Wednesday, March 11, 2009
1976 Wemego Family Reunion
In about 72 hours, I will be in Wamego Kansas for the first time in 20 years. It was never my hometown, and I have only been there a few times. I have been thinking about the previous trips and had planned to write a blog post about them. But the more more and more I thought about it, I had to devote and entire blog entry to the trip I made to Wamego for a family reunion in 1976 when I was 9 years old.
It deserves it's own entry because at the time, it was THE GREATEST TRIP EVER!!!!!!!
OK, so I know Wamego is not everyone's destination of choice when they think of a fun trip. But there was something very special about this one: I was going without my Mom and sister.........and even better, I was going with my Grandma and my Aunt Michelle! I loved my Grandma, but this was the first time I was able to spend so much time with her without a bunch of other family around. From that trip on, I adored my Grandmother. And what can I say about Aunt Michelle, other than I thought she was the coolest, funnest, bestest Aunt any boy ever had.
My memories of this trip are vivid, but I am sure I have some of the details wrong. I am really looking forward to asking my Aunt Michelle about them in a few days so she can set me straight. But here is what I remember:
- Driving back and forth in Grandma and Grandpa's BIG car. Back in those days, seat belts were not required, so I remember climbing around and sitting as close as I could to my Grandma and Aunt Michelle. I remember Aunt Michelle and I passed time playing "hangman" and adding up all the state populations in the atlas to figure out how many people lived in the United States.
-We stayed with my Great Aunt Toots and Great Uncle Ken. I remember going out into the fields with Uncle Ken and having him show me how he picked sweet potatoes (at least that is what I remember him growing). I also went fishing at an old farm pond with their son (is that right), who was older than me and remember thinking he was very cool. We fished for perch, and I caught a BUNCH of them.
-What I remember most about that trip was Aunt Toots' pies. In a story that has become legend in our family, I ate A LOT of pie when we were there. As I recall, she would say "Danny, would you like an apple pie or a chocolate pie with dinner tonight", and I would tell her I could not choose because I liked both. So she made both!!!!!!! That night, I would have to have a piece of each, of course. And when Grandma allowed me to have seconds, I had to have seconds of each too! Aren't Grandma's the greatest invention ever? This went on for the whole time we were there. Those Kansas country folk knew how to treat a growing boy.
-We had an actual family reunion. I remember it as a picnic of sorts where everybody brought food. It was that day that I found out my family was much larger than I thought. It seemed I was related to about everyone in northeast Kansas. On that day, I also learned I did not actually have a name as far as these people was concerned: I was simply "Jackie's boy". Over and over again, when I was introduced to someone, they would say "and this is Jackie's boy".
Unfortunately, the trip had to end. We returned to Springfield. I still remember the look on my Mom's face when she saw how much weight I had gained when we were at Aunt Toots' house. Mom describes it as "it looks like you swallowed a bowling ball". I don't think Mom was real happy with Grandma, but she got over it.
Anyway, that was my first trip to Wamego. As a funny aside- it is true that what goes around comes around. Flash forward a little over 20 years. Whitney has gone off to the Ranch for a week with my Mom, my Grandfather and Aunts. Sure enough......when she got back, she look like she had swallowed a bowling ball from eating all those hot dogs, smores and aunt michelle's "special" macaroni salad. Mom could not wipe the grin off her face. Gotta love Grandmas.