What is a family reunion? It is a genetically connected group of people who get together with spouses and children and extended family to celebrate their relationship.
My family has been trying to maintain our connection for years, especially after my Dad died suddenly two weeks after his 65th birthday in 1975. We realized how fragile life can be and that spending time together and being connected would take effort but one worth working on.
We had birthday celebrations for my mom’s birthdays, the occasional total family Thanksgiving etc. Having never lived near family as my Dad moved around with his job we were all very close. Once we became adults it was even easier since ages did not matter as much. No one was burdened with any one task because we all tried to be there for each other. And as my brother Milt showed us by returning to us letters we had written over the years we all worked as staying in touch.
Over the last ten years we have been getting together almost every summer to celebrate family. This year was no different. As I drove home I thought about what does it all mean? We spend about ten hours together on Saturday and a few on Sunday before heading for home. Those of us who arrived in town on Friday night went to dinner together.
Most of the conversation is pretty general catch up kind of talk. How’s the job going? What are the kids up to? How was that fabulous vacation? Etc. A group of us had decided ahead of time not to get into heavy political conversations or discussions about the family members not there unless it was our kids, two of whom were not there. For the most part we followed our own rules. My nephew Connor did make a toast that for me was a treat. One nephew and niece who were working were missed as well as those who decided not to attend for their own reasons.
I did learn some interesting things from my grandnephews in law who are great guys and one especially a deep thinker that I want to visit and learn more from. Listening to him was enlightening. Was happy to hear my dear nephew is finished with his dissertation. That has been a long road. And meeting and getting to know his brother’s girlfriend was a treat. I am so impressed by the jobs the younger women are engaged with. I don’t know if I ever could have had young children and a real career type job.
I had brought family trees for each of my nieces and nephews as well as treats for my nieces from my mom’s casual jewelry collection. They were received well and it made me happy. I also had packets of letters and cards they had sent to our Aunt Mary over the years which I felt they should have. Just like the letters Milt had brought for his siblings.
The weather this past weekend was scorching so most of us “older” folks spent a great deal of time inside the air conditioned house. The younger more fit folks, including my three brothers were down in the river with the kids swimming and making sure no one drowned as there was a swift current. We grand-dames chose not to participate. Just too hot. So we had great chats and solved the problems of the world all by ourselves.
It was just nice to spend time with family, eat good food and just be together. The lesson I learned from this weekend is that next year if we are there we will go early to the son’s house and be more rested for such a busy time. The 8.5 hour drive down on Friday and the 6.5 hour drive on Sunday was just too much for me. I did not have the stamina for it so was pretty tired all day Saturday and Monday was a crash day. And the other thing I learned was about the mutual respect we all have for each other. I know it is there but being together during such a terrible election year with no one taking anyone on for their choices was a great example of the love we have for each other.
And the nicest thing for me all weekend was a morning conversation I had with my darling daughter. It was special and makes me feel warm inside. The family reunion gave us that opportunity.
All in all to me Family Reunions are worth it. Even though short and sweet it still is time worth spending. I also try each year to go and visit my brothers. That way we can really catch up and spend some quality time together. After all at our ages who knows how many more years will we have? Might as well make the most of it. I know one of these days my kids will come along and take away my car….. no more free wheeling momma.
And because we are celebrating family here is more of Charles 1914 Diary
September 1914 – Norah O’Connor who he is speaking of is not my mother, she is the daughter of Daniel O’Connor’s brother Charles I believe. She lived down in Rochester and took care of her mother. Then at times he is talking about my mother…
Sept 1 – 3 – Not very well.
Sept 4 – Took Norah … to Annies.
Sept 5 – Took Norah to Gan visit Mike and Fergus.
Sept 6 Saturday – Came home in heavy rain. Creek too. (?)
Sept 7 – 8 – Ploughing.
Sept 9 weds – Fergus and Norah here. Margaret goes home with him.
Sept 10 – Went to Leadbeaters for spring wheat seed.
Sept 11 – sow wheat, cut buckwheat.
Sept 12 – 13 – Fine day. Madeline and I go to Mass. I tell Father Kehoe we must go to Prot. Funerals that he does not understand. My nerves are shaken because of speaking but in church like this he cannot understand, I am sure God does. He seems to see my point after he cools down. Anyway I had to speak out about this. (yeah Charles for doing the right thing)
Sept 14 – Mrs Burns very sick. They send for Fergus. Madeline goes over with him and keeps terpentine (?) soaked pads on her and she gets relief.
Sept 15 – Lyndhurst Fair. I was there all day. Emily and Madeline afternoon. Guy Curtis has good visit with us. Warm day.
Sept 16 weds – Fergus comes and brings brother Mike and Margaret. Got 1st prize on Daisy.
Sept 17 – Anthony Flood sick so Emily and I go up to see him. Mary Desmond home with us. Another hot day. Wonderful for September.
Sept 18 – – 19 – Working at buckwheat.
Sept 20 – Threshers here.270 bushels gain.
Sept 21 – John, Annie, Ellen and Mary Desmond here.
Sept 22 – 23– Big thunderstorm.
Sept 24– Big rain, cooler.
Sept 25 – Take Mary to station. Sorry to see her go.
Sept 26 – I go to Gan. Alex Argue goes with me. I get fruit – peaches, pears and grapes.
Sept 27 –Sunday – Arthur and Annie Slack here for dinner.
Sept 28 – Hard frost. Such a change in a week.
Sept 29-30 – Madeline and I to Delta Fair. Madeline stays with Darley as Anthony very sick.
October 1, 1914
Oct 1 – Started potato digging.
Oct 2 – Fergus and Frank here so we visited all day.
Oct 3 – Potato work.
Oct 7 – corn work. Charlotta Gilbert Johnson here and Emily has great visit with her.
Oct 10 – Finished potatoes.
Oct 11 – Quiet day. Sykes here.
Oct 12 – Thanksgiving Day. Fergus and all the family came for dinner. We have a very happy day as we love the children so very much.
Oct 13 – husked corn.
Oct 14- Emily and I go to see Allie D (Allan Donnelly) as he is sick. Have dinner there and tea at Nane’s.
Oct 15 – Took potatoes in to Fergus.
Oct 16 – Tinkering around barn.
Oct 18 – Mike Slack and Jim Dillon here for dinner.
Oct 19 – Go to Ellisville.
Oct 22 – Ploughing and bringing in pumpkins.
Oct 23 – Ploughed and then went to F Stearys sale.
Oct 24 – Mr. Browne and Mr. McLellan here wanting option on mine and right to mine the celestite mineral. We gave it for 1 year.
Oct 25 – Mrs Perry died yesterday. We will miss her red kerchief and “simony”. Ellen will miss her the most. She was always spoken of as “Old Mrs Perry” a real character.
Oct 26 – Emily, Ellen, Madeline and I go to Mrs Perry’s funeral after Emily and I got home from Mass.
Oct 27 – Cold rain day.
Oct 28 – Helped Philip Kelsey thresh.
Oct 29 – Put up winter stoves.20.00 an acre from Gray. John Sykes here for meals as she is away for a few days.
Oct 30 – Pulled turnips all day.
Oct 31 – Emily and I went to Mass today. Special one.