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It all begins with family

By Mary Agnes Kuester - Guest Column
July 13, 2017 at 5:21 p.m.
Updated July 14, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Mary Agnes Kuester

Mary Agnes Kuester   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

I was awakened for a number of mornings by the sweetest sounds outside my bedroom windows. Mother bird was feeding her little family their breakfast. She had the calmest, most caring voice as she talked to them while they peeped their little thank-yous for their food. It was such a comforting, satisfying sound. I knew that one morning I would no longer hear these pleasant motherly sounds. And before long, there was silence, and I knew the family had gone on to a new destination in their young lives.

Family - it all started in a beautiful garden with a bountiful fig tree and one man and one woman. It did not take long for this man and woman to find out what makes a family. We owe it all to these two people who were in the Garden of Eden at the right place at the right time.

A family begins with a man and woman. The man and woman can produce children and increase the family. A husband and wife can separate, remarry, bring a blended family together with children from one or each family. Sometimes it works well, and sometimes it doesn't.

There is another family, too. Perhaps a man and a woman cannot conceive for some medical or other reason. But, they can become mother and father by applying for a little one from a licensed adoption agency, and then give this child or children a home of love and opportunity for a bright future.

So, from one man and one woman we are now a world of families of many colors, nationalities, languages and religious beliefs. In order to have room for all these families, new worlds had to be explored and settled by daring, brave immigrants from the old world to the uncharted waters and land. Enter these brave men and women who desperately sought a new life in this new territory, which in time spread from sea to shining sea.

I married into such a family, who braved the perils of sea travel and landed on the Texas coast, buying supplies, eventually settling in the community of Terryville in DeWitt County.

The community was a typical one with a two-story school, a small commissary, a church and a few homes in the community, but most in the outlying areas.

There were two families, the Koehlers and the Kuesters, who lived in this community. The Koehlers had nine girls and two boys. The Kuesters lived across the way. Through school and social activities of picnics, church services and house dances, all the families in and around the community knew each other well - so well in some cases that marriage occurred between some of children. Such was the case of two Koehler daughters marrying two of the Kuester young men. Their children were not cousins, but double first cousins. Three other daughters married into other families. One of the Koehler daughters ventured off toward the San Antonio outskirts. They lived too far away to do much visiting other than the annual Koehler family reunion that still is observed on a Sunday in June in the Hallettsville Catholic Center.

One of the two Koehler sons married and evidently sought his future in a small town near Houston. There is a family story (true or not) that the couple from near San Antonio decided to come for a visit to the family near Houston. After they arrived at their destination, the uncle was asked by one of the children if he had any trouble with the red lights as he drove through Houston. The uncle answered, "What red lights?" True or false, it makes for a good laugh.

This past year, as a member of these families by marriage, I thought I would have a luncheon in the very good Mexican restaurant in downtown Yoakum (you can't miss it) for the younger cousins that live in our area. Well, I say younger; at least they are younger than I.

Ten accepted my invitation. We had such a nice time eating good food and visiting and giving brief reviews of each cousin's present life, etc. Three drove over from Victoria, one from Gonzales, three from the Terryville community, and three, including me, from neighborhoods in Yoakum.

As we ate and visited, I tried to find look-alikes among the by-birth cousins. Perhaps someone else could have found some shared family features, but alas, I could not. Teaching (retired) was the main career choice among them, with the exception of two. One was involved in banking on special assignments in Dallas, and the cousin from Gonzales rides or flies wherever needed to teach new computer programs to employees. One retired teacher is a substitute in the science department in Victoria College. The rest are happy taking care of grandchildren or community and church organizations.

My contribution to the luncheon was one daughter and two daughters-in-law. I enjoy writing about that Saturday luncheon, and I hope that we will meet again before "Gabriel blows his horn" someday when I am in bed or sitting working the crossword puzzle in my daily Advocate.

Mary Agnes Kuester moved to Yoakum with her family in the summer of 1937. She taught in DeWitt County and Yoakum elementary schools for six years. In 1943, she married Ernest Kuester, a rancher. They, along with their three children, moved to Yoakum in 1951. She is now a grandmother and great-grandmother.


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