Monday, May 4, 2009

Reunion time: a family re-unites!

I learned something over the last weekend: reunions can serve to unite and re-unite. You guessed it... I went to a family reunion.

I have 36 first cousins, 33 are on one side of the family: my mom's side.

A year ago, three of the cousins started organizing a family reunion: the first since 1991. Most of the Schmitz clan lives in north central Iowa, but some of us live in the Southwest. The Croxton Kids, Aunt Glennys' children, put together a long weekend at a dude ranch setting in Bumblebee, Arizona. About 40 miles north of Phoenix, at about 2,000 feet elevation, the ranch is set in a mountain valley surrounded by saguaro cacti, open range, and ancient Indian petroglyphs.

But the highlights were not in the surroundings, activities, accommodations, nor the setting: it was in the people. (People came from many places: Australia, California, Arizona, Minnesota, Colorado and Iowa.)

I caught up with cousins who I'd not seen in 35 years, or 20 years, or 1/2 year. I met the grown kids of some cousins, and grandkids of others.

It was enlightening, enlivening, and a bucket load of fun!

Because of a greater shared past, family reunions outshine school reunions. In the 1920's and 30's my grandparents had a brood of 12 children. Eleven are still alive, four showed up, along with a dozen or so cousins, and a dozen or so of their kids, and a half dozen of their kids' kids. Forty some of us were there. Some of us were reuniting, but some were uniting for the first time. We all share a bond of family that runs over 90 years back. It was special.

If you ever get the chance to attend a family reunion of your own, go. It's worth the effort and expense. Like the old song says, "Make new friends, but keep the old: one is silver and the other's gold."

I made some new friends. I reunited with some old friends. And the best part of it is... they are my family: silver and gold.


  1. If all of my family (both sides) got together, I'd run for cover... They hate one another.

  2. Pieces: Yeah, some families seem to have the motto, "War begins at home."

    When I was in my early teens, we had one Christmas week where we had three families in two houses with four sets of grandparents. Each of the eight cousins had both sets of grandparents there. (We all just got along.)

    At least for that week. ;-)

  3. I love family reunions as well Don, other than a couple of cousin's that I kind of avoid......they are still as mean as snakes like they were when we were kids, lol
    But getting together with famly that you don't get to see very often is priceless, no? We are bound together in so many ways and yet are so different. Amazing isn't it really?????......

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  4. I didn't know how good a family reunion could be until I attended this one. Kudos to the Croxton Clan for putting it together. "For a project to succeed, someone has to bleed." It was a great success due to the effort of the few. Thanks.