More Reunion Recollections

More stories from readers about their special family reunions.

| July/August 2009


KANSAS-THEMED REUNION A HIT: The outhouse at Lyla's mother's farmhouse was a hit with the family members from the city. Bryngelson

Kansas-Themed Reunion a Hit

At the age of 82, my mother decided we should have my dad’s family reunion at the old homestead, which had belonged to my grandparents upon coming to Kansas in 1899. My dad had passed away years before, but Mother stayed on the farm until she died at 93.

Mother came up with some great ideas, and everyone helped make them happen.

While planning the reunion, Mom said, “Oh, I wish we still had the Roosevelt memorial. We’ll need another restroom with all those people.” Mom was referring to the old outhouse we’d had, so my brother, who had recently bought a place with an old outhouse still standing, brought it over and put it out back. Mom was pleased and had the guys shingle it with her collection of old license plates. On the side of it, in big letters, Mom wrote, “Best little outhouse in Kansas.”

Mom also decided we should have a theme for the reunion, and since we were in Kansas, we went with “The Wizard of Oz.” The grandchildren painted blocks of wood bright yellow and placed them from the back door of the house to the old outhouse to serve as the yellow brick road, complete with signs. Along the way, in the mulberry bush, was a stuffed scarecrow hanging in the branches. A little further was some old metal with a funnel on top to represent the remainder of the tin man. Next was a piece of rope with the end frayed, sticking up out of the ground – the remains of the cowardly lion. Just beyond the outhouse was a small pile of wood, under which we placed a stuffed pair of pantyhose with red slippers sticking out – all that was left of the Wicked Witch after the tornado.

On Saturday, the first day of the two-day affair, we met in town at the community center, where the tables were decorated with wild sunflowers picked from the roadside and placed in my grandmother’s old canning jars. After a buffet dinner, everyone drove out to the farm to visit, take photos and wander around the farm. Everyone loved the theme at the farm, and the outhouse was an especially big hit with the city folks and the younger generation.

Sunday afternoon we had an old-fashioned wiener roast, complete with lawn chairs and hay bales for seating. Late in the afternoon, everyone moved their chairs to the front of the garage where we had made a “stage,” and my sister as Dorothy, along with several of the grandchildren, performed a skit called “The Way-Out Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” It was great. The scarecrow wanted a grooming kit so he could get a job, the lion was actually a lioness who wanted equal rights for women, the tin man was plastic and wanted a battery pack, and the wizard had a broken wand and couldn’t remember anything. It was a hit, and several family members caught it on film.

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