My husband, Kirk, and I left on Friday morning. We picked my parents up at their home in Portage, Michigan. We made it to Wellston, Michigan and were able to check in at the cabin we were renting for the night. The next trip was to the Dublin General Store to order a fruit platter for the family reunion. This store is amazing. If you like jerky and homemade sausage, this is the place to go. It is in the middle of nowhere, but was a fully stocked grocery store.
The next stop on our reunion weekend was to Brethren, Michigan for lunch at Traks Bar and Grill. This is a great place to eat, and one of the few restaurants in Brethren. It use to be Casey's Bar, which I had frequented a few times in my young adult life. My mom and I left Kirk and my dad at the bar and went across the street to the Brethren Cemetery, where a lot of my relatives are buried. My mom and I wanted to visit her sister's, Kathryn 'Kate', grave site. The sprinklers were on and we thought we were a safe distance from them, but no we got sprinkled with water. Luckily, it didn't get my mom's hair wet! I have been to this cemetery a few times, so I showed my mom her parents and Graf grandparents graves, after I turned the water off.
Carl H. Kathryn L.
Our next stop was to the Family Centennial farm. My cousin, Rosie, owns it now and I had made arrangements to stop by to visit. Rosie's daughter, Connie, was there as well. Another cousin, Nancy, traveled from California to go to the reunion and she was staying with Rosie. I don't think I had ever met Nancy, so it was nice to meet her and spend time getting to know her.
Nancy, Rosie, and Connie
We spent a few hours talking, looking at pictures, and hearing family stories. I really enjoyed this part of my weekend. While we there Canadian cousins, Mari and Ernie, stopped by. Mari's grandmother, Emma Fredrick, lived on the family farm at one time.
Next, we drove to Kaleva to kill a little time before dinner. We went by a home that my aunt once lived in, that might have been a mistake as it looks terrible. You couldn't even see the front door it was so overgrown. We ended up back in Brethren and ate at Trak's, again. The food is good! While we were eating Rosie, Connie, and Nancy came in and we pulled tables together and had more fun talking.
The night before the reunion has become known as the 'cousins' party. It is held at the cottage of my Uncle John and Aunt Louise's. This was my first year for attending the cousins' party. My parents, Kirk and I arrive and I get my chair set up, and my cousin, Kathryn, hands me a pile of pictures. I think the family is realizing how much I love old family pictures. Luckily, I had my flip pal scanner in the car and I start scanning. As I was scanning, my mom and cousins were looking through the pictures and trying to identify the people in them. They knew a few, but I was left with more unidentified than identified. No worries, though, as I was going to see Aunt Lola the next day and she has a terrific memory. I get the pictures scanned and I hand them back to my cousin and she says, "You can keep them". That was music to my ears. Thank you, Kathryn!
Trying to identify old pictures
The Fredricks Cousins!
The next day, Saturday, was the day of the reunion. The Fredricks Family reunion is held the second Saturday of July, every year, at the Park in Brethren, Michigan. The park is just down the street from where my grandparents lived. My Aunt Kate and Uncle Carl lived next door to them. At one time, Aunt Kate and Uncle Carl had a store and gas pumps in the front of their house. It is now a pizza place, which I would not recommend eating at. Kirk and I stopped there last year to see what it was like and it was nothing like when my aunt and uncle lived there.
The reunion is the highlight of the weekend, for me. I don't know what the final head count was, but there were more people there than I remember in a long time. The first part of the reunion is for getting to know people. I spent the time talking with Aunt Lola, I had brought pictures for her to look at. Plus, I had all the ones given to me the night before. Aunt Lola is 92 years young and her memory is better than mine. She was able to answer all my questions and identified all but four of the pictures. Amazing! I especially enjoyed her reaction when she would be in a picture. As she identified people in the pictures, I asked her what she remembered about the person. I tried to write as much as I could down, but I would like to spend an afternoon with Aunt Lola and find out more.
Aunt Lola identifying pictures for me.
The rest of the afternoon was spent eating, visiting, having a white elephant auction, a talent show (no, I did not participate!) and for the first time, a pie baking contest, which I did participate in. More on the pie baking contest, tomorrow.
This year, I have accumulated and scanned a lot of family pictures. I put them all on a flash drive. I took my laptop and plugged my flash drive in to share the pictures, via a slide show, at the reunion. Luckily, there was electricity and I could leave the slide show going and people could view it at their leisure. There was even a discussion on who it was in a picture and not every one agreed!
We were trying to figure out how many years it has been since we started having the family reunion at the park. It has been at least 26 years. Before that the reunions were held at the family farm or at Aunt Kate's. I remember going to the family reunion as a young child. There were years when my children were busy with activities that we didn't go, but I am glad that I have been able to go the past few years. It is one of my favorite summertime activities.
Here are a few more pictures from the afternoon:
Kirk being social!
Looking at a slide show of family pictures
Grilling the brats and dogs, chicken was cooked also.
Aunt Jeannie and Uncle Rich
A Fredricks Cutie Patootie
White Elephant Auction