Tuesday, October 2, 2007

All In The Family

Last week I travelled to my hometown of Milwaukee to attend a family reunion. This was sort of a new thing for us. Other than funerals and weddings, the last time we all got together was 40 years ago--Cousin Jim's farewell before joining the Marines and also to show the movies and slides of our multi-family trip to Expo67 in Montreal--an event we still talk about.

This group is my dad's branch of the family tree. Gramma and Grampa had four kids, and those kids produced 22 kids (two of the families had eight kids each!)....after that, I stop counting. So, yeah, there are a lot of us. A good Catholic family.

Sadly, in the last year we lost two cousins very suddenly. And an aunt. The year before, it was my mom. After the last funeral, someone had the brilliant idea to have a party to celebrate just us being a family. A time we could all be together under happier circumstances. All summer long, the emails were flying across the country....where should it be?, what should we eat?, t-shirts, bumperstickers, budgets. Should we rent Port-a-Potties? What should the theme be? (Some one offered "big mouths, big hearts, big noses...and no ass").

We also had some "guests of honor" attend all the way from Montreal, Quebec. Our "northern" cousin has been organizing reunions for the whole North American branch of our family for about 35 years or so. They happen every four years in Sorel, Quebec. It is always a good time and I love meeting all the distant relatives and learning about our family's origins. It was really special to have him and his wife attend our party here.

The party was an incredible success. The weather was perfect. I think we had 100 people there. Only one first cousin couldn't make it and just a few second cousins were absent. It was just so awesome to be around the family....the amount of love there was like another dimension...unbelievable! At times like this, I really start to question my sanity on why I don't live closer. The next party is already being planned--I can't wait! Also, 2008 will be another trip to Sorel.

The Ancestors were mostly lumberjacks (and they were OK!) in northern Wisconsin. As a young bride, my gramma was a cook in a logging camp. No wonder she could cook so well.

It wouldn't be a party without some sausages!

In addition to the awesome-est garage, Cousin Doug has a very nice collection of crucifixes. You never know when an army of vampires will show up.

Cousin Ally made some wonderful cookies. I think she said she used Gramma's recipe.

My contribution was a "Los Muertoes" altar. I made the table cover and set it up. Guests brought photos and mementoes of those who have passed on.

Just a few of the nationalities we represent.


Wandering Chopsticks said...

Oh, I really liked this post! I imagine once I and my cousins get older and start families, we'll have to come up with a reunion just to see each other as well.

Mimi said...

Thank you for your nice e-mail of two weeks ago! I am so sorry I am so late getting back to you and visiting your blog. Love the title!

My Pepere was a lumber camp cook, too. He was my great-grandfather, and although he died in the 1940s, I feel as if I know him.