In some families, reunions are a regular--perhaps even annual--event. The majority of family reunions are organized as a means for members to keep in touch with one another. This is especially important if your family, like ours, is spread across the country. Our family gatherings have often been rather sporadically centered around the passing of a beloved family member. Though we try to keep in touch through email or by phone, nothing beats a personal gathering. So, this year, I decided to organize a reunion that would celebrate the birth and growth of our extended family.
It is not uncommon for family members to lose touch with one another, especially if they are not immediately related. The reunion helped us reconnect with long-lost cousins, aunts, and uncles whom we had not kept in touch with over the years. Family bonds were strengthened and relationships were rekindled, reminding us to take a step back out of our busy schedules and remember what is important in life.
We used the occasion to provide a means for younger family members to learn about their heritage by constructing a family tree. We shared family albums and stories about the past. By including extended family members, we saw how the family tree had grown branches that connected us to others from different religions, different parts of the country and different political ideologies. It helped us to recognize the universality of the human experience.
At a time when our nation is more divided and fractured than any time in recent history, perhaps we all need to reconnect with our pasts and realize that we do not exist in isolation from one another. We are all part of the “family of man”.
Wanda DeHaven Pyle will be reading from her family saga, Windborne, on July 9 at 1:00 at Pipe and Thimble Bookstore, 24830 Narbonne Ave in Lomita California.