ONE ROCHESTER FAMILY HAS BEEN GETTING TOGETHER WEEKLY ON FRIDAYS AS LONG AS AYVA AND MAYA FOGARTY AND EMMA AND ABBY HESS CAN REMEMBER. THESE FOUR GIRLS WHO RANGE IN AGE FROM 14 TO 22 HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF SPENDING A LOT OF TIME WITH THEIR MOMS, TRACEY FOGARTY AND HOLLY HESS, THEIR GRANDMA, BONNIE STEVENSON, AND THEIR GREAT-GRANDMA, MARGE BLOCK, BECAUSE IT IS A FAMILY PRIORITY TO SPEND FREQUENT QUALITY TIME TOGETHER.
POSITIVELY FAMILY & FRIENDS
They all share that a positive attitude has been modeled by both Marge and Bonnie. “We’re all blessed with Grandma’s demeanor, which is accepting and loving,” says Holly. Tracey adds, “We always look forward to getting together.”
And this positivity extends beyond their family. Tracey says some of her friends ask if they can be part of the family. Bonnie adds, “Our friends tell us all the time that we are lucky that we live close and we want to do things together.”
Sisters Holly and Tracey have long considered themselves best friends. Tracey says, “We know the good, the bad and the ugly, and no matter what, our relationship is supportive. Anybody is lucky to have a person that they can tell everything to, and we have each other.”
Similarly, Emma and Abby have already decided that they want to live near each other when they are done with college. Tracey’s daughters, Maya and Ayva, used to fight all the
time, but “ever since you (Ayva) got your license, we’ve gotten closer,” laughs Maya. “We’re so close because they’re so close,” says Ayva, referring to her mom and her aunt. Bonnie adds, “They might not realize how much they learn from us.”
Tracey shares they also have “genuinely caring spouses who support our family bond and know-how deep our connection is. They support the time we spend together.”
ACTIVITIES ACROSS GENERATIONS
Holly says, “Each of us has our way of getting out of our head.” She and Marge love to quilt, which “takes your mind off everything else.” Emma meditates every day. Maya and Ayva like to listen to music and watch Netflix. Tracey likes to take trips with Holly and her friends.
One trip the whole family took (on a chartered bus) was to see Emma’s first game as a Vikings cheerleader in the fall of 2016, and Tracey says, “Grandma got to go to the very first game in the new stadium.” Emma’s favorite picture is the one of Marge waving to her from the stands.
An activity that spans the generations is Bunco. Marge’s mom belonged to a group in the 40s, and each generation since has been in a group. Holly says that it is “a way for ladies to get together and talk. It’s like therapy.”
Gardening is another shared interest among the women. “We grew up pulling things out of Grandma’s garden,” says Holly, who belongs to the Rochester Garden and Flower Club, along with Tracey and Bonnie. They have all been on the garden tour, and as a family, they adopted a garden at Mayo High School.
MAKING MEMORIES TOGETHER
Bonnie, Holly, Tracey, Emma and Abby all graduated from Mayo High School, and Ayva and Maya are currently students there. Emma says you really think about what you say and do with so much family around and when “you’re Facebook friends with your great-grandma.”
The family prayer is “Johnny Appleseed,” which perfectly sums up their gratitude for each other. Their family exudes love and positivity.
Emily Watkins is a local writer.
Writer’s Note: Take your mom, sisters, daughters or friends shopping in the Cooke Park Design District. Shop for unique clothes and home decorations at Real Deals, find fun things for your home as well as locally made jewelry and candles at Dwell Local. Take time for coffee at Old Abe’s on Seventh Street or at Fiddlehead Coffee Co. or eat lunch at Forager.