A couple weekends ago Michael and I flew down for the annual Starnes (Michael's moms side) family reunion. Lots of food and fellowship. They were a family of 7 kids. Their mom, Michael's grandmother played piano for the movies before the talkies. Her name was Mary. She named each of her children after famous people. Not sure about all of them but I know that Michael's mom, Betsy was named after Betsy Ross. She was the oldest. Then Tenney after Tennyson the author, Malcolm (not sure about that one) or the one they called "Daws". Then JoAnn, Lindy (after Charles Lindberg), and finally David Charles (not sure about him either although we call him Charley).
One became a school teacher, one a nurse, one was a gifted musician, and the rest did a variety of other occupations.
The three that are no longer alive. Michael's mom is the little girl Betsy.
Their life was very difficult. They were extremely poor and their father was abusive to not only the kids but the mother as well. Betsy left home at 14 to live with an aunt and her sister Lindy soon followed. Charlie was one of the few that escaped any abuse however he wasn't able to finish school past the 8th grade. Three have died, and the remaining 4 are married and have kids that have kids that Michael and I travel to see and spend a weekend with. All of them turned out fairly well considering their difficult childhoods and have made lives for themselves with loving families and grandchildren. This particular year they celebrated Tenney and Charlie's birthdays together at the reunion. It was so fun to see the camraderie and fun they had together that day. We all sang "Happy Birthday" and celebrated with cake and ice cream.
My two youngest kids drove down for the reunion as well which I found particularly nice. Our vacations never were as exciting as Disney World. Many times we would stop in to see relatives and take a day or two at the Dells but it was mostly raising them to understand and relish the importance of family and heritage that we hold. They played frisbee golf with Charley and they find Lindy particularly fun to be with since she is so much like their Grandma Betsy.
It is of particular enjoyment for me since they accept me into their fold just like I'm a blood relative. Better than Disney World, I think.