Sunday, July 08, 2007
Australia - Day 5 - Family Reunion
Today was a day for warm fuzzies and good feelings.
We all gathered for lunch in the social room of the clubhouse at Auntie Edie's retirement village. All 35 of us. Everyone from the Melbourne area who was in town was there. They even released Stuart from the hospital for the afternoon to attend.
It's not quite the 50 people we had at the 1987 reunion, but we were also a smaller group of Americans than before, as last time my Grandpa was there, as were Uncle Don and his family.
Dinner was a potluck affair, with all sorts of casseroles, including one that Peter brought made with kangaroo meat. I diligently sampled from each one, with no room left for seconds (and no room left for dinner that night, either).
We talked. We gave toasts in each others honor. We encouraged everyone to make the journey to the U.S. and visit us. The Australians all encouraged us to come over more often as these are the only times that some of the Australians get to see each other.
Dave managed to talk more football with the men (and the women). My favorite question was to ask everyone what team they supported. With so many footy teams based in the Melbourne area, it wasn't unusual for couples to support different teams, and sometimes the kids supported yet a third. My nephews kept themselves out of trouble by playing pool with Ben much of the afternoon.
Soon it was time to take the family photos. And, amazingly, everyone cooperated. I think that the photo we took 20 years ago has been trotted out on so many family occasions, everyone was determined to look good in this one. When I mentioned how much I regretted wearing my hair braided in the old photo, my cousin Daniel returned with a "Yeah, well I was hugging a tree in the photo" (see below).
Nobody even complained much when Heather and I wrangled everyone for the generations photos.
Auntie Edie and Aunt Doris are the only two from my grandfather's generation. They are sisters in law, with Edie being my grandfather's sister, and Doris being his brother Keith's wife.
I've posted a photo of the first cousins from 20 years ago and one from this year. Twenty years ago, all 10 cousins were there for the photo. Unfortunately, there are three fewer people in that generation now, as my Dad, my Uncle Don and my cousin Ian all passed away at far too young an age.
In 1987 we also had all of the second cousins represented, but this year we're probably missing half the generation, as not everyone could travel from the U.S. and other parts of Australia.
The photo of the third cousins is even less complete, as Greg and Todd in the U.S. have children, as do Lisa, Sara, Justin and Jodie in Australia. (Did I miss anyone? Sorry if I did.)
Everyone agreed that 20 years was too long to wait for another reunion. Five years kept getting thrown around a lot. But there are a lot of people to wrangle for a reunion. It's difficult. We talked about maybe meeting half way in Hawaii some time.