Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

NC Family Reunions

Posted May 14, 2008

How many of you have attended a family reunion? What are your traditions? How do you make it an event appealing to both young and old? What are some of the more unusual things that have happened at previous reunions? Please share.

Christine Emhart came up with this blog idea in reflecting on a family reunion story from the mountains. She spoke of a friend’s family tradition where members spread blankets on cemetery grounds for a picnic after visiting and placing fresh flowers on family grave sites.

Do you have any famous cousins? How colorful characters have fallen off your family tree?

Tomorrow I will tell you about a long lost cousin from the mountains who helped solve a family mystery.


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  • Wheelman May 14, 2008

    Not to rain on anyone's parade or good times, but my parents dragged me to so many reunions when I was a kid that you couldn't get me to go to one if they were swapping dollars for nickles! Since I turned 18 and was on my own I've avoided my family, high school and college reunions. Anyone I've wanted to keep up with I've done it. I went to my wife's high school reunion twice. The first time they had an open bar and I found a couple of guys in my same situation and we availed ourselves of the refreshments. The second (and last) time was a bomb. The food at some of these reunions is another issue for me. It's digestive problems waiting to happen! I'm the cook in my family, and unless I've seen how clean you keep your kitchen, I am not eating your food. My wife thinks I'm nuts, but she's never had food poisoning. I've had it twice. Those of you who can't get enough of these things are welcome to go in my place the next time I get asked!

  • dejrfan May 14, 2008

    At one family reunion that I usually attend on my mother's side of the family, we had better arrive at the church fellowship hall by 12:30pm (whether you attend church at that church or not) because by 1pm everyone has eaten their lunch and are cleaning up and ready to go. One year we came in at about 12:45pm and all of the food was gone and they were already washing the dishes. It is kind of sad. When I was little I remember going to this same family reunion and everyone visiting and enjoying each others company. We would then go out to the cemetry behind the church and visit the graves of all our family memembers sharing memories of them. Now it seems that we just don't make time for those things. This is something that I wish my children would be able to experience.

  • battenclan09 May 14, 2008

    We would always have our family reunion on Thanksgiving Day, before my great-grandparents died. We would load up the car and go to Council (or Elizabethtown) to "Big Grandma's" house. The food would always be served in the old farm house that my grandma and even my dad was raised in. My great-uncle would always try to have my cousins and I try to catch lizards off of an old junk car and if we could catch one he would give us a dollar. Those pesky lizards were soooo fast! I found out from my father recently that my great grandmother is first-cousins with Charlie Daniels (country singer) mom. So I guess that makes him like my fifth or sixth cousin.

  • SwtSuthrnSass May 14, 2008

    My mama's family has a reunion the first Sunday in May in the church fellowship hall right after services. We soclalize and everyone brings some bodacious vittles. When I was young, us kids would scour the graveyard for Singletarys and ask how they were related to us. Our mama's would put flowers on granddaddy's grave and then my family and I would get in the car for that long car ride from Bladenboro to Norfolk.

  • Riverracer8 May 14, 2008

    There is no better food than family reunion food - and fortunately I have a reunion coming up on June 1! My most famous relative is Paul Green, who wrote the Lost Colony drama among many other things. The funniest thing that ever happened at one of our reunions is the day my aunt dropped her new digital camera down the porta-john. We hated to see her lose that new camera and all the pictures she had taken, but no way was anybody going in after it!

  • packandcanesfan May 14, 2008

    "Talk about colorful characters: My grandmother is related to the Allens, of Carroll County, Virginia, who shot up the Hillsville courthouse in 1912, killing five and wounding seven!

    Look up Floyd Allen on Wikipedia for more information. He was my grandmother's cousin."

    Brian remind me to never criticize your traffic report.. HA HA

    We don't have family reunions but I wish we did. With everybody being so busy, that is the only way to make sure family gets together.

  • fishnett5977 May 14, 2008

    Prayergirl - the Holmes reunion is in October too! Most family reunions are either spring or fall. Dont know why unless it has to do with the weather factor>

  • MaplesMom May 14, 2008

    Interesting.... look at all these family reunions in October!!!

  • fishnett5977 May 14, 2008

    My current husband and I went to my maternal Grandmother's family reunion - Holmes' of Benson - about 7 or 8 yrs ago. We always knew we were kin on the Stewart side of the family( my Mama was a Stewart and he IS a Stewart.) Well, at the Holmes reunion someone had put up a family tree they had made. On my way by it, I stopped to look at the names. Found my Grandma Stewart and a few others I remember as a child. Then I looked further down and there were McLambs, Blackmans,and Johnsons. I called my then fiance over and said "Aren't these names familiar to you?" And you know, we found out that day not only are we distant kin on my Mama's Stewart side but kin to each other on my Mama's Holmes side too!!! We laughed about it and we have great fun telling people how we are kin to each other!!! We get lots of jokes about if we have children together -which we dont! "Same tree, different branches!"

  • lovetheheels May 14, 2008

    On the first Sunday every October, the former members and decendents of Roberts Chapel United Methodist Church meet at Fletcher's Chapel UMC in Durham County. This church was disbanded and moved out of the Camp Butner area during World War II and even the graves were relocated to the cemetery in Stem. Most of these families are related to each other, but some were neighbors. They have become "family" as this reunion has now continued for 60 years and is among the highlights of our year. My mother simply wouldn't miss of our cousins, Mr. Page Roberts of Clarksville, Va. is a world-renowned auctioneer and we hold an auction of various donated items at the reunion to raise money to maintain the Stem cemetery, where my great-grandparents and many other relatives are buried. The church members didn't have the money to build another church, so they assimilated into other congregations in the Durham/Granville area.




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