Week 28: Reunion

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In thinking about this week’s topic, Reunion, I was reminded of two family reunions: one formal, the other informal.

My grandparents, Melvin Zobel and Ervina Thomas, were married in 1940. For their 50th wedding anniversary, we held an “open house” type reunion down in California, where all the siblings, nieces/nephews, cousins, etc. were all invited. My family came down from Idaho, and although I was only 12, it was an eye-opening experience for me.

My first cousins were there, of course, and my aunts and uncles. But it was meeting all the other Zobel relations (and studying the descendant chart my aunt drew up) that really hit home with me. I was related to these people! We shared blood and a common heritage. Who are they?

10 years later, it’s my turn to be married. The family decided to skip a 60th wedding anniversary get-together on the actual anniversary, and delayed it a month so that everyone could attend my wedding. I was married in the morning, and after the reception we all went to the park for an informal party with just the close family.

It was so special to have all my aunts, uncles, cousins for my wedding since we’re all scattered across the country and it wasn’t likely they’d all be there otherwise. I got the benefit of that decision!

One special note: Grandma wanted the song “Always” by Irving Berlin sung at her wedding, but the accompanist didn’t know it. For her 50th anniversary, I learned to play it on the piano and played it for her at the event. For her 60th anniversary, we had a friend sing it during our reception in her honor. Even now, that song has special memories for me and I tear up a little when I hear it.

The photo above shows my grandparents in 1940 at their wedding, and in 2000 at mine.

1 Comment

  1. I love the way you wrote about the joy of family reunions, no matter the style. I totally agree with the sentiment. My husband and I used to host an annual reunion at our country place in Northern California because it was half-way between the Oregon and Bay Area family members. The women would sit around and catch up with family news and the men would play horseshoes or table tennis. It was great. Another type of reunion is a funeral. Of course it is sad, but not long ago I attended a distant cousin’s funeral and at the reception connected with very elderly relations that I hadn’t seen since I was a teen. We were all so delighted to have an opportunity to see each other again. I was very glad I went. My advice: don’t skip going to weddings or funerals — or high school reunions.

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