Grandma’s sleepover a sweet scene

Claire Moorman/The Herald

Herald Staff Writer

JASPER — Making new memories was on the agenda for the Brescher family Friday night as 20 girls, young and old, donned pajamas and plastic leis for a slumber party.

Several Brescher cousins had made the plans a few weeks earlier at a family wedding. They knew their beloved grandmother, Aline Brescher, 80, was struggling with moving out of the home she shared with husband Allen, 84, for the past 60 years. The couple sold their home near Superior Ag Resources Co-op on County Road 150W and transferred to a much smaller abode on Sapphire Drive just three weeks ago.

“I cried because I didn’t want to leave that house and all the memories,” Aline said.

The couple designed their first home themselves before getting married in 1954. They spent their first night there after their wedding on June 19 of that year. The fond memories include six decades’ worth of holiday get-togethers, each one a little larger than the last.

Granddaughter Hannah Brescher said the old home, which had two stories and a basement, easily could fit about 70 people for meals and gift exchanges each year. The Breschers have eight children, 26 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren and are expecting two more great-grandsons soon.

“Our family is growing and growing. When I got married to Allen, that was one of the things we talked about,” Aline said. “We were hoping we would both have a nice big family.”

The slumber party started quietly enough, with the cousins and their own children gathered around the kitchen table in the new house to enjoy pizza. But soon, Aline’s daughters-in-law Margaret and Diane Brescher burst through the front door dressed as hillbillies and a rousing game of Twister began. Balloons popped, girls giggled and shouted, hugs were exchanged and Aline concluded that the new memories had begun.

“If grandma or grandpa is ever upset about anything, we are all here to just jump in and try to make them feel better because we could never, ever repay them for what they do for us,” granddaughter Alice Brescher said. “I actually live and work in Evansville and I come home almost every weekend. Family is No. 1 and time is precious and it’s short. There’s so much love in this room, it’s insane.”

Though no boys were allowed at the slumber party, some of Aline’s grandsons’ wives, fiancées and girlfriends joined in the fun.

“Being in this huge family and being able to sit here and hug on each other and love on each other and just laugh and have a good time, to have that bonding experience is really amazing,” said Natasha Fromme, who is dating one of Aline’s grandsons. “Grandma and grandpa are that glue that holds us all together.”

Over the course of the night, the girls and women participated in a hairstyling contest, played Truth or Dare, watched movies, read bedtime stories and gave each other manicures. Aline said she still misses her old home and her “lovely things” — she used to have an extensive Madame Alexander doll collection, but because there is less room in the new house, she has distributed most of them among her family members — but it is family that is most important to her. Aline’s blessings were most apparent when Hannah found and read aloud an essay that Aline had written during a retreat in April 1950, when she was a junior in high school.

“What I want to have, do or be when I grow up: A good Catholic, married woman with a nice-sized family including a good husband and healthy children. A caring, loving, unselfish family. A comfortable home,” the note read.

“She’s done every single word of that,” granddaughter Heather Furniss said. “It is amazing.”

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