Thursday, July 16, 2015

noun~ (ree-yoon-yuhn)
*a gathering of relatives or friends at regular intervals
after separation.

last weekend was my family reunion.
my aunt jane and uncle paul (ie) hosted it at their lake place
near glenwood mn.

it's always a good day when i get  to see my family~ all these faces that
i love, sincere hugs that feel so good,
and food that is second to none.

this is the 36th year our family has had a reunion and for a while
last saturday i sat in the sun and reminisced with some cousins
about some of the good old days when our reunion was
3 days of chaotic fun. the peeps in charge would need trailers
to cart everything to carlos state park near alexandria and
we'd all spend hours hauling our bedding and fans, suitcases and
food, auction items and kids toys to their designated buildings.

and the food... oh the food!
there was almost always family favorites such as chicken and noodles,
fried mush, scalloped potatoes, peanut balls, or porcupine balls if someone
happened to kill a porcupine on their way.

there were 4 building to sleep in and a huge mess hall.
the nicest sleeping quarters had two bathrooms in it. 
if you weren't in that building you had to stumble through the dark
of night to get to a communal bathhouse.
early on it was decided that if you were one of the oldest or
a family with babies, you got automatic entry to the
house with the 2 baths.

lars and i debated stopping at 2 kids till the reality hit us
that having one more guaranteed us a few more good years in the
premo lodging.
(but it was a plus~~ thanks cole)
: )

for years someone messed with aunt jean's carefully laid out
comforts, resetting her alarm clock to ring during the night, 
moving her prune juice, sneaking old curlers in her suitcase...taking her 
rug....but she never said a word. she just nonchalantly acted like
her peace had not been messed with.

then there was the annual "suitcase switch".
two people every year would go back to their room only to find their
own suitcase GONE and in it's place would be an old suitcase
filled with ridiculous old clothing and accessories...curlers with a bunch of nasty hair in them... cowboy boots, leather shorts and negligees etc... the only way
to get your own belongings back was to put together at least one
stylish outfit and come out for photos.

we have memories of men lost on the lake all night, babies locked in 
hot bedrooms, pigs being roasted on open fires, a cousin waking up
 half in the lake in a sleeping bag after a night of fun, bridal showers and 
baby showers in the mess hall, lake itch and mosquito bites and sweat, 
talent shows and auctions to raise the funds for the next years gathering, and most of all~ hours and hours of
laughter and sharing stories that strengthened the bond between us.


my darling g.nephew barrett, (18 months going on 4) was at the reunion on sat.
he'd changed so much since i'd seen him.
little dude is never still, the whole world is his oyster.

aunts and cousins

 barrett's mom and pop

aunt jane (in front), our hostess did a fine job of keeping things going.
she had activities planned and she didn't like it if you weren't willing
to play human frisbee.
i wore a dress~ on purpose~ and opted out.
: )

i like pepper as much as the next guy- but straight outta the jug, really?

oh fine, just write on the tablecloth then.

daisy has been coming to our reunion for 16 years.
she doesn't see or hear well anymore but she's still got
enough teeth to eat and a lap she loves to sit on, so life is still very good.

my brother todd and cousin jer stood-glad for each others company-
while we sang happy birthday to them.

my mom's sisters, dar & mom's twin dora- on the right. (and cousin brenda)

my sweet niece, ashley ann elizabeth

cousin jason riled up about something.

my aunties!!!! each of these 6 women hold a special place in my heart.

grandma mary with barrett

isie. she and i share a birthday and she's my gr. niece, cutie pattootie.
 cousin sue's behind her.

my sister dawn, isie and my girl with her new hubbie chris. he was meeting
most of the family for the first time.
(took it like a champ. he's easy to talk to).

and here's the gang that started this big family.
in order by age: uncle tom, uncle jay, (then it was my mother),
aunt dora, aunt darlene, uncle stan and uncle paul.

seriously love these guys. 
these 7 baldwin siblings had 22 children all together!
the first 8 grandchildren were born in 4 years and it was 
seven girls and one boy, mike.
needless to say mike was the M.C. for a lot of 
miss america pageants.
he had burt parks down let me tell you.
"here she comes, miss america...."

we missed getting a photo of all the cousins that were there- but
oh well, next time.
thanks paul and jane for hosting our reunion.
it was a great day!

xo, beth


  1. Another great post, Beth! It was such a fun day and you captured it so well. And I didn't take any pictures so thanks for sharing yours with all of us. Love the one of the aunts and of the original Baldwin brothers and sisters. We are blessed that we can gather for fun and happy events!

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