For many of the family and friends-of-family that attended the recent Rempel Reunion, it is a kind of coming home to return to Shadowcliff. Memories from childhood of the castle-like fortress where they imagined themselves in games of play and make-believe; experiences like the shoe box burial of a departed chipmunk; or memories of Grandma Patt pulling a chest of costumes and wigs into the lounge for the children to adorn for the annual family talent show are keepsake memories that come flooding back upon entering these rooms again and again.
Over the years Shadowcliff invites changes like the rebuilding of the staircase in the Rempel Lodge, or new windows, or new paint on the decks; but more importantly, it remains the same. “I feel that Shadowcliff is the same as always. It feels so familiar. It feels like home,” said Denise. Denise is the great niece of Patt and Warren. And Merri, also a great niece, chimed in, “One of my favorite things about Shadowcliff it that it stays the same; it’s consistent. And you’re guaranteed a comfortable seat and a sun-shiney morning with coffee on the porch.”
There are many cozy spaces at Shadowcliff that foster connection: the Rempel Lounge, the dining room, the decks overlooking Grand Lake’s scenic vistas, the chapel, and “The Point” to name a few. The Rempel Reunion made the most of these spaces with scheduled activities like the wine cork craft night in the dining room, the intentional sharing circle in the lounge where family members spoke about their daily lives and activities, and of course the annual family talent show in the chapel.
The lodge rooms, cabins, and shared spaces are rustic, and the views are breathtaking. “Even though Shadowcliff is rustic there is a certain subtle grandeur to it,” said Paul, who is Patt and Warren’s nephew. And there is a deeper magic at play here that is more felt than spoken. “There’s a real spirit here; it brings out your connection to nature. My parents had such dedication and harmony with the earth; and so did Warren with his mindset that the world needs to be a better place and we need to make it that way,” Paul shared.
A Celebration of Life for Patt was held in the Chapel on Saturday of the Rempel Reunion. The family and friends who loved and admired her gathered in her honor to share stories, memories, laughter, and tears. Two of her grandsons, Alexander and Nicholas, performed a tribute to her with, “What a Wonderful World,” and the crowd who had gathered sang along, remembering the love and service that Patt embodied and brought forth into the world. Sue and Peter, Patt and Warren’s two living children, then scattered Patt’s ashes at “The Point” as we all looked on in reverence and respect for all that was dreamed and built here at Shadowcliff through her love and life of service.
Memories permeate the walls of Shadowcliff from generations of this family coming together in the spirit of giving and connection, just like the values Warren and Patt lived out in their lives. “And the history is really honored by quotes and plaques and pictures upstairs. For me, Shadowcliff will always be the most special place,” said Emily, great niece to Patt and Warren.
There is a legacy here. And it tells the story of service and sacrifice and of a community that continues to grow with every new birth and marriage, but more importantly with every act of kindness and love that exemplifies the true Rempel legacy found here.
In parting, Paul said, “It’s sweet to keep looking forward to coming home.”