Sunday, July 08, 2007


Yearly Family Picnic

Saturday, July 7th, we held our Large Family yearly picnic at the farmhouse which once belonged to my Father`s parents. This old farmhouse has been an important place all thru our childhood. Both my grandparents passed away long before I was born, My father had married my mother and was given some land a short distance from the farmhouse. This land was where I grew up. I`m not sure which of my Aunts and Uncles first moved in, but think it was my Uncle Art and his wife. His wife died in childbirth and one of my father`s sister`s had lost her husband, so this sister moved back to the farmhouse to help care for her brother`s newborn baby. Another brother also lost his wife and moved back into the huge farmhouse with his brother and sister and niece. This brother had lost a son from a car accident when he was young and his daughter had married, so he was now alone. This all happened before i was old enough to remember. So, I had two Uncles and one Aunt living in the homeplace while I was growing up. we all spent a lot of time at that farmhouse. My first ride on a horse was there as onbe of my Uncles owned horses an d a cow, the other uncle raised pigs and the Aunt raised chickens and grew her vegitable garden and her berry places. The uncle with the horses raised other garden items such as potatoes, watermellon, muskmellons, and cared for his apple trees. So, between the three of them they provided a lot of their own fooed and meat.
This baby was years before I was born and she later bacame my third grade school teacher and also my piano Music teacher as I grew older. My parents never had the money to pay for piano lessons, so my older cousin made an agreement with me that for free lessons I would help clean her home. She told me she would like to give me the free lessons for nothing, but then every family member would have the right to ask the same favor for their kids and soon she wouldn`t have time left for doing her teaching business with her paying pupils. I certainly could understand that. So, every Saturday I would ride my sister`s bike to their home and clean while she was teaching her pupils and when they were thru, she would spend at least an hour teaching me to play. So, today when I play on my organ, I actually have this cousin to thank. Years later this cousin also died like her mother- in childbirth having her third child.

This same farmhouse is where I was living when my twins were born and also where my oldest daughter ( age 2 at the time) and my step daughter ( age7) were badly burnt from the older one finding a hidden bottle that was missed when we cleaned out the stantial house where all the harnesses, saddles and other horse equipment had been kept. This bottle contained mercuric acid and battery acid combined that was used to de-horn bulls years before. When we moved into the farmhouse the two Uncles had already passed away and the Aunt had temporarily moved into the nieces home to care for her three children. so, first she gave up her life to care for her brother`s baby, and later to care for the children of this same niece. She was the closest any of them had for a mother until their father finally re-married a wonderful woman who was so much like our cousin ( his wife). After we moved out of the farm house and into the home we built, my younger brother moved into the farmhouse for a couple years, next , one of my younger sisters spent a short time living there. Today it is owned by my oldest brother. So, we have always kept the farm property in the family. We have held the large family reunion at this farm every since my Father passed away back in 1975. My Mother once mentioned to me that she wished they had continued to hold the re-union at her home, but the oldest brother and his wife actually thought they were helping my mother by moving the picnic to their larger area. My mother never once told them what she had told me and she wouldn`t have wanted me to say anything, so I kept her wishes to myself to please her. To this day i often wonder if she would realy have minded that much if I had told them she wanted to move the picnic back into her yard. Of course the family got a lot larger over those years and the larger property did come in handy. Lost our mother in 1995, 20 years after my Dad and the picnics have continued at the farmhouse every since.

For years the family just kept getting larger until we must have had close to 200 attending, the we started losing the older members faster than we were adding on newer children and as the years went by we had less and less attending. This year a lot of the younger ones had to work and so them and their children couldn`t make it, plus many now live in other states and couldn`t make it. But we still had an awful lot of people there.
It was great seeing cousins , and nieces and nephews that I hadn`t seen in years.

This great old farmhouse has changed a lot since my brother bought it. He has modernised it so much that it lost most of the happy memory areas that I miss so much. There was this wooden hanging swing that used to hang on the front porch -with it`s weaved seat and round wooden arms where my Aunt taught me how to crochet, the floor to ceiling huge cupboard in the dining room where I could brouse thru the stack of crocher books that filled the bottom shelf, the old stove in the kitchen where my Aunt taught me how to do some of her recipes, the long gone beautiful flower garden across the driveway from the back porch where I often helped her pull the weeds when I was younger, the rasberry bushes a ways from the house, the strawberry patch, the blueberry bushes in the field where you headed down the road into the woods, the small white birch grove where my Aunt often made us drink s and small sandwiches to hold a small picnic there with our other small friend (including an old plastic tablecloth so we could sit on the ground and not get out clothes dirty or damp if it had rained the night before). All the berries and flower and veggie gardens are gone today. I remember the year one of the sows died after giving birth to a lot of tiny pigs and all us kids would line up on that old long open back porch, holding a baby pig and a baby bottle to feed them. I was probably about 6 or 7 at the time, or maybe even younger, but had to be at least 5 as I had already started school. I remember changing my school clothes before heading to the farmhouse. Today both the open front porch and the even larger back porch are gone. There are no porches there to sit on today. I also remember the other floor to ceiling cupboard that stood in the kitchen where I kept the new white gold diamond ring that my father had bought for my mother that year as a wedding Anniversary gift. She had always wanted a white gold diamond ring, but raising 7 kids Dad never found enough money for it. Once all us kids were grown, he silently saved a little each week and surprised my mother with the ring of her dreams to replace the smaller diamond gold ring she was wearing. . That cupboard was removed and replaced with a small picture window. Oh where Oh where did all my memories of the origional farmhouse disappear to with so much remodeling. I sure do miss the old place I remember so well. My kids can remember the days before the farmhouse was altered and up-dated to a more expensive looking place- even with an elevator in it today. But the younger generation will never see or experience any of the wonderful memories we hold so precious.
But the picnic was a great success with more food than anyone could ever eat in one day. This year my kids and I were in charge of handling things and my youngest son handled all the hamburg and hotdog cooking on the BBQ. Everyone had a good time and those we seldomn see thanked us for getting in touch with them- they said they had a wonderful time and looked forward to next years get together. This was my youngest son`s first time working the grill and he did an excelent job. This son had brought his tiny new puppy with him and I never saw people fall so in love with a cute puppy as they did with this one. Seemed like every time I looked around someone else was holding it. This went on all day. It sure was tiny yet. I forgot the make of dog. Of course therre was volley ball games and horseshoes being played, plus there is all kinds of playground items for the kids to enjoy, and two horses for them to enjoy petting plus other things going on. Seems like someone`s camera was forever flasjhing with so many bringing their cameras with them. .

It started to rain at one point, but ended up just being a sun-shower and only lasted about 10 minutes at the most and was so light noone actually got very wet from the fime rain. Glad we didn`t have a thunderstorm like we had the day before. It was a bad one and some places had huge hail stones with it. My lights flickered off, but came back on in just a couple minutes, where last week I was without power for about 3 hours when that thunderstorm blew the transfoemer on the road behind my house. Boy, was that a loud blast- sounded like something huge had blown up. But having heard it many times over the years, I knew it was the transformer blowing again.

Another large change to the farmhouse is the large two car garage added to the end of the farmhouse where we set up tables to hold all the food in case of rain. We covered all the tables, both in the garage and out in the yard with 4th of July table cloths, plus had napkins and plates and cups to match, plus a few decorations to brighten up the area.
As you can probably see, I also had a good time. Now I am wondering which part of the family will be put in charge next year. Younger sister and her kids handled it last year and my youngest brother`s wife and kids did the year before last. This brother, plus my sister`s husband both passed away, so the past three years has been done by just the mother`s and their kids. My other younger sister and her husband are the only other ones who lives in this area, so who knows, maybe they will be asked next year. Will just have to wait and see.

So great seeing some relations I haven`t seen in years. That is the best part of the family re-unions- bringing family closer to share a wonderful day together. .

Dot,thats a wonderfull story,and i hope you have many more days like this,take care
Thanks Gazza. I have so many wonderful memories growing up next to the farm and the family picnics show that having a lot of people together at the same time can be great. Everyone has a good time.
Thanks for stopping by.
Those were beautiful memories Dot.Hope your family can continue to meet and make new happy memories in the generations to come too.
Thanks for checking in on me.
I just went out and bought an air conditioning unit for my bedroom. This heat is just unbearable when you are pregnant!
For me this was a trip down memory lane because I have been reading you that long.
No matter how modernized the farmhouse is the memories will always be alive in there is someopne to tell them first hand ot a story such as this passed down to other generations.

You have a strong family and it shows in your memories and writing,
Great post Dot
Thanks hillgrandmom. My oldest brother who owns the farm isn`t real healthy, so I also hope he is able to continue the picnics at his place for many more years.
Nan, I hope the air conditioner helps as I know the heat takes a lot out of you and even more so when you are expecting. Take care of yourself and don`t overdo in this heat. Glad oilman is now back to work.
Thanks Walker. Yes my parents taught us to respect and love each other. Oh, we had our arguments growing up, but they never lasted for long and noone held grudges for long. Things went a little crazy when we lost our mother as she held the family together since we lost Dad. But, once every one accepted that we were now alone and it was up to us to keep the family strong things improved. If anyone of us needed help, the rest are always there willing to help. I feel lucky to still have my 2 older brothers and 3 sisters (1 older and 2 younger) . Lost my younger brother in 1994 and not a day goes by that I don`t miss him. We were real close all our life.
Places may change, but the memories are intact. It's so nice that you have a wonderful rich memory of family.
Thanks Deni. This year I was a bit worried as I heard a rumor that a sister-in-law intended on slamming one of my younger sisters at the picnic. Glad it never happened as she would have had a lot of us upset with her. She is married to my oldest brother who owns the farmhouse.
She still did surprise us all because she hasn`t been that polite and overly kind to the whole family since our Mother passed away back in 1995. Hope this nicer attitude continues. She surprised us all- but in a nice way.
Hi Dot, I just stopped by to tell you I tagged you :)
Walker, it might be a while before I do the tag. Today makes 5 years since Walt passed away, and my head just isn`t working so good right now..
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