Oberlin Blogs

My Oberlin family.

November 17, 2012

Barbara Sawhill

This past weekend was Oberlin's parent and family weekend. The idea is simple: open Oberlin up to the people you consider family and let them see a little bit about the place where you live, work, and study.

I have worked at Oberlin for 15 years. During that time the number people I would consider to be a part of my Oberlin family has grown and morphed. There is my own biological family... they live here in the wee town of Oberlin. There are my co-workers, who some weeks I see as much if not more often than my own family. There are colleagues that I admire and respect. There are friends in town (with no connection to the college of the same name). There are, of course, my students. All of these folks make up my Oberlin extended family.

I am one of those people who gets to use this cute little signature after her name: Oberlin P '14. That means I am a Parent of a person in the class of 2014.

Until recently, I thought he was the only blood relative of mine who had studied here. I was wrong.

Meet Virginia Sawhill, Class of 1950.

I found about about Virginia thanks to Ken Grossi, the College archivist, and due to two other Sawhill connections here at Oberlin. One was my own son, while he was helping out at the First-Year Orientation. The other was my 2nd cousin, Howard, parent of an incoming first-year, who met my son at Orientation and made the connection. Howard and his wife, Nancy, found me soon thereafter. Squeals of delight ensued. Much drawing of long-limbed family trees, questions about geography (Kansas or Pennsylvania?) and silent comparisons of noses, eyes and gestures soon followed. Family: found.

As we wind our way into the holiday season I am reminded of one other Oberlin family, and that is the community of people we bring together each year to celebrate Thanksgiving in our house.

As soon as Hallowe'en has passed, my husband starts worrying about the "orphans," that is, the students on campus who don't have a place to have turkey and all of the fixings in a home.

He loves to cook. People love to eat. Please pass the stuffing.

Each year we open our house to about 15-20 people: our own family, colleagues, graduates, international students, friends, neighbors...and one year we were joined by our plumber, given that the 2nd floor bathroom pipes burst precisely at the moment that the turkey was exiting the oven.

Our kitchen. In a matter of hours, this.....:

Turns into this......

The food is great, the company is lively, and we feel very lucky that our Oberlin family (just like our waistbands) grows each year.

May your Thanksgiving 2012 break be filled with food and happiness and love and family -- however you choose to define it -- !

Responses to this Entry

Families. They come from everywhere, and I like that very much.

Also I know so many of the delightful people in your Thanksgiving family photo! Eeeee!

Posted by: Ma'ayan on November 19, 2012 10:07 AM

Virginia Sawhill Galloway is my Grandmother! Neat to see the picture. I will let her know about your blog!

Posted by: Brian on February 1, 2013 10:53 PM

No way! How exciting is that! Please tell her the Sawhill legacy continues on at Oberlin! Please send regards from her (growing) Oberlin family!

Posted by: Barbara Sawhill on February 1, 2013 10:58 PM

My mother is Virginia Sawhill. She met my father, Robert Galloway, when they were both students at Oberlin. My great aunt and uncle on my dad's side lived in Oberlin for years after retiring, and my great uncle volunteered in the archives at Oberlin until he was close to 100 yrs old. His name was Frank Trevorrow, and I am sure there are still people there who remember him.

Posted by: Joyce Wehner on February 2, 2013 10:14 PM

Pleased to meet you! And I know exactly who Frank Trevorrow is. In fact my family and I went to his 100th birthday party!

So does this mean I am also related to Frank Treverrow? How amazing would that be!

Where are you located now? I would love to do as I did with "cousin" Howard and sit down with you and scribble out the family tree and see where we all are located!


Posted by: Barbara Sawhill on February 2, 2013 10:23 PM

Frank Trevorrow was married to my great-aunt Marjorie, who was my father's aunt. So you are not a blood relative of his, only connected by my father being married to my mother, Virginia. Thought it was interesting you found the picture of my mother in the archives that Frank worked so lovingly in for years.
I live in Ames, Iowa. But my mother, Virginia Sawhill Galloway, lives in Denver, Colorado and would be your expert on family tree. I will talk to my sister Ann about helping her get online with you.

Posted by: Joyce Wehner on February 9, 2013 11:19 AM

Virginia Sawhill Galloway is my grandmother. My mother and brother have already posted here. I just wanted to let you know that at my Mom's request I sent the link to your blog to my grandmother and aunt so my grandmother can get on and respond. I grew up in Iowa but now I live in Raleigh, NC, not far from Chapel Hill where Howard lives. So as you can see Sawhill relatives are scattered everywhere. My Grandmother always told me that all Sawhills in the United States are related.

Posted by: Erica Ferranti on February 9, 2013 11:50 AM

I was classmates with Ginny Sawhill and was a bridesmaid in her wedding in 1950. I would love to get back in touch with her. I can be reached at my daughter’s email address above.

Posted by: Portia Peters Hanson on October 4, 2019 8:40 PM

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