Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Family Reunion From A Child's Perspective ...

For this upcoming edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, I am supposed to write about family reunions. I have only been to one family reunion so far in my life, and as I do not know about any other family reunions in my family before my time, I'll write about the one I attended.

I was eight years old when I attended the reunion with my mom, brother and paternal grandparents, and in addition to my immediate family, my great-uncle and great-aunt also attended the reunion. They, of course, drove separate from us. The reunion was in Pennsylvania, and my grandfather drove the van we had at the time. (I don't know where exactly it was in Pennsylvania except that it was pretty close to the border with New York.) My dad did not accompany us to reunion because he had to work. I do remember the drive to the reunion, but I don't remember if I saw any road signs. All I knew was that the family reunion was on my grandma's side of the family.

The hotel where the reunion was held (and where we stayed) had, from what I remember, an Irish theme. I can't remember the name, but I can still recall what the place looked like. (Of course, I also took pictures, so that is probably why I remember so much about the place.) Outside of the family members I mentioned above, I did not know anyone else there at the reunion, and I don't really recall interacting with the other people at the reunion. What I do remember was that the reunion was in late October, and was primarily a weekend event. I might have had to miss a day or two of school, but the reunion wasn't very long. Towards the end of the reunion, there was a little trick-or-treat event set up for the children, and I remember wearing the costume I had that year for Halloween. Unfortunately, my brother and I missed most of the event, but our mom took pictures of us in our costumes.

Since I really did not know anyone, I think I hung around my family most of the time, although I do remember wandering around a little bit. (Unfortunately, I don't remember everything.) I did leave the hotel a couple of times, but only with other family members. One of the outings from the hotel was with my grandparents, and I remember we drove across the boarder into New York to buy lotto tickets. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a park (probably a state park) and walked through the park. I think we originally stopped to see a waterfall, because I remember walking to the waterfall in the park. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the park or the waterfall. At one time I did have some information on the park and the waterfall, but the information was thrown out years ago before I had a chance to really look at it.

The second outing that I remember was to a restaurant, and the restaurant was in an old, white house. I don't remember the food at the place, but I do remember the Halloween decorations that were set up behind the building since I took many pictures of them. (I think I drove my mom nuts with all the pictures I took, but mostly I remember being fascinated with the decorations. Of course, as a kid, I was into Halloween, so it was hard for me to ignore.)

Outside of the events above, I don't remember too much more. I do remember that there was a group picture taken of everyone because my grandma held up a copy of the Livonia Observer, so that the picture would end up in the newspaper. The picture was eventually printed in the newspaper, but it wasn't put into the newspaper until some months later. (A classmate happened to see the picture and mentioned it to the class. At the time, we were supposed to pick articles out of the newspaper, and she happened to notice my name in the picture. Of course, I didn't know until then that the picture had been printed.) After it was printed, I cut-out the image, and I still have it in a scrapbook.

Before the reunion ended, I think every family member received a mug and plastic cup with the name and year of the reunion because we brought home a few of them. Of course, I don't know for sure, the mugs are probably the only mementos (besides the photographs) my family still has from the reunion. (My grandma did receive some information on her family, but I wasn't with her at the time so I can't say when during the reunion she received it.)

So, as you can see, most of my memories of the family reunion are random. Of course, I was really young at the time, so I did not know what was going on other than what I saw or heard. As for whether or not I would ever attend another family reunion, I probably would since I had a fairly positive experience with the one I attended. I just only wished I understood better what was going on at the time.

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