Characteristics of G-1's

Characteristics of G-1's as Expressed by G-2's and G-3's

(Reunion 2002 - June 22, 2002 - Chowchilla)

The hard and fast values that Lowery and Opla Poteete instilled in their ten kids, the G-1's, have stood the test of time. All of us are here today because we share some of those values - - among them loyalty and love of family. The warmth and love among those ten brothers and sisters is a wonderful thing to see.

Through necessity, all of those ten kids learned other values too. All developed a healthy capacity for hard work at an early age. All learned patience. All have a remarkably even temperament - - with allowances for the occasional outburst when provoked. And all have mellowed a bit more with age.

In addition to those collective values, each of the G-1's brings individual talents and qualities to this family. Several G-2's and G-3's put their heads together to identify those qualities. Following are words, phrases, and anecdotes describing how these G-2's and G-3's perceive their parents, and aunts and uncles among the G-1's. Special thanks to Cathie Proffitt for her warm memories used here. See how fitting you think these descriptions are.

Monteen: "Grandma Moses", "The Grand Dame", artistic, pretty darned smart, resilient, perceptive, eloquent, fearless; she has managed to keep her sweet nature in spite of incredible loss. Cathy writes: I had permission at an early age to call her "Monteen", and not "Aunt Monteen" as she didn't like the sound of it. Donna thought that I just liked being disrespectful and would scold me when she heard me say it. Donna needed to take lessons from Monteen on being an older sister. Now that we are older, Donna has become a great friend; I'm sure that Monteen has rubbed off on her. Monteen has such an appreciation for the small things: the branch of a crepe myrtle in winter, the sounds of her sisters when they did the dishes.

Reinette: Hospitable, the "glue" - - her house is the center of everything, drop-in, decisive, direct, a great dry sense of humor, social and fun loving.  Cathie writes: The hub of the whole clan. Her house on 19th Street in Bakersfield is the jumpin' joint of the Poteete family. The basement with the special smell and the trunk of beautiful dresses we could actually put on and play in. The whole atmosphere is purely Reinette. What an open heart she has. Her home has been and is home to so many. Aunt Reinette carried so much on her shoulders, but with a gracious heart, a full table, and willing hands, it's just impossible to thank her gracefully. So I'll resolve to emulate her character, love, and care for the circle of the family and friends.

Max: Carpenter, storyteller, good humor, role model, articulate, compelling communicator, philosopher, cool guy, tender, poetic. Cathie: As a child I remember thinking that Uncle Max could and did everything. He could fly a plane, he built the building we passed going to Aunt Reinette's house, he even smoked! He is a master family historian. With all the nieces and nephews he has, we could easily blend into a homogenized mass, but he remains interested in us as individuals and always seems to know the latest news in our lives.

Ruth: Gracious, steady, unassuming, pragmatic, sensitive, quick wit, must have a suppressed party gene somewhere in her DNA. Cathie: I'm sure that sometime in the past, Martha Stewart stayed at Aunt Ruth's house and took copious notes. My mom always spoke of Ruth being a person who can make anything with anything; as I grew up, I noticed that she was right. Window coverings and slip-covers were home made and looked good; gardens were planted from clippings and starts from other people's gardens and looked great. Aunt Ruth is a study in calm and capability. She always has a smile of welcome, very good food, and a sense of humor. Anyone who has lived in Taft has to have those things.

Jeanne: Compassionate, emotional, welcoming, loving, tender-hearted, the "Saint of Tears", flexible. Cathie: Aunt Jeanne's mission in life is to make all those around her feel special. If it is in her power to make something just for you, Jeanne will go the extra mile to make sure that things are just right. Jeanne and Arnold are such a large part of our life, the parents that never scolded, that rally behind us, that love us, warts and all.

Lucille: Loyal, capable, cheerful, practical, seasoned, hospitable, can put you at ease, a thoughtful hostess, --  must come from all those years in DC having to smile at people. Cathie: Lucille lived half a nation away while I was growing up, and all I knew about her is that she lived in large houses, had three sons that were way older than me, and her husband owned a bank. Lucille and I have the same type of problems now, such as how to keep deer out of the petunias and how to make a hillside backyard attractive. Aunt Lucille's such a loveable, down-to-earth woman, ready to buck hay or feed the crew a six-course meal. She is ready for anything.

Peggy: Nurturing, giving, understanding, a good sport, family oriented, firm discipline, makes great jam. Cathie: Mom is Opla  Jr. Whether it was moral responsibility, schoolwork, or painting the fence in 110-degree Maricopa heat, Mom was on the lookout that we measured up with Opla sitting on her shoulder whispering helpful hints. We grew up knowing that we came from a long line of hard workers that didn't worry too much about what other people thought as long as we developed a good character. And she taught us that appreciation grows out of things that are worked for. Mom is a wife, career woman, homemaker, character builder, and great cook. Excelling at all aspects, something that Barbara Walters said can't be done.

Carol: Spirit-filled, tomboy, probing, prayerful, leader, approachable, encouraging, motivating, has a global perspective. Cathie: Carol is timeless. I think she is the one aunt I could appreciate in every stage of my growing years. I remember one Christmas when as a four year old, I was pretty disappointed when my gag-gift turned out to be an art gum eraser. I just couldn't believe it when Carol leaned down and asked if I wanted to trade it for the disappearing milk doll bottle that she got. I couldn't believe that someone could be so gracious; who could possibly want an eraser? She can take a young girl and make her know that she is so important to the family and to God. I've seen her do it. Willing, witty, wise, God has taken such raw material and made such a wonderful person out of Carol.

Alan: Democratic, dependable, thoughtful, pensive, industrious, a "live and let live attitude", a free spirit. Cathie: The quiet one. How cold he be anything else, coming after seven sisters? Yet again, here is a resourceful, unique Poteete. His way is just to get it done. I like the way he can acquire an old house, live in it, fix it up, and move on. He seems to do this with the people in his life also. He is always there to lend what he has to make the occasion successful. From hauling nieces and nephews around the lake with his boat, to splitting wood with my dad, he has been an understated yet crucial cog in Poteete life.

Jessie: Opinionated, interesting, confident, bold, independent, outspoken, eccentric (a good attribute). Cathie: Unique with a capital U! If there is a different way to do anything, I think Jessie has found it, and made it her own special way. Years ago, one of her kid's bedroom had palm trees painted on the walls. Jessie had painted them freehand, not stenciled or wallpapered. What a trendsetter! Whether it is diet, ways to keep house, or surfing the Net, Jessie knows how to make the most of something and do it whole-heartedly and add some panache.

So - - that's a pointed assessment of our G-1's. While growing up and even today, I thought not so much of the G-1's individually as I did of them as part of a couple. For me, and other G-2's, I thought not so much of Jessie as I did "Wayne and Jessie" or "Ruth and Art." And while we're here today to honor the G-1's, their spouses deserve our thanks and honor as well: Bob Purdie, Tim Sullivan, Dorie and Janet Poteete, Art Johnson, Arnold Liesch, Glenn Heitz, Clyde Johnston, Lowell Fairley, Bev Poteete, and Wayne Lance.

Thanks to the G-1's and their spouses!

Co-edited by Joe Heitz and Cathy Proffit with help from a number of G-2's and G-3's.