Saturday, August 2, 2014

Family traditions; or, thank goodness for name tags

Being a reporter is good training for many things in life, including enjoying a family reunion even when the family that's reunion-ing is not yours. I have no problem introducing myself to strangers. I can show -- and actually feel -- enthusiastic interest in just about any topic, including old family photographs and marriage certificates. I have vast experience sitting through business meetings in which "Roberts Rules of Order" are cited repeatedly.
And it's even easier when there's a picnic table nearby groaning with macaroni and cheese, devilled eggs, pasta salad, fresh fruit and whoopie pies made with mini chocolate chip cookies.
On Saturday I attended the 132nd annual reunion of a local family, and it marked the president's 36th and final year of service. After some debate (this is where parliamentary procedure came into play), a replacement was elected, and the outgoing president turned over his gavel -- but only his standard-issue one, mind you, not his special one made by an ancestor from a dead pine tree at the Brandywine Battlefield. There was a discussion about putting the reunion on Facebook to encourage the younger generation to attend.
I especially enjoyed deciphering the early-20th-century diploma of one family member from West Chester State Normal School, as West Chester University was known back in the day. She was considered qualified to teach a host of subjects, everything from American Literature to Zoology.

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