The Hollin side of the family has an annual reunion. My PaPaw had 6 sisters and brothers and when his father passed away - the reunion was born. At least that's how I remember it.
It used to be held in Cincinnati and, at the time, at a swanky-do hotel - at least it seemed that way to a young girl from a small town in Illinois. I remember lots of swimming in the giant pool, lots of sunburns, 1 giant diving board and 1 little one and all of the moms lounging around the pool getting tans. And there was the neatest walkup - poolside dining thing which of course we abused by charging everything to the room (Dad got a little hot about that one year). It had an indoor pool with a slide (it was always ICE cold), mini golf, tennis courts, tether ball, shuffle board, kiddie pool, playground and even another pool down the parking lot at another set of rooms - we called it the ghetto pool.
There was even this elaborate program. Each year, a different family unit would 'host' and create the theme, decorate, mc - the whole nine yards. Everyone would dress up - suits, long dresses. I even wore my prom dresses. And LOTS of pictures. I never did develop the 'Smith' smile!
Times have changed. We are getting older - and the cousins just don't seem to be as connected as I am sure their parents would have predicted. It is almost sad honestly. The reunion was such a HUGE deal to me growing up - I loved it. I felt so special to be included in this huge family (we were the step side of the family) - there was so much love. I know that our attendance put a financial strain on my parents but they tried every year to have us attend. Funny, I am in the same boat.
But - it is just different anymore. I miss the Uncle Joe stories and jokes - that I probably shouldn't hear. And the parents staying up so late, smoking and drinking and laughing in the hospitality room. I miss playing in the elevator. I miss Granny's fudge - not to mention little Granny Hollin.
My kids just don't get it. Sure, they love going and playing but I don't think they understand the history and the significance and the meaning. Someone always makes Granny's fudge - they love it - but it's just not the same. It makes me sad just thinking about everybody I miss...
Chris called the hotel and made reservations again for this year. It's been moved to London, KY. It's a nice hotel - but simple. It does have an outdoor pool - but without the grandeur of the Carousel. The programs aren't quite as elaborate - the decorating not as all-encompassing but it's nice. Seems like every year, the attendance is less. We missed last year due to volleyball and I felt horrible. Grandmother said that hardly anyone came. So I told Chris - come hell or high water - we would be there for her if nothing else!
So we will be journeying down to southern KY during Father's Day weekend. I have told my family to take Friday off thru Monday. We always like to stop and visit with PaPaw and Grandmother for awhile on Sunday night.
I think Aunt Sally has the program this year - something about birthdays? So that should be fun - and it will be nice to see everyone again!