How I Enjoyed My Family Reunion

Family Reunion

I've just returned from attending two family reunions. One took place in Deerfield, Florida, and the other in Athens, Georgia. I enjoyed both for different reasons.

I enjoyed the reunion in Florida largely because of two people. I will withhold their names, however they were dubbed the unofficial historians of the reunion. The young man whom I'll call "Chris" is only 28 years old at this writing, but he almost single handed made the affair enjoyable for most in attendance. His diligence in trying to connect the dots connected us in a way that has not been done in all the reunions that I've attended. Although I've not attended as many of the reunions as I would have liked,(since 1977), but the few that I've attended have paled in comparison to this one. Only because I've not gotten involved the way that I did this time. My involvement was proactively meeting and conversing with family members that I've never met. What a joy. (Let me add at this point, I understand that reunions that I didn't attend in the beginning could compare favorably to this one). I live in Southern California, and I met family members from as far away as New York, New Jersey, all over Pennsylvania and more. I now have more places to visit than Georgia and Florida, where a whole host of my relatives live.

An example of some of the relatives that I met were two sisters and their mother from Staten Island, N.Y. These three were beautiful in form and personality. They are world travelers, who's travels so far has covered parts of the four corners of the world. As a matter of fact their immediate plans include an Alaskan cruise. I horned in on their future plans and when I begin my new adventures, needless to say I'll write about them. I also met a wonderful young man whom I'll call "Chris," who we dubbed the unofficial family historian. He's 28 and so dedicated to the family, we can all take a lesson from his tenacity and determination in helping to tie our ancestral lines together. Oh yes and I met "Thelma," what a joy, I'm going to just call her to talk, or rather listen. She's another one that made attending more fun. Even though we didn't really call her a historian, she was full of useful information. And what personality!

I digress, back to the issue at hand. The lobby of the hotel is primarily where the reunion had the most impact on me and others, because it was there that the real reunion seemed to have taken place.

I'd like to explain why connecting the dots are so important. The African American experience has not been the same as most of the American population. By that I mean we don't have the same accurate records of our heritage, as perhaps others do. And finding our ancestral background in a lot of cases is next to impossible. So the best that most of us can do is go back as far as the end of slavery. Of course, some can trace their heritage back to the "motherland," as proven by the late author, Alex Haley(Roots). However, those of us that are not as fortunate have to do what we can to trace our ancestors. So when "Chris," presented us with a plethora of old photos in an effort to find out from whence we came, we "ate" them up. Not to mention the other unofficial historian, he filled in more of the holes. This is not to say that we completely connected all the dots, however we do know more now than we did when we embarked upon this quest.

An interesting experience was when my mother and her only remaining sibling, both being 83 & 86 years old, were presented with a photo of a young man with the same name as their father, they swore up one side and down the other that he was not their father. However when we found a photo of their father as an older man the resemblance was striking, and they both had to admit that it possibly was their father as a young man. What was amazing to me is that there are so many photos of individuals of the late 19th century and early 20th century. And because there are no names associated with the photos, we must rely on the older ones to give us what information they can, as to the the identities of these individuals, which is why family reunions are important. What a wonderful experience!

Reconnections

Not only did I meet heretofore unknown relatives, but I reconnected with some of the ones that I already know. I reconnected with my first cousins from Pittsburgh. The "crazy" (in a fun way), twins. Their two beautiful sisters and their mother the declared oldest living one of us all. The other set of twins, (guys), from another branch. These are people that I only see when I attend the reunions, and as stated, that's not too often.

I hope, in the future, there will be less new meetings and more of these reconnection's. Going forward, I do plan to attend more of the reunions.

The Second Reunion

I enjoyed the second reunion because of the pride I felt upon learning of the four brothers in one family that are physicians. Two Dentists, one surgeon, and one OB-GYN. (I only met three), they were not just a source of pride, but they are some of the most wonderful people you'll ever want to meet, with none of the pretentiousness that comes with having achieved such feats. Their families were just as wonderful. These four men are examples that should be used to show young people what you can in life with diligence, perseverance, and education, as opposed to the examples set by the entertainers of the world. (Another reason for family reunions). A little aside here, isn't it a shame that today's youth's prime example of what they can accomplish in life is propounded in the media as entertainers of any sort, athletes, badly performing reality stars, even worse music makers. Unfortunately most of these don't care how they look, in terms of their behaviour, to the public, as long as we support them, through our dollars, either through buying their products, attending their games and performances, etc. I'm just saying.


Conclusion

In conclusion, to say that I enjoyed my family reunions, was really an understatement, I utterly relished in them. So if you have not begun an annual or semi-annual celebration of family reunions.  My advice is that you begin one, for the simple reason that you never know what you might find out about members of your family. Anyone in the family can initiate it. As a matter of fact one of our semi-annual celebrations had it's inception, in 1977, and was started by my cousin who at the time of it's inception was only 29 years old, (Oops did I give away her age, LOL).

Personally I feel reunions are important, because they shine light on people, places and events that otherwise would largely go unnoticed or unknown in our individual families. I might also add we become acquainted with family members that we might never know.

So just to reiterate, if you're not currently associated with a reunion in your personal family, why not begin one yourself, it will forever change your life, in my opinion, for the better.  If you just don't know where to start, go to the Internet, there's numerous sites that can be of help. Whatever you do, don't pass up an opportunity to get to know your who you really are by way of where you come from.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Family Reunion Pic.  He caught this fish with his bare hands on the beach in FloridaMy mother and only living Aunt, (shorty is my mother),both mid 80's, and their twin nephewsMy mother and her sister and their other twin kin. The Florida ReunionOne of the oldest living relatives, my aunt Anna,and her daughters,  Anna, and Doris. The Florida reunionThe Picnic at the beach in FloridaFamily reunion in Florida on the beach.Florida reunion.Florida reunionFlorida reunionFlorida reunion
Family Reunion Pic.  He caught this fish with his bare hands on the beach in Florida
Family Reunion Pic. He caught this fish with his bare hands on the beach in Florida
My mother and only living Aunt, (shorty is my mother),both mid 80's, and their twin nephews
My mother and only living Aunt, (shorty is my mother),both mid 80's, and their twin nephews
My mother and her sister and their other twin kin. The Florida Reunion
My mother and her sister and their other twin kin. The Florida Reunion
One of the oldest living relatives, my aunt Anna,and her daughters,  Anna, and Doris. The Florida reunion
One of the oldest living relatives, my aunt Anna,and her daughters, Anna, and Doris. The Florida reunion
The Picnic at the beach in Florida
The Picnic at the beach in Florida
Family reunion in Florida on the beach.
Family reunion in Florida on the beach.
Florida reunion.
Florida reunion.
Florida reunion
Florida reunion
Florida reunion
Florida reunion
Florida reunion
Florida reunion

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Comments 34 comments

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

That was a wonderful read. It must have been really lovely. Thank you for sharing.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Hello, hello, you're the greatest. You are quick. Thanks for stopping as usual. See you soon.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

Hey Alfreta, I am so happy you were able to go to two family reunions. The internet may be many things but it has done wonders for connecting us. That indefinable key inside that lets us totally accept another simply because they are family is a key we all should learn to apply to the rest of the world. I'll leave one of my favorite quotes about the family:

"The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you." ~Kendall Hailey =:)


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Hey Winsome, I love the quote and totally agree. Thank you so much for stopping and taking the time to read and leave such a wonderful comment.


jasper420 6 years ago

Famliy events are always unconfortable for me thanks for the tips great hub


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks jasper420 for the comment. Because I naturally gregarious, I don't find such events uncomfortable, however I can understand your point of view. Thanks for stopping, please come back again soon.


ladylux profile image

ladylux 6 years ago

I'm like jasper420. My family thinks I'm a freak because I choose to do things differently (like what I eat and what I consider important to me). So being around too many of them at one time is uneasy. I envy people like you who can get along so well with family.


Dynamics 6 years ago

fastfreta, thanks for sharing. While I've not had an official family reunion, we are planning 2 (one on either side of my family) for Dec 2010 and summer 2011. After reading your post, I am really looking forward to them. It will be an opportunity to meet uncles, aunts, cousins who live in the UK, USA, Canada and other part of the Caribbean.

Thanks for sharing.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

Thanks for share this story. I believe it can unite all the families in warmth. Remembering the old memories, sharing together and spread the love with other family member. That's become a wonderful moment for us. Very inspiring hub. Vote up

Prasetio


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Ladylux, I don't consider you a freak, just different, we can't all be alike and that's a good thing.

Hurray for you Dynamics, I guarantee you will be pleased. Have fun!

Prasetio30 you're right it does add to the unification and reunification of families.

Thank you all for stopping, see you all again soon.


embee77 profile image

embee77 6 years ago

So that's where you've been, FF. What a great trip. Having so little information about your family heritage makes it all that much more important to connect with as many folks as you can find. My brother and I started a reunion for people on BOTH sides of our family 10 years ago when our parents had passed away. It's changed over the years with deaths and births. Everyone cherishes the time together, and we KNEW each other before. So glad for you. Thanks for sharing.


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 6 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thank you freta for sharing so an amazing story of your two grand reunions,I'm so glad you enjoyed them and meeting your new relatives. Godspeed. creativeone59


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Oh, love that O'Jays song. Thanks a million. Ah, the family reunions - love them. I used to do them during the summer and everyone brought a great dish. It was a lot of work but my children grew up loving this annual event.

Too bad that we are all spread out so far over the US - it is hard to see everyone. I'm glad you pointed out the successes in your family - that was always an inspiration for me to do better knowing that my family members were accomplishing great things - I had to make a contribution.

Wonderful hub. Thanks a million. Good to see you again - and rated up!


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Yeah embee, I've actually taken two vacations "back home," (Georgia), this summer, and the last one, my computer gave out on me. The worse part, I was there computerless for over 3 weeks. Oh occasionally I was able to spend a few minutes on a friend or family member's computers, but take my word for it, it was hard, LOL.

Thank you so much creativeone for stopping, and yes I did enjoy them immensely.

BkCreative, I'm sorry to hear about your family reunions, I hope you can revive them. You won't regret it.

Thank you all for stopping and taking the time to leave a comment. Please come back again.


dijay 6 years ago

I smiled all the way through. Families are wonderful. I look forward to your next family reunion.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks dijay for stopping, I agree families are wonderful.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, fastfreta, I would love to find out my family history and have a reunion, most of my family have gone now, and there is only me, my brother and my son, but we do know that there are others in Canada, and other places, this is a great idea, cheers nell


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks Nell Rose, I hope this hub encourages many more to take the step to begin to connect with their long lost family members.


TheListLady profile image

TheListLady 6 years ago from New York City

Love that song by the O'Jays. I am just catching up with family again and gatherings are here and there and we just have so much fun. I'm convinced that I am related to a least a million people. There are just so many and all over the US. Wow!

Great fun hub!


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California Author

I agree TheListLady they are fun. After attending the two reunions I feel the same about the number of my relatives. Thanks for stopping, see you again soon.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia

Thank you so much for writing this Fastfreta. I just recently attended my very first family reunion in my 33 years of life on this earth and I must say, it was a joy! I was never too fond of them (there tends to be much discord and disunity at the ones we have had previously), but your reminder at just how important they are makes me want to make more of an endeavor to attend more in the future.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Well thank you Veronica. I hope you will continue. This seems to have been the year for family reunions. Thanks for stopping, see you again soon.


masmasika 5 years ago

I love family reunions. I'm happy for you and I'm sure you really had a lovely time with your families. We celebrate two family reunions every year; one for my mother sides family and one for my father side. It is so exciting because you are able to meet all members of the clan. Great share and thanks.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you masmasika for stopping, taking the time to read and leave a wonderful comment. I'm very happy to see that your family has reunions, and I agree, it is exciting.


jessicab profile image

jessicab 5 years ago from Alabama

Great hub Fastfreta, my family hasn't had a family reunion in years and this hub makes me want to plan one.I haven't been on in awhile, trying to battle health problems but I am glad to be back on hubpages.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks jessicab, glad to see you back on hubpages. I hope things are okay with you. I'm glad this hub inspired you and I hope you do plan and execute a family reunion soon. Thanks again for stopping, hope to hear from you again soon.


justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

I've been to other folks' family reunions and really enjoyed them but my family reunions (my fathers side) were strange, kinda' clicky. Lately I've touched base with a few friends from 40 years ago and it really is just what life's about. Good friends are always good friends no matter how many years pass without speaking. Great hub, I'm glad you have that in your life. Peace!! Tom *** Love the O'Jays, I think it was 1975 when I saw them. "Some People Got to Have it, some people, really need it".


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks again Tom for stopping, you're great. See you again soon.


chinweike profile image

chinweike 5 years ago from Glasgow, UK

fastfreta, thanks for this captivating hub. We always hold our family reunion twice every year- May and December. I will however miss this years December family reunion as I am currently far away from home.

I will try as much as I can to Make it have an online presence as possible. An e-conference equipement maybe used depending on how pocket friendly it will be.

Its been long i heard from you.

Cheers!


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Great to hear from you too chinweike. What a novel approach to the family reunion, twice a year! You're right it has been a long time, we must check in with each other regularly. Thanks for stopping, see you soon.


chinweike profile image

chinweike 5 years ago from Glasgow, UK

You are right about that.


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 5 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Now I loved this hub. I played the Ojays song quite loud(I'm old school) and my writing partner came over to lay down on the floor to listen!lol.

Now I have to confess that the black family reunions are the best. My stepfather being black and 2 of my husbands. Being white, there is no comparison. The love and the food is beyond belief. I'm not discriminating against white people but there is a big difference in culture and I have to confess that I love the black culture for many reasons. Now we've had a few reunions Madeia style too but even those were fun. I love your pics and am so glad you had a great time. I'm jealous.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you so much Lisa, You're too kind, I did have lots of fun and always do. Thanks for stopping and taking the time to listen, read, and leave a comment. I'll be seeing you real soon.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 3 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks betty30 for stopping.

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