Happy 100th Birthday, Uncle Rixie!

Perhaps this is a bit off topic, but if there’s anyone worth making an exception for, it’s Uncle Rixie.  I think there are only two people in the world who can actually claim him as a legitimate uncle, but dozens who claim him as a surrogate uncle, parent or grandfather.  Long story, but when my father came to the US to attend Stanford as a freshman, he was taken under the wing of his Western Civ professor.  Dad became one of many people who learned that Rixie and his wife, Elliott, were very poor at keeping acquaintances, but very good at adoption.  With no children of their own, scores of fortunate people became their family.

I had Rixie’s big day noted on my calendar for some time and without question thought I’d be in the Bay Area with him to celebrate.  But not only do our circumstances make that difficult, but Uncle Rixie’s own health is such that he declined any celebration and isn’t feeling well enough to talk on the phone.  There’s so much good to say about him it’s difficult to know where to start, but anyone who has had the priviledge will understand my need to make mention of him. 

If you’ve lived one hundred years, you remember life before every family had a car or telephone.  You lived through two World Wars and saw 19 different US presidents (starting with Teddy Roosevelt!).  In Uncle Rixie’s case, the 100 years were filled with meaningful service to Stanford University and thousands of students in the classroom and as Dean of Admissions (how do you think I got in?).  While the milestone he’s achieved in his lifespan is impressive, more so are the scores of friends he’s made along the way.  I’m certain I am one of many who lament that we can’t celebrate him en masse today.

So tonight I no longer wish I could be in two places, rather in three.  It’s hard to beat sitting here in Santa Barbara listening to the unbridled laughter of three incredible kids, but I’d give an awful lot if I could have just a few minutes to be with Rudy at UCLA or to sit with Uncle Rixie in his apartment in Palo Alto.  Happy Birthday, Uncle Rixie!  Congratulations and thanks for everything!  I sure would love to work out a way to squeeze in a trip to the Bay Area.  But given the challenges we’re facing I didn’t want this incredible milestone for an incredible man to pass without some mention.

A Friend’s Gesture…

Dear Loved Ones,  I’ve attached below an email from a friend who lives in Nashville, TN.  She is one of the most creative people I know.  It’s funny because we’ve actually never met in person but have enjoyed an email/letter penpal friendship for over 15 years!  She and her husband have a connection to Rolf’s Stanford circle from way back.  Anyway, she offered to make a blanket for Rudy and wanted to include sentiments from our friends and family.  Please don’t feel obligated to participate but if this is something that strikes your fancy, her information is below:


Dear friends of the Geylings,

I am writing to enlist your help.  I am planning on making a special blanket for Rudy.   Here’s what you can do to make it special:

Please write a prayer or blessing for him or find a poem, song or quote that you would like to share with the Geylings to welcome their little boy and to surround them in prayer as they await his arrival.  Then send it back to me in an e-mail by October 5, 2008.

I will then write your words in permanent marker on a little square cloth that I will sew under some shapes for a  blanket for him.  In this way, Rudy will be wrapped up in all of our prayers!  I will also type up the prayers and include them in a special book so that they will know what you all are praying for them.  Please keep a copy of your prayer as a reminder to pray for them as they prepare to become a family of six.

Thank you so much for your help with this!  Don’t hesitate to email me or call with any questions.


Emily Huff


(615) 298-4863