This past weekend my family and I attended a family reunion and we had so much fun! The last time I went to a family reunion was when I was about ten years old and the only thing I remember was riding on a boat in a lake, which is a typical memory for a kid at an event like that. This time around I heard a lot stories and met so many amazing people. I am very fortunate to have the ability to track down my heritage, through living people and photos, back four generations. How cool is that!?
We started out the weekend by driving up to Statesboro, GA.
On our way up we stopped for brunch at the Maple Street Biscuit Company in Jacksonville, Fl. It was so delicious! After a few more hours on the road, we finally made it to our central meeting place of Statesboro, GA. Once we got settled in, we mingled with family members, made introductions, and shared a few stories. Introducing distant relatives is always fun because you have to explain the relation and that in and of itself it a complex word problem. Shortly after that we all made our way to great great aunt Eloise. She is the sweetest lady and I am so thankful Charlotte got to meet her. I know Charlotte will not remember the meeting but to have photos of them meeting for the first time is pretty special.
Once our visit with Eloise was complete, we headed over to great great grandpa and grandma’s (Jacob & Isabelle Reardon, the two that started this crazy family 😉 ) house. To be able to walk into a family home that has been passed down from generation to generation is an amazing notion. So many families move a lot more than their ancestors used to, those sorts of “heirlooms” no longer exist. I had the pleasure of bringing back a portion of a rose-bush that was planted when the house was built! A little piece of Reardon history will now be a part of my home.
We then made a stop at Eloise’s house. I remember going to her home when I was about thirteen and the home looked like something you would see in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. Never in my life had I been inside a home like that and it was incredible. It meant so much to me to have that experience and be surrounded by family. While there, my third cousin let us bring home a piece of her Cherokee Cotton Rose bush. Again, it is such a privilege to be able to take a piece of history back home!
Once our stop there was complete, which was after a lovely conversation and sweet hospitality from my third cousin, we paid our respects at the grave site of relatives that are no longer with us. Most of the relatives we saw at the cemetery I did not get the chance to meet but that does not mean I should not see where their earthly bodies rest. It is very important to show younger generations the significance of knowing and appreciating those who came before you.
Next stop– dinner with the family! Now, if you have never experience south Georgia people you are missing out. I tried to explain to my husband, who is from Augusta, GA, that this would be unlike anything he had ever experienced. South Georgia and its people are in a world of their own. And I mean that in the best way possible! We started with a “bingo” type game, which was designed to get you to walk around and talk to as many relatives as possible…and it worked! More stories were shared, door prizes were awarded, and many laughs were had. I found out that Ethel Murray (my great-grandmother) made a wedding dress just from walking into a bridal shop, looking at an existing wedding gown, went back to her sewing room and recreated it from memory. On top of that being an amazing gift, it fit like a glove when my second cousin tried it on the day before her wedding day. WHAT!?! That takes talent!
The following day we said our goodbyes and took a few more pictures. I love that I have relatives who made an enormous effort to put this reunion together. Without them I do not think I would have ever meet my distant cousins, heard the story about the wedding dress, or received a piece of an almost 100-year-old rose-bush. I would have missed it all. I am very blessed to have such wonderful relatives who truly value family. It is so important to know where your family has come from because I believe it helps navigate you to where you want to go.