Family Reunions

Do you do family reunions in your family?  Perhaps your family all live close by.  Every weekend is a family reunion 🙂  .  I envy you that.

MarylandI’m one of five kids.  I remember family vacations in Maryland as being a time when my mom would pack up the car and we’d drive to some state park and set up camp.  That was the extent of our vacation.  The parks might be a state or two away, but otherwise the scenery was the same.  (For those not familiar, the yellow picture is the State of Maryland.)

Once all of us kids grew up and got married, things were different.  We each settled in different parts of the country.  My oldest brother and his wife stayed in Maryland.  My second oldest brother lives in Rochester, NY, while my younger sister is in Florida.  I’m in Columbus, Ohio.  My youngest sister is a further south in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Every three years, we would have a family reunion so the brothers and sisters could reconnect.  The venueBethany Beachchanged as we took turns being “close” to the vacation site.  But after my oldest brother bought a beach house in Bethany Beach, Maryland – that became our new destination spot.  (Jeanne Adams’s family also goes to Bethany Beach on occasion.  How’s that for coincidence?)  I have great memories of those trips.  ( This, I believe, is a shot of the lifeguards at Bethany)

log cabinThis log cabin shot by is much like the cabin where my husband and I stayed our  first family .  We discovered we had forgotten to pack mosquito spray.  You could lie on the bed and hear them buzzing by your ears.  Unfortunately, we had neglected to pack bug spray for the trip – but we did pack spray deordorant and baby powder.  We sprayed the cabin with deodorant believeing this would make the wings of the mosquitos sticky.  Then we pumped baby powder into the air.  We thought the powder would settle on the mosquitos’ sticky wings and weight them down.  When they landed on the powder strewn floor we would stomp on them.  We stomped on a lot of bugs that night – moths, flies and, yes, mosquitos.  It was a sweet smelling victory 🙂 .

As kids came along we took them to the reunions so as to meet and form a relationship with their cousins.Alaska's Healing Waters  When my son was about three, he went along with my husband and the other men to go fishing.  My oldest brother had a boat and they all piled in.  However, they weren’t terribly far from the shore when someone noted that the boat was taking on water.  I understand that there’s a plug at the bottom of a boat to help it drain – well the plug was open or missing – not sure.  Everyone pitched in to bail water while my brother guided the boat in. The poor man hasn’t heard the last of that snafu.  In planning this reunion, his children said they would only go on a boat if my brother (their father) wasn’t in charge – citing the nefarious fishing expedition.  That was 27 years ago.  (If this image from was of that day, all the men would be baling 🙂 )

BransonThe reunion this year is in Branson Missouri.  I’ve never been there but I’ve heard the scenery is beautiful.  Come to think of it, the scenery has ALWAYS been beautiful when we go on these things.  And the S’mores are always tasty around a good campfire, and the laughter loud and good humored.  I can’t wait.

How about you?  Does your family do family vacations?  Have any good stories to share?  Tell you what.  I’ll bring a souvenir back from Branson for someone leaving a comment.  I can’t tell you what it is because I haven’t bought it yet 🙂  but it will have BRANSON emblazoned across the front of it.  So tell me your story and I’ll tell you mine when I come home.

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  • flchen1 says:

    We did enjoy a family reunion last summer that one of my cousins hosted–he lives in Washington state, along the Columbia, and it was such a fun time hanging out with my sibs and cousins and watching our kids play in the water. We’re going to be missing it this year, but maybe next summer, Donna! Have a great time in Branson–can’t wait to hear what you think!

    • Hi Fichen –

      I’ll have to let you know. It’ll be different going as a grand-aunt, so to speak. I’m really looking forward to seeing my brothers and sisters again. It’ll be fun watching our kids, “the cousins” with children of their own be in the same place that we were in so many years ago.

  • Jane says:

    Have fun in Branson, Donna. We haven’t traveled as a whole family since were small mostly due to our schedules, but I have been on vacation separately with my mom, dad and various cousins. I have a bunch of cousins living in Europe and Asia that I don’t see often and I have a couple in Australia that I haven’t met yet.

    • Jane –

      How cool to have cousins in Europe and Asia! Not to mention having cousins you’ve never met. I can’t imagine that. I saw my cousins on my father’s side many years ago at a grand wedding for one of my nieces. I haven’t seen my oldest brother since my mother’s funeral. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone again.

  • Mary Preston says:

    There are enough of us to populate a small country. We tend to all gather for big occasions rather then for a vacation

    I put baby powder on my skin at night to keep the bugs away. I feel it’s less toxic and most effective.

    • Hah! I knew it!

      We had the right idea but the wrong application :). I never realized that baby powder would have that ability. Your method sounds much better (and cleaner!)

  • Sandyg265 says:

    One of my cousins has talked about having a family reunion but we haven’t done it yet.

    • Sandy –

      It sounds silly now, but this reunion is about two or three years in the making. Everyone wanted to do it, but agreeing on a location was difficult. We have teachers who needed the date to be after school let out, and pregnant moms who couldn’t wait that long. We had family members who wanted to camp, and others who would need to fly in and weren’t about to pack all that camp stuff. We needed a spot where we could make campgrounds or hotel reservations. I think Branson is a test 🙂 Even now not everyone is going – but it’s a start!

  • Patty L. says:

    I actually live close to my brothers (2 younger) so every Sunday I host a dinner. This allows all of us to catch up and the cousins in play (they range in age from 19 -6 months). We actually just celebrated the 19 yr old and 2 yr old birthdays yesterday. We have a family reunion with my aunts, uncles, cousins every three to five years so we stay in touch. Family is everything and that was made even more apparent when my dad passed last year.

    • Patty –

      Hugs on the lost of your father, that hurts the heart, I know.

      You’re so lucky to have family so near at hand. I recall my brothers and sisters seemed to scatter (myself included) as soon as they graduated college, or married. Both of my adult children have settled in the city in which they grew up so hopefully they’ll maintain a similar closeness once we’re gone. This would be one of those 3-5 year reunions you mentioned. Maintaining those are important as well, I think. I hope we do.

  • Caren Crane says:

    Donna, I envy your family reunion vacations! I adore my siblings and nieces and nephew and so wish we all had the time and resources to do that. The closest we get are holidays where we pile up at my mom’s house. Always the most fun ever!

    When I was a kid, both my mother’s and my father’s families had big reunions each year. I really miss those, but all the folks who organized them have died and everyone is scattered throughout the country now. I wish someone would take that on, but it won’t be me!

    • Caren – As I mentioned above, this one was a long time in the making. Like you, my nieces and nephews are scattered on both coasts. Right now, one nephew and family are in Germany (military family). It took one energetic niece to get everything rolling. Like you – it wasn’t going to be me, LOL. But I’m glad she did. Lots of memories to be made.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Donna

    Oh they sound wonderful and sadly we don’t have them although now that we are all older and do live further apart we do have a reunion one day during the year where all who can go to one persons place and have a great day together and I do look forward to these days but a holiday together would be even better 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Hi Helen –

      Hey, one day is better than no days together! Besides you have your grandchildren and get to spend lots of time with them. These days I only see my brothers and sisters at weddings (and those are few these days) or when one is passing through town on their way to visit their kids. I can see where these reunions will be more and more precious – so I plan to relish the time we get to spend together.

  • Your family reunions sound lovely. (In spite of the mosquitoes!) My Dad was a Pennsylvania Yankee and my Mom is an Alabama Native American Southern Belle.

    When we were kids we would drive straight through (a 24 hour trip with few bathroom breaks!) to Pennsylvania and stay with my Nana. This would be an occasion for a family reunion as the rest of Dad’s family lived in Pennsylvania. The reunion was usually around the 4th of July and would signal the end of our annual vacation. It wasn’t planned that way, but when a bunch of hard drinking Welshmen and Welshwomen and their families get together the food will be great, the fun with my cousins was non-stop and at some point someone would get into a knock-down drag-out fight. My father didn’t touch a drop of alcohol once he married my Mom (She grew up with a Cherokee alcoholic father.) But his brothers, sisters and in-laws took no such vow. The police were never called – mostly because my Nana was one tough dame and she generally broke up the fight quite handily and sent everyone home. Only one of my father’s six siblings is still alive and we haven’t gone up there in years, but I have reconnected with my cousins via Facebook and we love staying in touch.

    My Mom’s family has a reunion in April every year. There were nine kids in my Mom’s family. Now it is just Mom and her baby brother. But cousins and second cousins come from all over Alabama and Florida for the reunion. My Mom grew up on a sharecropping farm in Alabama. When she and her brothers were grown they got together and bought the farmhouse and ten acres of land from the farm where they grew up and gave it to their mother. My second cousin and her family inherited the house from my mother’s brother, Shannon, and they have done an amazing job of restoring and expanding the house. The reunion is held there and involves a great deal of food, teasing, photo-taking and LOTS of iced tea and RC Cola.

    • Louisa –

      My family is a mix of Irish and German – and we can be hard drinkers as well, though no fights have broken out as yet. All aggression is taken out on the golf course 🙂

      Isn’t Facebook great for keeping up with relatives! I love that aspect of it. Right now, we’re watching the weather. I checked a 10 day forecast and it says flooding is possible in South-Western Missouri – which is right where Branson is. Always something to add drama. 🙂