When some grandparents get together with their grandkids, it may be for a Sunday barbecue, with a dozen or so kids running around while the adults catch up.
When Naydean Crowell’s family gets together, she usually uses the church social hall — it’s one of the few places big enough to accommodate her 28 grandchildren and 65 great-grandchildren.
Crowell, now 85, recently welcomed her 65th great-grandchild, William, to the world. Her great-grandchildren now range in age from 4 weeks to 20 years old, and she knows every single one of their names, as well as those of her 28 grandkids.
“I just start with the oldest and go from there,” she said. “Don’t ask me their birthdays or how old they are, though.”
Crowell herself comes from a fairly large family — she is one of nine kids.
They moved to Grass Valley when she was 14 years old, and she met her husband, Bill Ivey, while attending Grass Valley High School.
Their families lived up on Banner Mountain and the two of them would often ride to school together.
They got married when they were 18 and welcomed their first child not long after.
Though she’s spent most of her life in Grass Valley, they spent some time in Fort Worth. Wash., after Ivey enlisted in the army.
They had five children together — Lynn, Britt, Karen, Diane and Kevin. The family eventually found their way back to Nevada County.
Ivey passed away in 1994 and Naydean remarried, to Donald Crowell.
The family remains close, with many still living in the area.
In fact, out of nearly 100 (total) grandchildren and great-grandchildren, most live in California and not much further than Sacramento.
The furthest away is in Georgia, with a few in Nevada, Colorado and Idaho.
They get together every other year, usually in Lake Tahoe.
In the off-reunion years, the families try to get together during the holidays, celebrating a Christmas Eve eve, so that each family can have their own Christmas Eve tradition.
“It’s fun. We’re pretty close and involved with each other’s lives and I love that,” Crowell’s daughter, Dianne Wallace, said of her many nieces and nephews.
In addition to the annual and bi-annual reunions, those in the area get together for a “family home evening” the first Sunday of every month.
Anywhere between 20 and 30 people attend.
Those family dinners are certain to only get bigger. Crowell’s brood will surely continue to grow.
And with her eldest great-grandchild nearly 21, a great-great grandchild in the not-too distant future would not be unheard of.
“They keep coming,” Crowell said.
“Two more due this year. It’s wonderful. I love them all. We’re all so close. They’re all so good to me.”
Katrina Paz is a local freelance writer.
“They keep coming. Two more due this year. It’s wonderful. I love them all. We’re all so close. They’re all so good to me.”
on her great-granchildren