This week end I had the pleasure of attending a family reunion. This was the one being held for the Benton side of my family. It began in the days when my mother and her sisters and brother were all still with us. They looked so very forward to this event as on a designated day and at a designated place they would get to see as much of their large family as was possible.
My mom and all her brothers and sisters are gone and have been for a good while now. The fact that we still carry on the tradition is in large part just that, carrying on a tradition. No one member wants say our number of attendees might be getting thinner. There were nineteen grandchildren from our generation and sadly our number has thinned to a point that it shows. Those in attendance come with the spirit a reunion is meant to have. To be happy to see each other and to want to know what is happening in everyone else’s families. A reunion is a huge swap meet of information and great tasting food. There is something that will never change.
I feel that after my generation the following generations are staying in touch as much as they want or feel is needed electronically. That is through no fault of any of us. It is just the way the world spins these days. By no means does this mean we are stopping as the date for next year’s reunion has already been set and rest assured we (if the god lord allows ) will be there with broad smiles and awesome foods.
I have been thinking on this for a while and on the other side of the family which would have been my dad’s faithfully held reunions on the fourth of July as this was the day my grandpa and his brother Archie were both born. So it seemed only fitting to hold it then. Uncle Archie passed away in the 1930’s and my grandpa passed in 1960. The reunions carried on until about 1970 and since the reason was gone so was the desire I guess and they stopped. It was about then that the Benton reunion began and this probably was great timing. The Houser’s’ tried to start them back up a couple or three times but they would run about three years at best and the thought would fade.
Now of course my parents have been gone a good while and as a matter of fact so have my sister and brother. Please let me tell you that when your immediate family is gone the desire for reunion went away. However these days getting back together with family and old friends has become a thing I look more and more forward to. I want my last remembrance of someone to be having a happy conversation with them instead of me wearing morning clothes.
The past few years my cousin Eddie Hetterick and his wife Diana have hosted a fourth of July gathering that for all intents and purposes has become the Hetterick reunion.(my dad’s sister married Charles Hetterick and she was a Houser.) To my good fortune I am invited each year to a grand day. These two are awesome hosts and if you don’t feel at home there you ain’t never gonna feel at home anywhere. Also Eddie and his two sisters and three brothers will keep you entertained with stories that go way back or even just recent.
I will give Diana the credit on this part as the food for the day is never-ending and at this moment causing my mouth to water. Now this reunion is fairly new and begins two generations later so the enthusiasm will run for a good while. It is truly impossible to compare the two family gatherings. As one is established and holding on strong to a continued reunion. Where the one At Eddies’ is only really beginning. The one thing both have in common is the love of their family. That just can’t be taken away.
One thing I feel I see these days are reunions are disappearing. Families are smaller and the members live further away. Also as I mentioned you are only a text away. Why heck you can put it on Facebook and bam you have informed the entire family. (And a whole lot of strangers also.) There is skype, tweet, Instagram etc… As to these I only know their names not how to use them. I think you get my drift though. The one thing that modern electronics can’t capture is the love of family.
Our world has become so busy and cluttered with more steps we must take in a day and these are only to simplify the days for us. (Yea Sure) I have spent my life being a people watcher so a reunion is a perfect spot for me to find a chair with a good location and study my family. It can be so interesting to see who got whose features or just how they carry their selves. Also you can spot a non-relative in less than a minute and then the fun is seeing just who they arrived with. Once you figure this out you can find a close member to that part of the family and learn more about the stranger. There is just no way can an electronic device take in what you the individual takes in at a gathering.
I really don’t know how the first family reunions began but they have been around as long as we have occupied America. In those days families lived very close in relation to each other so it made it easier to gather. An observation I have noticed over the past thirty years is in the summer months I will pick up a “peoples Defender” and see little ads that have been taken out informing all when their family reunion would be held. Not just one ad but I feel way over a dozen different families post it to the folks in Adams County. So it might be in the city areas reunions might be becoming less but this is still the way it is out in Adams County.
Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. If you are interested in reading more of his stories they can be found in his books ‘There are Places to Remember” and’ Memories ARE from the Heart.” He may be reached at email@example.com.