Reunion Recollections

Readers recall fun-filled, unforgettable family reunions.

| July/August 2009

  • Bonnie the Goat
    BANISHING BONNIE THE GOAT: At a family reunion, John's dad's goat, Bonnie, leapt onto the picnic table and helped herself to the goodies.
    Brian Orr
  • Monroe family at Lovell reunion
    CELEBRATING FAMILY HISTORY: This photo shows James "Roe" Monroe (second row, right) and his wife, Ruth (second row, left), with their six children and son-in-law.
    Lucille - Dittmer, Missouri
  • 1960s theme reunion
    THEME REUNIONS HAVE BECOME TRADITION: This photo was taken the year our reunion theme was the 1960s.
    Mrs. N. Pocahontas, Iowa
  • Foster family reunion 2007
    PLAYFUL GET-TOGETHERS: Foster family reunion in 2007 at Bear Lodge in the Big Horn mountains.
    Helen - Sheridan, Wyoming
  • Friendly competition among aunts
    LET THE COMPETITION BEGIN: At her husband's family reunions, Mary says she looked forward to seeing his aunts compete with one another for the best dish.
    Brian Orr

  • Bonnie the Goat
  • Monroe family at Lovell reunion
  • 1960s theme reunion
  • Foster family reunion 2007
  • Friendly competition among aunts

For the Heart of the Home section for the July/August issue, we asked readers to share their memories of favorite, unique or unforgettable family reunions.


Cookbooks and Cemetery Tour

My paternal grandparents had 13 children. Many years ago, their eldest son suggested that the 46 grandchildren host a family reunion each year.

The early reunions were held at the home of the hosts, with everyone bringing a covered dish. During World War II, with the rationing of gasoline and tires, the meeting place was changed to a more central location. Over the years, our reunions have been held in many places, eventually being moved from parks to air-conditioned buildings.

In 1937, my uncle hosted a three-day gathering at his cabin near Hutchinson, Kansas. He arranged for a cook shack, which was manned by the Chamber of Commerce cooks, with a big iron dinner bell outside the door. A tent was set up for dining and sleeping. Entertainment included daytime croquet, horseshoe pitching, boating, swimming and fishing, with square dancing in the evenings.

We celebrated our 50th family reunion in 1984 at the ancestral home of our grandparents in Stafford County, Kansas – the same home in which the first reunion was organized in 1933. All but two of my grandparents’ 35 surviving grandchildren attended with their families – some 300 relatives in all. Cookbooks compiled from recipes collected at the previous year’s reunion were available for a small fee, and slides of old family photos were shown. In addition, we toured the nearby cemetery where many of our ancestors are buried.

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