Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Family Reunions Past and Present

Some of my husband's ancestors

My August 10 post was all about our recent family reunion. 'Our family' consisted of Kevin and me, our children, their spouses, and the grandchildren. We had a great time, and it was wonderful to have everyone together - a rare treat.

But one of the comments made, caused me to decide to write this post today. 

'Isn't it wonderful to have family reunions. I miss ours but as the older generation of my mother's have almost all died, we no longer have them.'

That's what often happens, isn't it.

When I read that comment, it took me back to the days when my parents would take us to their extended family reunions, where we would meet the great uncles and great aunts, first cousins once removed, and second cousins. There were a ton of them! My dad was one of eight kids, and I think all of them went to this family reunion to meet with the relatives we seldom saw. We all met at Solon Springs, about 1 1/2 hours from our home, ate food, listened to the grown-ups visit, but what I remember most about those reunions was how many people were involved and how shy I felt around those 'strangers' who seemed to delight in this special day.

My husband's parents (upper left), newly married in 1945
A smaller family reunion than those I attended as a kid

SO, the questions I have for you are:

Did you attend family reunions when you were a kid? Was your extended family large? How often did you get together? Have you carried on the tradition of the family reunion? If so, what do you do when you get together?

I see, according to other family photos, that's it's about time to have another family reunion with my husband's side of the family. AND, we're past due to have a family reunion with my siblings and their kids and grandkids.

The family reunion is a wonderful tradition, and now that our parents are gone, I guess the torch has been passed to us.

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22 comments:

Tracey Steele@Breathing English Air said...

Well I wrote you a little essay, and blogger lost it, lol. I was saying that my mum comes from a large family, and some of her siblings had large families themselves, so I have many cousins. Unfortunately, my parents have never been great socialisers, and they only ever attended one family get together each year. I loved going, they hated it! I moved away when I was eighteen, and over the years petty family squabbles have led to various members of the family not speaking to others, so a reunion wouldn't happen now. Husband and I each have one sibling, neither have children, so our kids have no cousins. I have to confess to being jealous of people who have big family get togethers.

Walking on Sunshine said...

When we were little we would travel out to Ohio to visit my mother's family and always get together with everyone. We would make this trip every other summer and we would usually gather at my Uncle Danny's house for a big bbq, picnic. It was fun. Haven't done that since the summer I graduated from high school. Sad. Loved your old photos!

Jenn S said...

Full on family reunions only happened once or twice while I was growing up, but we spent pretty much every weekend with my aunts/uncles/cousins. And holidays brought the even more extended portion like third cousins/my mom's aunts and uncles. My family, as time has gone on, does not get together like they used to. My aunts/uncles/cousins and my family all still get together, but definitely not as often. It's strange how the older we get things like that change so much.
Great post, Judy, loved that you shared the old photos with us!!

Diane said...

We never had reunions when I was a kid because most of the family lived somewhat close. Occasionally a great aunt or etc would come to town so we'd go visit. None of that today as the older folks are gone. I guess the younger/ahem, now middle-aged generation is too busy. LOVE your family photos!

Sandra said...

i like seeing photos like that first one even when i don't know the family. we always had 30 to 40 at reunions on daddy's side of the family, now there are only 6 of us left. on mothers side there were 25 and now we are at 5..
when my aunt died, one on each side the reunions died with them.

Joyce said...

We didn't have regular family reunions, but I do remember when my paternal grandparents celebrated their 50th anniversary we had a reunion of sorts. It was fun to meet relatives I'd never met until then.

Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

I fondly remember family reunions as a child - the food and the fun games - and the sense of being part of a family :-)

TexWisGirl said...

i am the youngest of 8 kids; my mom was the youngest of 8 and my dad was the youngest of 12. due to the age spread, i missed out knowing a great many of my aunts, uncles and cousins.

Carla TePaske said...

Hi Judy,
We use to get together every 4th of July with my Grandpa's side of the family.
This year my sister and I took on the reunion and also celebrated some birthdays and my parents anniversary. And we all were able to get together! YAY!
We all said "WE ARE GOING TO DO THIS NEXT YEAR"
I think distance...some family live in Texas and time...make it hard. But I do hope we can keep it up.

Susie said...

Our family was so big we were a group anytime we got together. Now we all meet at my daughter Angie's on the 4th of July. I love the cute photo with your parents ...they looked so happy. xoxo,Susie

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Judy I have not time to answer all your questions at present. My family does get together. Also my nursing friend of over 50 years have reunions 3 times a year. Good to keep in contact with friends and family

Chel @ Sweetbriar Dreams said...

I was thinking the other day that I remember the amount of family get togethers I had as a child, but now miles separate us all as we have moved all over the place and this has a knock on effect on the younger generation. We have a small family reunion happening in a couple of weeks where my mum and uncle are meeting up for the first time in about 5 years, and as a result it allows us cousins to meet too. It's a shame that most family reunions are at weddings and funerals. Love your photos, they remind me of the research I am currently doing. xx

Denise said...

Have always loved family reunions.

Terri D. said...

Oh yes! We looked forward to the next family reunion as soon as it was over. Every summer, the Willmans gathered at Serpent Mound: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serpent_Mound

They were great fun. I grew up with cousins who were more like siblings. We are all spread out now, with families of our own, and unfortunately the cousins of today don't even know each other. Very sad.

It was not unusual to have 40 family members for Thanksgiving and Christmas, at my grandma's house. I love those memories.

Joe's family is BIG and all the weddings, funerals and graduations are "reunions". We will be attending one in September!

Love your photos, and thank you for the memories!

Noelle the dreamer said...

Both ex-RAF hubby's and my family are spread across 4 continents so it is unlikely we could match such stunning records! I noticed more female gender than male in the first photo (taken after a conflict perhaps?).
Very likely inthe future, such gatherings will become rarety! Very nice for the kiddies to remember Dear!
Thanks for sharing,

Cherry's Prairie Primitives said...

My mom has 7 brothers and sisters and the family was close, Christmas was always a huge event and I have been to a few very large family reunions that reminded me of a county fair. All of my moms siblings except one have all moved back to the town they grew up in after they retired. I love when I go back home because I get to see everyone!

Eileen said...

My husband is one of fourteen, and they have never all been together for a photograph ever. Even at weddings there always seems to be one missing. Unfortunately the will never all be together again as one brother has died. With all the spouses and children it is a huge family, unfortunately not a close family.

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

Those two pictures are really nice. I love the house also in the first one. My family is "complicated" so we don't do "family reunions" and the ones I remember from my childhood were rather nightmarish!

Deanna said...

My dad's family had regular reunions on Memorial Day for over 30 years. One by one, the older members who had been in charge of running it had health issues and passed the torch. The last one to be in charge has now moved out of state and we haven't had one for 2 or 3 years now. I'd love to see them start up again, although we would have to find a new date or location as we lost our standing reservation at the local park lodge for that date. Perhaps I'll have to be the one to take it on. I do think it's important.

Heide at ApronHistory said...

My Dad's side of the family is large. There is a "planned" family reunion every 3rd year. The last few I have skipped out on! The aunties sometimes get a little carried away with festivities. Dad's Dad had 9 siblings plus 9 step-siblings, so it is HUGE! Sometimes it is also combined with Dad's Mom's family which isn't quite as large. Oddly enough, I don't have more then half a dozen cousins but Dad has a hundred or so....

waqas farooq said...
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Chatty Crone said...

We did not have family reunions. I have been to one a couple of years ago and it was wonderful.

I love yours too!

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