In my last post before the blogging break, I mentioned that Motor Man and I were, once again, hosting my family reunion this year. My mom’s family started the tradition of a reunion many years before I was born. And at one point, the first Saturday in August was pegged as “THE” day, so everyone could plan their summer around the reunion. That’s how important it was to everyone in the family.
My mom was one of twelve, and during the reunion’s “heyday”, there were upwards of 70 folks attending. But, as the twelve children and their spouses passed away, the size of the reunions dwindled. There were a few years when there was no reunion.
But, my generation, the first cousins, seems to have rekindled an interest in seeing each other at least once a year. So, at this year’s reunion, we had a total of 19 to attend.
Thanks to my cousin, Carol, who lives in Pennsylvania, I had something special to share at the reunion. Carol is the daughter of my mom’s youngest brother, Stanley and his wife, Betty. Aunt Betty was very involved in the family, researching genealogy and recording attendance at the reunions for many years.
Aunt Betty passed away two years ago, and in going through her belongings, Carol found the reunion “books”. And she contacted me to ask if I’d like to have them.
Although, as I mentioned, the tradition of the reunions began many years ago, apparently the idea to record attendance didn’t come about until 1979. These are the only books Carol found, and that’s the earliest date. Several years are recorded in each book.
Perhaps one of the more meaningful entries for me was this one from 1980. It was Marshall’s first reunion; he was 6 weeks old. How proud I was to write his name in the book.
My cousins enjoyed looking through the books, although it was bittersweet seeing the signatures of so many of our loved ones who have since passed on. It was amazing that, for each of us, our mother’s signature was the first thing we saw on a page.
Carol and I were messaging each other recently, and she mentioned how much work is involved in hosting the reunion. And I responded that that was true. As hosts, we provide hot dogs, condiments, beverages and paper products. And in addition to that, we of course, want the house, the garage and the yard all as tidy as can be.
I loved her reply:
“And honestly deep down, we all know it’s not the house we are there for …
it’s the roots.”
~These Days Of Mine~
Oh yes – it is “the roots”…..I know I’m not the only one who wishes she had some roots left to share those times with. So happy your reunion was a success but then it was bound to be when there’s family who WANT to keep traditions going.
I love that quote!!! Those journals are a part of some wonderful family history!!!
How wonderful that you are reviving the family reunions and the books from the past may inspire a new collection that will continue to grow.
There’s total heart and truth in Carol’s words. That’s words worthy of a wall plaque, hand embroidered or carved in wood.
It’s great your family started keeping journals. There’s such a bittersweet comfort in seeing the names and signatures of loved ones both present and past.
” It’s the roots..” love it … how true .. and all those early records – what a treasure to have !
Very true words – it’s the roots. I just loved your sweet post today!
Even though it’s a busy season for reunions, it’s so wonderful that there is renewed interest. The roots, how poignant!
This is a moving, loving tribute to family.Love your cousins quote
I think it is so great that your Aunt did and kept this the books. Priceless treasure.
I agree that it’s the ‘roots’ – and don’t we always remember them? Our reunions tend to get smaller also – for the same reason. I think the books of signature is a true treasure. There’s just something about seeing the signatures that’s always special to me. I love having recipes, cards, letters, and notes in my loved one’s own handwriting. Glad you’re keeping the tradition going with the reunion. That’s special for all. And I remember how full the yard next door would be every summer on THE day. We loved watching y’all arrive and hearing the excited voices. Made me smile!