July 11, 2010

Sharing Memories (Week 32): Family Reunions!

This is Week 32 of our 52 weeks of Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey Journal. I hope you'll join us with your memories! Write them down - you don't have to share them. Your memories can be private - write them in a journal at home, or they can be shared publicly here on OliveTreeGenealogy Blog or on your own Blog.

Summer is the time for Family Reunions. Did you go to any as a child? I never did, but once I had my own family, I attended a few. Then I started my own which I hold every couple of years.

My first family reunion was actually with people I didn't know. I'd been researching my McGinnis family and found that my great-grandfather Alex had a brother Dan who had a falling out with family, moved away and changed his name to McInnes.

Dan's descendants had been holding family reunions every year since around 1930 and just recently they had found out that there were a whole slew of McGinnis' out there who were "cousins"! And so those of us descended from Alex were invited to the reunion. This was around 1984 or so, I can't recall the exact year. I didn't know a soul and I was the only one of Alex's descendants who went but I had a great time!

We had a pot luck meal in the backyard and a long assembly line of people passing the food from the kitchen to a huge table set up outside. It was so much fun and the food was yummy! Kids had games to play and everyone laughed and enjoyed themselves.

I only attended one more of those reunions (my husband was ill and after a long struggle with cancer he passed away so our lives were in turmoil for several years) but I enjoyed them.

I met new family who later came to visit at my home and with whom I kept in touch. The annual McInnes-Falconer reunion was held yesterday but I couldn't attend. Maybe next year!

At my reunions, I have a scavenger hunt which seems to be a big hit although last year several family members were stung by bees during the hunt! Ooops..... Good thing I have an Epi-Pen for my own allergies. It's always available just in case...

The year before, my niece broke her ankle during the Scavenger Hunt. But they won't hear of me not setting it up! We live on a farm so have lots of land for the hunt although I have very strict boundaries for everyone participating.

I like the hunt because it's a way for extended and distant relations to get to know everyone else. I have everyone choose a card when they arrive, and on that card is a picture (usually an animal). They have to find their matching animal card and the person holding it is their partner for the hunt!

We also have games - archery in the big field, horseshoes, and tons of kids games like croquet, lawn darts (not with the sharp dangerous darts!), and so on. One year we had a driving range in one field but all the golf balls were lost.

Hubby does a huge corn roast outside. We rented a corn roaster one year - it was super expensive and just a rusty bucket that we hung over a fire pit! So the next year we scrounged an old swing set and an old hot water heater. Hubby made a big pot out of the heater, and a holder for the pot on a chain out of the swing set frame. It works great!

Last year we made a big scoooper to get the cooked corn out of the boiling water. It's a big hit, the younger people like to husk the corn and help keep the fire going while it cooks.

I like to put up a long chart of the family's ancestry and of course my books on the family are out for all to look through.

It's lots of work but lots of fun too.

1 comment:

Flowers said...

We inherited several trunks full of very old photos and documents, letters, etc which had been passed down without being opened since the early 1900's. We are laboriously trying to get all the photos and letters archived and listed so others can use the info. But my heavens, it is both exciting and routine. I got excited at first at all the pre 1900 photos, now I don't even notice unless they are tin types or linotypes. I am enjoying doing our blog (http://antiquefamilyphotos.blogspot.com/) and having fun with some of the photos.

The thing that gets to me the most is that I now fit into the "antique" category instead of vintage. I started in nursing in 1960 as an aide; when I tell young nurses about how and what we did then (example: no disposables!) they often think I'm joshing, can't even conceive of such a time.

When my son was young, he said,"mom, I know you didn't have TV's when you were a kid, but you must have had computers. Ohhhhh!