Sunday, October 6, 2013

"We are Family..."

Yesterday, I celebrated another anniversary of the day I was born. I have always enjoyed my birthday. Starting with my parents, my celebrations have always been about having fun and enjoying my day with the people I love, doing things I love. This year was another such celebration.

My mother's father with his siblings and his parents.
My grandparents on their wedding day.
My mother's paternal family gets together every two years for a reunion. This year, it fell on my birthday...woohoo! The reunion hosts change every year, following a specific pattern. That is, it follows succeeding birth order of my Grandpa's siblings. This year, it fell to my mom's siblings. My mother, (and Haime and I and one of my sisters and her husband), are still members of the same parish that my grandparents were members of (and actually where they were married). So, like good German-Catholics, (no not all Germans are Lutheran, LOL!) we rented the parish hall for the reunion. (Hmmmm...just a thought here, for those of you who, like me were raised on a healthy dose of "Catholic-guilt," do you think it stems from being of German descent and not following Martin Luther? just a thought...) with all of our parties, we had tons of food and as each family arrived, the food table only became more and more laden...(at one point, I thought I heard creaking...). 

My grandfather had 11 siblings. The eldest, Anna died in infancy. As we began to talk about each of the other siblings (our grandparents, aunts and uncles), it was interesting to me that Anna died more than a century before some of her brothers and sisters. (Yes, I know she died as an infant but imagine what happened during that span of years for her remaining sibs...Anna died in the 1890s and the last of her sibs died in 2001!) As I look through some of the old family photos, I just can't help but be amazed in the changes that took place during the life-span of these wonderful people. They saw incredible advances in technology and in industry, they saw war, famine, drought, peace, celebrations of life, and prosperity. They were raised as farmers who learned the value of hard work and of caring for the land; and they became caring, thoughtful, loving adults who never lost their values of God, family, and hard work. AND, they passed these traits on to succeeding generations...

We opened the reunion with a candle lighting ceremony to honor those who have gone to our Father's home. Here is Kathy who is lighting a candle to represent her dad...the youngest of the siblings.

Mary Louise, Joan and Mary Ann
Cole, Debbie, Dana and Eric
  Frank, Leonard, Joe and David

The "first cousins" that made the reunion this year.

Frank, Lance and Denise

Our youngest attendee
Cole, Gene, Annette, Joan
Frank and Leonard
Joan, Annette, Fr. Dennis and Ruth                                              Joan, Sarah and Kathy

Tom (walking in the background) Mike, Eric and Ruth
Unfortunately, most of us were too busy "gabbing" and catching up to remember to take pictures so I'm not able to share pics of all the attendees. I promise to do better at the next reunion, I can only confess that I was having a wonderful time exchanging stories, (one of my favorite things to do), and visiting with some of the most interesting people on the planet. Thanks everyone who attended and we missed those of you who were not able to attend, we hope to see you in 2015.


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