A weekend full of reunions

Published 11:04 am Thursday, July 6, 2017

By Sue Staton

The beginning of July usually kicks off more family time for my husband and myself.

This past weekend was a good example as we got to visit with much of our extended family by attending two family reunions.

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As everyone’s lives have become so busy, we do not see many of our cousins until there is a death in the family. Then there is not much time to really visit with one another.

On Saturday, my husband and I attended the Allen and Lillie Estes descendants reunion. They were my husband Eric’s maternal grandparents. Now, I had known of his grandparents since they lived at Indian Fields. On several occasions, my family would drive by their home and see a yard full of people and lots of kids playing and visiting in the yard. Little did I know back then I would one day be married to one of the little boys running around in that yard. My mom would often worry about his grandmother having to cook for them all every Sunday.

There were 16 children born to Allen and Lillie Estes, including Eric’s mom Imogene. She later told me her mom would have had it no other way and loved to have them all together on Sundays.

I enjoyed hearing Eric and his cousin David Frye reminisce about sitting on long benches like a church bench at the tables full of cousins, eating together then going out to play each Sunday. Good memories of a life long ago. Four of Eric’s aunts are still living from the 16 children that was born to his grandparents.

Then on Sunday we went to the Willoughby and McCall reunion. There are not that many still living of the original family. As with the Estes reunion, it was bittersweet as the memories of those that were deceased and those that had passed since the previous reunion were mentioned.

Two of my Daddy’s first cousins were there. When Allen Willoughby told me he was going to be 91 on his birthday, I was shocked. He was the oldest cousin on the Willoughby side that was there. On the McCall side was Elizabeth Witt. I remember them throughout my childhood. Elizabeth is 87. Both told me it would probably be their last reunion, which made me sad. When I looked back in my memory, I never recalled even one reunion they missed.

For the first time in nearly 10 years my three brothers, my sister and I were at the reunion together. I knew I had to get a family picture with them. I was overjoyed at having us all together again. I was also deeply touched with the fact that we had been blessed to watch one another grow old. Our ages range from the oldest being 74 to the youngest at 66.

Our future does not look great with our health problems at the present time. All I can think of is the wonderful memories we have shared as we all grew up down that lane together. I think of how we worked together, played together and stood by one another in the hard times of our lives.

Some of the capers we dreamed up to do made me wonder how we all are still alive. We were really good kids growing up and I think all who knew us would have to say so but we put our lives in danger through our play often.

Oh, how I love my brothers and sister. I am glad I was born in their world.

Realize how important family is. Make the efforts to connect with your family and extended family by attending your family reunions.

Sue Staton is a Clark County native who grew up in the Kiddville area. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who is active in her church, First United Methodist Church, and her homemakers group, Towne and Country Homemakers.