Aaron, my son,

 Someday, your kids or their kids may ask about their family. This is a part of the answer.


Your dad and I grew up near each other in the rivers and farms and woods and bars of western Pennsylvania.


David and your grandparents, Walter and Bootsil, and your uncles, Dennis and Dean, lived near the Youghiogheny River in Smithton.


Their house was on a bend of the road called Reduction Circle, a little neighborhood of small houses built by some company for their workers. Dave and I went to different high schools and didn't meet until we were in our twenties.

That's me. I grew up on Highway 51 in Belle Vernon in an old farmhouse. I used to go to sleep every night with the sound of the highway coming through the window.


I lived with your grandparents, Paul and Joanne Thompson, your uncles, John, Joel, and Nathan, and your aunt, Amy. John married  Karin while I was in high school and they were in Shippensburg--where they met Elvina Miller

I visited Shippensburg for the first time in 1981 but it didn't work out and came back to Belle Vernon. One night, when I was out with a friend, I met your dad.  

He was living with your great-grandmother on Fitzhenry Road in Smithton.

That's where we fell in love.

I loved David's family, the noise and the fun and the arguments and many conversations going on all at once...

and the love between his parents Walter and Bootsil. Your grandmother always had so much joy in her.

Oh, and nearly everyone but Bootsil drank Stoneys—brewed right there in Smithton. I felt like I was in a totally different world.

Bootsil was born Joyce Marie Kodrin.

Her father gave her that nickname as a child. She says it’s German for tumbesault. And the nickname stuck.

David's family roots were in the mills and coal mines that used to be all over western Pennsylvania.

My family were country people, ministers, missionaries.

My mother's father pastored at a church.

Your grandfather's father lived a couple hours north of Pittsburgh in a place called Five Corners and taught Sunday school there.

David and I were married in the Sutersville Presbyterian Church.

And our first place together was south of Belle Vernon, on the Monongahela River, at Union and Sixth in California, Pennsylvania where Dave went to college.

There was love and there was big trouble and we ran off to Fayetteville, North Carolina.

We fought and we loved each other and that's where you were born. Aaron David Kolenc.

(Music: Can't Help Falling in Love with You)

You were loved so much.

(Music out)

But I just couldn't stay there. And I left and I took you back to Pennsylvania, to West Newton. We used to walk down to the Youghiogheny and throw stones in the river and watch the trains go by.

I married Gregg Naylor.

And we moved to Oklahoma where Joe was born.

Dave married Dawn, a wonderful woman, and they had your sister Sarah.

Even though we couldn't be together, I loved your father and always will.

This is what he sang to you...

(Music: My Boy at 2:14 through end at 3:19)

(Music: My Boy out.)

Gregg and I moved back to Pennsylvania and Ethan was born.

I had three sons, born in three different states, and you were always the leader.

And you had two families who loved you.

(Can't Help Falling in Love with You reprise)


We love you, Aaron. And we'll always be beside you.








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