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Getting the Family Picnic Started

Moving away from my home town and large family in 1980 was a big deal in my life.  Being almost 900 miles away meant I had to be creative if I was going to continue to feel connected to my big wonderful family.  This was 1980.  There were no computers, no cell phones, and texting wasn’t even a word then.  AT&T charged every minute for Long Distance.  My phone bills in 1980 were twice what I am paying today.

So, as you can imagine, I wrote letters and made lots of phone calls.  My sweet wonderful husband never said a word about the phone bill.  And every summer we would pack up the children and drive to Illinois for our family vacation.  I wanted my children to know their cousins and Aunt and Uncles.  It was always as if I had never left.  We felt welcomed in every home and there was never enough time to see everyone or get everything done while we were there.  Every minute of our summers in Antioch were filled and we loved it. I felt I had succeeded in forging family bonds that might have never had a chance to start – much less to grow.

A little something was missing for me.  I also had Aunts and Uncles and cousins.  Would I ever see them again?  I talked it over with a few of my siblings and decided a big ol’ family picnic was in order.  My Mom and Dad used to have picnics like this when we were kids.  Why not try it again??

In 1994, on a Tuesday morning around 10:00, I got on the phone and called as many people as I knew might be home and told them to make calls too.  At noon 35 people showed up at the park with picnic lunches and we had a delightful day.

This got me thinking…. if I could get 35 people to a park in 2 hours, how many would come if I gave them 12 months to plan and had the picnic on a Saturday?  The next year we had over 100 people and it’s been going strong ever since.

I love my great big wonderful family.


2 Responses

  1. I love our great big wonderful family too. The picnic idea was a good idea in 1994 and still is today. Thanks so much for all you do to make it happen.

  2. […] Filed under: a penny for your thoughts… « Getting the Family Picnic Started […]

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