Tuesday, July 29

Our 79th Linn Family Reunion!!!

I need to catch up on posts I intended to post!! Yesterday, I was going to post about our reunion that was held last Sunday in Iowa but that annoying backache I had kept me from feeling comfortable doing anything! Lots of time on the heating pad helped as did a little ibuprofen. Finally today, I felt better. So, now, though, I am behind which for me is the norm so what am I worrying about!!! Better late than never works for me although sometimes too late is just plain too late. More on that bit of philosophy later. Right now, I want to tell you about our 79th Linn Family Reunion. Our family members, the descendants of F.M. Linn, have been gathering since 1929 to hold an annual reunion every summer. It's great fun and every year someone shows up that hasn't been to the reunion in years and it is fun just to watch them catch up on family stories and look at family photos. This year it was my cousin Terry (on the right) and his wife Kas (on the left) from Illinois. Gus Linn is in the center and his niece (who is Terry's sister so also my cousin) is to his right. Kathy came from Florida so if we had a prize for "longest distance" she would have won.
As kids, my mother and dad took us to the reunions but as I got older, married and moved away, I seldom found time to attend the reunions. I reconnected a couple of years after our son graduated from high school. As empty nesters, I was anxious to return home to visit with cousins, aunts and uncles that I seldom saw when visiting my folks. That was in 1996. That same year, my cousin Betty asked for a volunteer to take on the job of mailing the postcards and keeping the reunion going. I volunteered because while I wasn't living in Iowa, I figured I could easily mail postcards from Minnesota and keep us all connected. It's probably one of the most rewarding things I have ever volunteered to do. And it's not difficult work! Just send out the cards, reserve the shelter at the ballpark, and then wait to see who comes! Oh, and the food. We do food really well as you can see in the picture below. We have joked that we should do a cookbook. If you haven't had a family reunion in a while, I encourage you to set a date, send out some cards, and see who comes and what delicious dish they'll bring!!

That's my cousin, Betty, on the left and on the right is my Aunt Loretta (my dad's sister). Betty guided the reunion for many years, my mother did it for a couple of years and Betty's mother Ophelia kept it going for a number of years. They were all ladies of the United Brethren Church in Lehigh and as much as they stitched quilts together they also stitched our lives together with soup suppers, bake sales, and picnics and reunions. What great times they were!!!
In addition to good food, my cousin Charlotte (1st cousin to my dad) is really into genealogy and our family history. Every summer she brings new boards that have pictures and the names, birth and death dates of our family members. Pictured below is just one of several boards she has prepared!

In the photo on the right, you can see all the boards that Charlotte has done. That's her on the left in the photo, my mother, Mary is in the center and Pat Conklin on the right and her husband Dale on the left.
We had a great afternoon of sharing food, photos, lots of stories and lots of laughter all about the years we all spent growing up in Lehigh, Iowa. Not much is left of the Main Street in Lehigh. The clay company closed long ago and with it went the business that kept the town going. But it's still home and, for me, it was the best little town in Iowa when I was a kid. While buildings and people come and go, though, the river remains much the same. Here's a picture taken from the bridge looking south.
You can see debris that has piled up due to the high flood waters of the past months. If you're ever in Lehigh ask somebody to tell you the story of the helicopter that crashed during an ice jam several years ago. There are lots of stories in Lehigh. I am working hard at trying to collect them so I can write a little book and preserve them. And that brings me to that little bit of philosophy about "sometimes too late is too late". Many of our family stories are lost when members pass on. I taped my dad and my grandma and grandpa but how I wish that I had taped even more conversations. So, if there's a story in your family or town, get it recorded or write it down now. Make sure it's not too late.
That's all for tonight.

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