Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Family Reunions


When I was a child, we had family reunions of some sort every year of so.  Sometimes it was my grandmother’s birthday and other time it might be my great grandparent’s anniversary.  Those were favorite opportunities for my family to gather and enjoy each other’s company.  21 years ago, my great grandparents died within a few months of each other.  They had celebrated their 73rd Wedding Anniversary and had the satisfaction of their large and very close family.   Now…it is only the older family members who remember the great grandparents…and a new generation has been added. 

Family reunion from the 1950's.
When my great grandparents died, it was their dearest wish that we continue the family gatherings that we had enjoyed for so many years.  Some of the earliest family reunions occurred in the 1940’s as family members moved from Nebraska to Idaho.  Back then, my great grandmother still had young children as well as grandchildren as did many of her siblings who had moved out west.  These gatherings got bigger and bigger and finally the Gage clan split off to their own group.  Some of us still go to the Shawver reunions, but the Gage reunion is now a rather large gathering.  We held our first formal reunion back in 1991.  We gathered and camped at my great-uncle’s place up on Hatter Creek.  The children played together in the creek and rode their bikes all over the property.  For many, this was their first experience at camping and some lifelong connections were created among these young children.  Those children are now in their 20’s and some have children of their own.  Last summer we saw many of those children gather once again with the older generations to enjoy our family connections.

My great grandparents had 10 children – with my grandmother’s recent passing, there are now six surviving siblings.  The older generation has turned the reins of these reunions to the younger group ad we have added our own twist to things.  My memories of these reunions go back almost 40 years and now I sometimes feel that we have ghosts present - those members that have passed on but are still very much on our hearts and our minds.
 
Family gathering at Grandma's 80th birthday in 2001.
We will gather this coming weekend for a reunion of another mournful type.  My grandmother’s funeral will probably be a rather large affair.  Grandma Marion was well loved within the family and was beloved my many friends as well.  There will be cousins, siblings, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great great grandchildren and even an aunt of my grandmother will be present as well as many friends.  We will celebrate my grandmother’s life as well as celebrate our family’s closeness.  This is exactly the type of gathering that my grandmother would have enjoyed and appreciated…and I believe that as we gather – my grandmother will looking down with approval as well as all of the other family members who we miss and love.