz leading the way to the dancefloor... and the dancing lasted all night long!
(it's so hard to take good pictures of people dancing---awkward!)
Little granddaughter Chelsea was having a blast... we later changed her out of her party dress into her jammies.. thinking she would konk out. NO WAY! She even danced a special dance with her Daddy!
(before we know it, they will be doing a Father-Daughter dance at her wedding!!!!)
It was such an enjoyable evening... Steve and I took a turn around the floor with our beedle bug granddaughter between us. We wish our other grandkids had been there, but Allegra's parents had both work and ball games scheduled. Jameson was spending the weekend in Milwaukee with his other grandparents at a pre-planned trip to a Brewer Game and the Milwaukee Zoo. So we had to lavish all our attention on Chelsea this weekend. (we did get to see Allegra on Monday at swimming and will have Jameson this upcoming weekend for camping - so they will get lavished too)
I think we were ALL tired in this photo.
Here was one of the group shots when Nikki grabbed my camera for me... we were posing for the photographer to snap a group shot of whoever was inside at that particular time. More group shots were taken outside too with other guests by the photographer too, will see those later.
The place was full of fun, laughter and good wishes for the happy couple!
The party went on well into the night. About 10:30 little Chelsea was ready for bed, and so were Steve and I. We left the others to party on, while we snuck out to the motorhome to put her to bed. I climbed into my flannel jammies and hit the rack as soon as I could, snuggling with my husband for a good night's sleep.
The next day, of course, is clean up time! We got up early and took Chelsea in with us, letting her parents sleep in a while. Good thing Schmoo put away all the hot foods the night before and had the nesco roasters soaking all night with water in them overnight. They still were a MESS to clean up!
Many of the cheese, crackers, relishes and salads were left out for munching, and were pretty well depleted. So we tossed them after sitting out all night. There was about 1/3 of the cake left... for BREAKFAST!
We scrubbed, bagged, cleaned, swept, mopped and hauled out the garbage. Sigh. The party was over!!!
Our brother Umpee came to help clean.... he and Steveio manned the mops, while Fuzz was sweeping mulitple times with the broom. All of the sandy gritty dirt hauled in on wet shoes all night from the raining outside was a bugger to sweep up first before the mopping. Also Mark came in and grabbed brooms and mops too. They got it done while we women were in the kitchen dealing with the dishes, leftovers and supplies.
While the floor was drying, Fuzz and Steve scooted outside to mount their new electric power jack on the front of their camper (an anniversary present from us) Their last one that they had worn out, and cranking the trailer has been rough on Fuzz last year during his recovery. So having a power one again is nice! It was Steve's idea.
Little Chelsea could not RESIST the wide open dancing floor space....awwwww
Erin, Schmoo and I kept cleaning. I washed nesco after nesco, crock pot after crock pot, serving utensils and trays and platters till my hands were wrinkled like prunes! The garbage was bagged and hauled out, and soon the hall was spic and span clean!
from Schmoo and Fuzz
to everyone who came and made
this celebration such a success!!!