This is the time of year when a lot of people start getting ready to plan their annual family reunion. I am a Price on my mother’s side and we all go back to my Grandpa Verner Price’s farm in East Tennessee each year to eat, celebrate, eat, take pictures, eat, tell stories, eat, walk up the hills, eat, look at family photos, eat, listen to family members make music, eat, and renew contact information. We usually eat again before we leave and take a plate home to take to work the next day.
Reunions of any kind can be emotional. A lot of times you come away feeling both happy and sad. My mom grew up on a farm that has been in the family since the 1800’s and had four brother and five sisters. After last year’s get together my mother told me about a surprising talk she had with a friend from her childhood who had attended the reunion.
The man had grown up near them and attended school with her and her siblings. He told my mother that when he was very young he had fallen in love with her younger sister and had intended to marry her. His family had moved after he finished high school though to another state for work before her sister finished her senior year. He had written her promising to come back and make her his wife, but events happened afterwards that prevented him from returning for several years.
He had looked at my mother’s face and said, “You don’t believe me, do you?” He then took out his wallet and pulled out a picture of her sister and said, “I have carried her picture with me for over fifty years and I will carry it to the day I die.”
My mom looked at him and said, “Does your wife know you carry that picture?” He replied, “Oh, yes, she’s known for years.” The two had been married for many years and had grandchildren. Tragically, my mother’s sister, whose picture he still cherished, was killed in a car accident years before having married and raised a family of her own.
We have a number of books here at the library on putting together a family reunion. These include, “A Practical Guide to Planning a Family Reunion,” “Family Reunion Handbook: A Guide for Reunion Planners,” “How to Plan Your African-American Family Reunion,” “Fantastic Family Gatherings: Tied and True Ideas for Large and Small Family Reunions,” and “Your Family Reunion: How to Plan it, Organize it, and Enjoy it.”
Joel Reese, Local History Librarian
Iredell County Public Library
This article appeared in the Statesville Record and Landmark as “Library has books to help plan family reunion” on March 12, 2008