The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far…
Summertime – A time for kicking back, relaxing and enjoying. It is also a time for cookouts, graduation parties and family reunions. Ever since I was born, I can remember attending our family reunion. The annual event took place the Sunday after Father’s Day at my great-grandmother’s house. She lived in a big old yellow colonial on the outskirts of Lowell. It was just the kind of place to house a New England family reunion. For a city lot, the backyard was a gorgeous sanctuary with rows of raspberry bushes and black raspberry bushes and there was plenty of shade to be found under the grape arbor – ahh, that delicious smell of Concord grapes. Different family clans could always be found in the same spots year after year with the oldest generation of my grandfather and his sisters at the far end of the pool. As kids, we would say our requisite hellos and then jump into the icy pool and stay there lest we might have to talk to some aunt so and so.
My Great-grandmother passed away several years ago at a remarkable age of 101. She left this world as gracefully as she lived in it. She wasn’t sick, it was just simply her time. As with any centenarian, she saw incredible change happen in her lifetime but she lived life with an open mind and a warm heart: “everything will be alright dearie”. We all loved her. She was so warm and approachable which made the family reunions the type of party you looked forward to each year.
The annual family reunion still continues which is an incredible testament to those who organize it and to her love of family. However as with any family tree, over time it grows bigger and more branches stem off. We are starting to form our own family reunions now drawing on the strength from the trunk. Here is a photo of our group taken this July. We are missing many but it’s a start.
A few days later, my aunt sent along this photo from a reunion in 1955. In it my father (boy sitting 3rd from left) is just a few years older than my oldest son is presently . When I pulled up the photo, I asked my son to tell me who that person was when I pointed to my grandfather (man standing 2nd from left) in the photo. He told me, without hesitation, that it was my brother (as in current day). The family resemblance is uncanny to those who know my grandfather and my brother. Then he said, “and there you are mommy” as he pointed to my aunt (girl standing far left). I squeezed him tightly and kissed his cheek; my own flesh and blood made up of the genes from this family. I wonder who he might look like and what traits from this family would end up with him. As we know, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
Just as another reference point -In the recent photo, my grandfather is sitting, my brother is 2nd from left, the aunt “that I look like” is in the pink tank top, and my mom and dad are on the far right.