Posts Tagged 'Family reunion'

The Summer of Three Reunions (part one)

Going to any reunions this summer? I’ve got three on my calendar!

I grew up with relatives all around. Except for the California ones. But we saw them too as our family piled into our non-air-conditioned car and drove across country sans seat belts. Hanging out with relatives was just what you did. On Sunday afternoons usually but for sure at the reunions.

Each side of the family had one every summer. No tee-shirts to announce our tribe but we knew who we were. Mostly I remember the food which came from those farm kitchens. Carbs galore and oh so delicious! I looked forward to the high chocolate cake with the glossy icing the most. My mom never made that kind of icing.

Then the reunions stopped, or I stopped going. Busy, you know. My immediate family of six provided my “hanging out with my relatives” and visits from and to my parents filled out the rest. I didn’t think I missed the reunions. But part of me did, and that part got bigger as I got older.

A cache of photos started it, a common catalyst. My mom gave me the old ones quite a while back, but I lost track of them for a time. Now I look at their faces and wonder, who are these relatives and what is their story? I desperately need to know.

To begin the re-connection, I started a cousins Facebook group and turns out, I’m not the only one with photos. Names and faces from the past, my past, my DNA, show up on the page along with some funny stories.

Could another reunion come together? It would be my generation’s turn now to make it happen.

The appearance of another photo (see above) jump started the momentum. Taken circa 1925, the photo’s setting was in front of a lovely old home near my grandparent’s farm. My grandpa is the one in the middle holding the straw hat, my grandmother is on the right end. My great-grandparents, whom I never met, are in the front row left. The rest of the family is great-aunts, uncles and first cousins of my mom.

None of the relatives in the photo are still living.

But the house is still standing. What if we could replicate the photo? Turns out we can.

So tomorrow we’re taking another photo, 93 years later. Not all the cousins can make it, but enough can to stage the scene once again.

After the photo, we’ll hang out with food and drink and gather again Saturday afternoon for an old-fashioned reunion picnic. This time, catered food will replace the bulging picnic baskets and there probably won’t be any high chocolate cake with the glossy icing. OK with me, I’m not coming for that anymore.

Reunions, a time to remember our “union,” our shared story, the people listed in the genealogy charts along with us. So excited to see the new picture! More important, can’t wait to see the family again.

Two more reunions later this summer, stay tuned!

Hope for the best,







I just came home from our tri-annual Family Reunion—-Tom’s side of the family but for the last 39 years, my family too.

His two Bohemian parents produced nine children who produced their own children who produced their own children so there are a lot of us!  56 showed up at the reunion, another 9 who couldn’t be there, 4 are deceased.

We convened in Leavenworth, Washington in a beautiful setting.  Doctors, nurses, restaurant managers, therapists, car salesman, financial planners, teachers, engineers, caregivers, entrepreneurs, salespersons, carnivores and vegans laid down their roles for a few days.  Instead we basked in our common bond of cousin, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, brother, sister whether by blood or marriage.  The five-week old baby was passed around and we all marveled at how fast the kids grew since last time.

Glasses clinked in toasts of celebration, mountains of taco meat and toppings filled the table for one meal and two grills prepared the spread for another. A large tub of Red Vines sat on the counter and we tried to remember to write our names on our cups.

Some of the crowd!

I was 20 years old and somewhat shy when I first encountered this massive family and I wondered if I would ever learn the names, much less find a comfortable place.  Along the way, I realized it’s not about ME but about US.

In three years we will meet again.  All our stories will change by then in some way but we are all reading and writing the same book.

The names are quite dear to me now and the place very comfortable.

Does your family hold a reunion?

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