Monday, November 28, 2016

Family Traditions of the Past: A Hero Story in the Making.

Little Bytes of Life was a life saver. Her Genealogy Blog Party, gave me the push I needed to get back to my blog. Without further a do... on with the story...

When the Hero and I were married, my parents lived in Oklahoma and his parents were 30 minutes away.  My mother-in-law sat down and talked with me and it was decided that the holidays would be split. Reminds me of how my daughter who is divorced has their holidays split. One year it would be Thanksgiving at Oklahoma one year and Christmas at Houston, then the next it would be reversed. This continued all the years of my children's growing up.
The trips to Oklahoma were always more that just a trip to see my parents. It would then be, on Thanksgiving day, a two hour trip from Edmond up to Pawnee. There we visited my two aunts and uncle. Fabulous memories. The Hero developed relationships with my dad's family which led to letters and sharing of memories. Things I didn't fully realize at the time would be so valuable now. I wish he were here with his fun mind to tell the stories. The gatherings were very informal. To my knowledge (note to self, as mom) no one assigned the side dishes, everyone brought what was their favorite. As they came in they would put their dish on the table with the rest of the spread of food. When the main meat dish was ready,  people filed in and loaded up their plates, then found a spot to sit and eat. The men loved the football games same as now, and there were hunting stories from their excursions earlier in the morning. There was one draw back. Due to a family spat, we would go and visit each of my dad's siblings separately.  When I was growing up, it was all his siblings together with their kids in tow. Now, those were really the unruly days.
A special love of his was my Uncle Ed. Oh my, they would out tell each other in how things were. I unfortunately followed the  trend and went in and sat with my mom and aunt and we would talk about who was where and doing what.

When we went to Houston, it was so different.  The Hero's mom had a beautiful table setting, and my father-in- law would carve the turkey or ham depending on the holiday. He had 3 siblings, later 4, a foster daughter, and included at first were his father's mom and uncle's family of  5. I was and only child. These gathering were somewhat overwhelming at first for me, because of the formality of the setting. She even would have settings later for card playing... Bridge. I do not play.
My mentor mother-in-law once sat with me and told me, it was her mother-in-law who was her mentor because she had grown up as I had, going and visiting a big unruly family and they did not do formal dining. One of my daughters took her grandmother's example to heart and when you attend her holiday dinner, it is one of formality. Others grabbed a page out of my history and they are much more informal.
Both family gatherings are wonderful. The most important part is the family coming together and the children of those family making connections. If allowed and nurtured, the relationships built will continue when the older generation is gone. That is what we are now working on in our family, hope it sticks. The second and very important thing coming from the gatherings are pictures.